Ironclad is a sucess because, they choosed to create a game based on a market.
Many game developers try to create a game to everyone, a game that "everyone" will like to play.
This make the games not reach their full potential.
People have very different tastes and its impossible to fit on all those tastes, so in the end you will need to make changes to get close to what you was wanting at the first place.
Yes, some guys that like sins of solar empire, would like those games (the ones made to everyone), but they would prefer way more a game made just to their market (sins or solar empire), and would be more likely to give their support (buy, or at least tell about how good the game is with other guys) and buy expansions.
Also there are some potential gamers that dont play games, or just play few games, because they dont like the "made to everyone" games.
That problem is even bigger on mmorpg, the problem is so big that are some players that complain when ONE game is not how they like. Many players complained when they saw that darkfall was going to have open pvp in every area. The problem is that darkfall is just one game, there is thousands of mmorpg without open pvp in every area, if they dont like open pvp they can just play the others games, and there are many mmorps to choose because 99% of the mmorpgs doenst have totally open pvp.
Because of that "made to everyone", they havent made yet, a 100% open RvR mmorpg game yet, where you play to do the RvR battles and RvR is just not a part of the game (big or not) RvR is the game (an example is world war 2 online, but this game is a mmofps not a mmorpg)