NCsoft surprised a lot of people when they announced that City of Heroes / Villains and Paragon Studios would be closing on November 30, 2012. I believe the issue is that CoH/V hasn’t seen its revenue improve while its importance to NCsoft has declined at a time when finances are a bit tighter at the corporate level, which is why NCsoft planned to shutter the title.
Much like other titles that get the closure announcement, the CoH/V community rallied with a “save our game!” campaign. To be honest, I didn’t expect much success, since that’s what every MMO community tries and the closure still happens anyway. But the CoH/V community is making the loudest noise I can remember seeing for such an event, getting 14 613 signatures to save the game in less than a week at the time of writing. (Click that link to sign that petition and add your support, should you wish.)
Will it work? I don’t know. But so many people making a request to NCsoft for the game to keep going sends a clear signal out to a lot of people about how passionate the CoH/V community is for their game. Which may mean that if NCsoft isn’t interested in continuing the title, someone else might be. And maybe, at a time when a “one-off” cash boost would help make NCsoft’s bottom line look a little rosier, there might be a chance they’ll sell it. (“Who will buy it?” is a whole different question.)
It’s a long shot, but that’s pretty much in keeping with the whole comics theme, isn’t it?
I have it on good authority that there are a fair number of forged signatures on that petition. (I know of one person who signed it more than a dozen times by using the addresses of acquaintences, without their permission, I might add!) In-game activity is reported as having dropped considerably in the last few days. People are leaving the game. In spite of the best efforts of many loud voices on the forums, the attempts at pushing their efforts to save CoX have largely failed to attract mainstream attention in the gaming press, and even less so in the mainstream press.
Typically when a corporation upsets a customer base you have only a short window to push a publicity-based reaction to produce an effect that isn’t otherwise quietly buried. This is something I’ve personally witnessed with Paypal screwing over an online community last winter. The disrupted online community managed to get national media attention in less than 48 hours forcing Paypal into capitulation else they would face huge negative publicity. It greatly helped that this community was founded around social media; they were able to get national scope attention in hours. The CoX community has had a full week yet the news of the closure largely seems to have fallen off the radar. The problem is that outside doing a google search for City of Heroes or “City of Heroes shutting down”, you wouldn’t know that anything is happening just by looking at the front pages of most news sites.
I’ll make a prediction – (absent a backroom deal already in progress that we are not privy to) if this effort does not hit a broader mainstream of news sites and stay near the top of their respective feeds for at least two consecuitive days this effort will fall apart within a week’s time. Personally, I’d love to see them succeed, but they’re racing against the clock and already about 4 days behind where they need to be. They’re making a big noise, but its not loud enough yet.
…or worse, they’re screaming as loudly as they can, but no one outside their community really cares. This might be the moment that the fanbase realizes how small they really are compared to the AAA titles out there.
It is one of the problems with online surveys that people can fill it out as many times as they are interested, which does see them treated with a degree of skepticism. There’s a kind of logic to the altoholics signing the petition once for every character too!
However, I thought the numbers are pretty impressive here – I can’t think of another case where so many signatures have been collected so quickly for a MMO.
My earlier reply was meant to go here, not after Cold Bob’s response.
Anyway.. just wanted to mention that today TonyV organized a Unity Rally and the servers are now up to 28 instances of Atlas Park, so..that’s alot of player support. The Virtue server was maxed out before the rally even started. So again.. in game activity dropping doesn’t mean anything in my opinion.
Please consider the possibility that in-game activity has dropped considerably in the last week because out-of-game activity (like organizing a petition; writing a letter to the CEO of NcSoft; posting on the forums; networking via Facebook and the Titan Network; blogging about the shutdown of the game ie. rallying to save the game!) has spiked since last Friday’s announcement…
Also in game activity has decreased not because people don’t care about COH but quite the opposite. Several people have commented that they find it disheartening to play the game and enjoy it when it is just going to shut it down. I myself am included with this. I am having a really hard time playing the game and enjoying it…it makes me incredibly sad. So, to say that everyone is just leaving and going on to other things without a care is an extremely inaccurate observation.