Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Power of IP

Star Trek Online is one of the newest MMOs on the block.  There is a ton of coverage in the blogosphere and there are so many people playing it at the moment.  When bombarded from multiple fronts it is a hard game to ignore.

But, how great would this game be if it had to stand on its own without the power of the IP behind it?  Would it still hold up as a decent MMO or are people overlooking flaws because they get to finally be in the Star Trek universe?  I think much of the current appeal is seeing your own character in a star fleet uniform.  Hearing the sound of a phaser (which has been burned into the fanboy mind) in battle is hard to resist.

At this point it is impossible to divorce the game from the IP, but it is still interesting to think about how many people would have bought STO if it didn't have the power of the Star Trek license behind it.

STO isn't the only game this applies to either.  Just look ahead to next year's launch of The Old Republic.  Star Wars has as big of a cult following as Star Trek.  Star Wars may even be more popular at the moment because Episodes I-III were released in the last few years, but Star Trek hasn't been as visible as a franchise lately.

Who can blame developers for trying to get their hands on giant IPs?  It makes perfect business sense to attempt to increase your player base on day one.  Every person who pays 50 dollars for the box helps fund the game months down the road, when the developers are trying to retain players.  The company needs enough revenue to continue to improve and polish the game so that they can compete with older MMOs.

So many games fizzle after just a few months because they don't have enough revenue and support to continue improving their gameplay.  There is so much potential that is never given time to be fully realized.

Hopefully the large install base will help STO in the coming months.  Currently the game needs some work, but with enough devoted players STO could be a heavy hitter for years to come.


  1. I was talking with someone today who bought STO and asked them, "If it wasn't Star Trek would you have bought it?"

    Their reply, "Probably not."

  2. I can see this sentiment being widespread.