Last month Perpetual Entertainment, the company producing the “Star Trek Online” MMORPG announced they were scrapping their launch title (Gods and Heroes) to focus on the Trek game. In the last couple of days some new reports indicate there are more changes in store for Perpetual and the Trek game. Shack News reports that Perpetual has been acquired by a new company and that this new owner wants to make changes in the plans for STO. Specifically changing the game to make it more appealing to ‘casual players’ by changing the payment model from a monthly fee to a free game where you pay for optional in-game items with real money (a new model being adopted by some MMORPGs, mostly in Korea). Shack News also reports that some Perpetual employees are not happy with changes and have left the project. But other reports cast some doubt on Shack News article
Perpetual has not made any official statements regarding the new rumor. However, STO producer Daron Stinnett admits to TrekMovie.com that Perpetual are “considering changes” to their business model. Stinnett also stated that the Shack article was “not correct,” but wouldn’t elaborate further as to what specifically was not correct about it. Stinnett made a post on the startrek-online.net message board stating:
We are now in the process of finding a formal publisher for STO, which involves conversations with a variety of parties. We have been working on our business model for some time and once we establish a publisher, we will work with our new partner to communicate exactly what we are building – something I know all of you have been waiting a long time for.
In addition Gamespot reports:
…a recent showing of Star Trek Online at Perpetual’s offices was of the original MMORPG, and not a more casual model. A source close to the studio said that to his or her knowledge, the game has remained largely unchanged since the buyout.
So for now it is kind of hard to tell what is going on. What is certain is that Perpetual have not had a good year in terms of investors, titles and PR. Right now they say they are focused on getting STO to market and that they expect to have the funding to do so. When more is learned we will report it. On Thursday TrekMovie.com will put up a new interview with STO Story Lead Mike Stemmle plus some new exclusive artwork.
UPDATE: Another comment from Stinnett
Here is the latest comment from STO Producer Daron Stinnett about the latest rumors
You guys are very charitable – thanks for the support. And I mean that. There are some really nasty and incorrect rumors circulating right now and while the support is obviously not unanimous, I was expecting much more piling-on in this thread than is the case.
I personally think that MMOs need to be a better deal. Paying $200/year is a good deal for some but I don’t think that is sustainable for the category and certainly rules out a lot of people who don’t have the time to get enough value out of that expense. So we are discussing this issue internally. Unfortunately that discussion leaked and the characterization is incorrect. It’s also unfortunate that we have not yet come to conclusion internally so it is hard to present the real story since we are in the process of figuring it out.
But I do want to reassure everyone that STO is still going, it is still a triple-A game, and we are thinking hard about how to make our efforts even more appealing with a lower barrier to entry than is the norm.