In one of the most bizarrely-packed MMO news days I’ve ever seen, one story topped huge announcement after huge announcement after huge announcement: APB has just won the award for “shortest live MMO of all time” and is being shuttered as of tomorrow. Of course, by now you already know this — it’s blazing through the internet like wildfire.
It’s not particularly stunning that it happened, but mostly because of how fast it did. After spending gobs of money on both APB and MyWorlds, Realtime Worlds suffered some sort of horrible financial implosion.
I don’t think there’s going to be a lot of people crying tonight, unless they just picked up the game yesterday — after all, players have only had three months to develop any sort of attachment to it. And from what I’ve heard, APB wasn’t exactly a gamer’s paradise at any point.
It wasn’t ready to launch, that much was clear. Between a rushed launch, extremely bad word-of-mouth, and a lackluster financial return, a situation for the perfect storm arose. I’m sure there’s a lot more going on behind the scenes.
When these things happen, I just always think it’s a shame that everyone lets it drop. Not just because there are players who want to experience the game, but because it’s a significant investment of money and talent and hours that was poured into the creation of this game. Wouldn’t it be better if someone else took the game off their hands for a loss (but less than a total loss) and run it themselves? For that matter, wouldn’t the idea of purchasing a canceled MMO and starting it back up under a different studio’s supervision be less risky and expensive than starting from scratch? I’m sure there are reasons, but it just seems a shame that these extremely expensive MMOs are chucked aside for good.
For the rest of the industry, the lessons here are simple and oft-repeated: don’t launch until your game is ready, and be smart with your money. Love Cryptic or hate them, that studio does know how to produce MMOs quickly and for a much lower cost than a lot of these other startups, which is why Champions and STO are chugging along just fine. Love Blizzard or hate them, they set the standard for release polish, yet in 2010 so many studios still ignore this in the mad rush to retail.
Still, this is unsettling and weird. Huh.