Hmm saying that they don't care about taking a leading role in the industry doesnt seem right...considering starclad gained the attention of the industry with thier gaming bill of rights, and touted themselves to be a shining example of how things should be in the industry. After reading about this gaming bill of rights I then learned about sins of a solar empire and realized that this might be a game worth buying. Years later i'm typing this.
It doesn't seem like they are ready to pack up and call it quits and rest on their laurels as well, I see a very active and ambitious gaming company that is learning a lot. Perhaps that original luster I saw has diminished somewhat, but it could be regained with a swipe of a towel.
Also, setting up cashflow opportunities isn't about becoming ludicrously rich, its about reinvesting in the game once you build it to fix the issues where the game was weak, to perfect the game. After all, they didn't have as big of a budget that they now have. Why not make a sure thing better? When elemental was announced I was surprised that a new IP was being introduced so early, considering a small dynamic team would have trouble working on more then one game. Personally I thought starclad needed to grow more and release a sins 2 that could knock the socks off the RTS genre and make RT4X a new specialized genre that could hopefully attract a lot of younger gamers to ensure a longterm, large market for future games.
You people just don't get it...they don't care about making a huge financial success or the game of the century...they care about making a game they the devs like, enjoy playing, and are proud of...if Starclad was in it for the financial success, Ironcald wouldn't have abandoned Sins and made it a free to play game, and Stardock wouldn't have sold impulse...
So, how are you so sure about what the developers care about?
Also, what about making a huge success in both game design and cashflow? Making better games then the current industry giants at a fraction of the cost with the same graphical quality with even better game play? That sort of thing turns heads, especially if you aren't interested in getting bought out, and can keep your focus on making great games first, then making money. Also, this could encourage the industry to become more competative then it is. Gamers shouldn't want the industry form into a few stagnating "oligarch companies" that work together to influence popular demand for games and ensure that the masses are fed mediocrity for top dollar. That is what Wallstreet wants, not the consumer.
I would love to see the gaming industry giants get off their complacent asses and start to progress the ideas behind the genres that have formed. These giants can afford to experiment and try new things, to take even bigger ideas to more incredible heights, yet many do not. Blizzard is a fine example of a company that could do 100x more then what it actually does, and has earned my disrespect. They turned a few great IP's and made them into something unrecognizably average, over time.
Games got prettier, but their quality has diminished. Just looking at the love that went into some of those old playstation 1, nintendo, and PC games. Look at the decline in gameplay quality of the elder scrolls series. No real new ideas coupled with improving graphics = pretty but low replayability/boring game. I'm still waiting for the modders to fix this. This isn't the movie industry!
Also, if sins started to do very well financially, wouldn't that mean that the industry heads would take notice, that the entire industry could benefit from stardock and ironclad's game design philosophy? Money doesn't just ensure that your own creature comforts and desires are met. Money talks, it influences, it changes peoples attitudes and perspectives.
Right now starclad is still an aspiring company that after the failure of elemental lost some of its industry cred. They made a great game with sins, yet they are now going with new IP's instead of improving the old. Perhaps they want to diversify, and perhaps they are running out of consistent cashflow and want to even things out a bit. If they improve their game by using proven methods within their corporate philosophy I really don't see how they can fail. Its not all about having the idea, its also about who is using/applying the idea.
Sins is fun to play as long as it isn't minidumping like crazy. Personally I wouldn't be proud of a game that I designed that had a regular crash to desktop, its sloppy. The game is very fun to play when there is reasonable balance between the factions(which is what existed in diplomacy). The game currently is weak in the online community, not enough people. Grow the online community and you will not just be getting a large group of people using your servers at no monthly expense, you are actually maintaining a large customer base that is interested in what you are doing and is interested in your VISION.
When people actually give a crap about your vision, you have something powerful, something to be proud of. You start to lead. Once in a position of leadership you can actually help bring about even greater games, something that a small group of 20 or so developers could only dream of. If you really want to make great games, you go along this path. Perhaps you will make games that will stand the test of time?
If you want to improve the gaming experence, if you want to have a game that someone gives a damn about, you do these things. You go through the motions even if you don't, because gamers will flock to the hope you provide them.
P.S. Nice forum photo seleucia