SOE CEO John Smedley recently talked to Gamasutra about his company's free-to-play business makeover and a new focus on players-as-content.
"Everybody is content for everyone else," Smedley said. "That's the core of our strategy moving forward. A simple way to put it is: By allowing players to interact with each other, we're providing tools. It's like we're building a gladiator arena and throwing in the swords... We might bust the tigers out or bring in new kinds of weapons, like a tank. In my opinion, the days when companies can make content [generation] the number one strategy, in the kinds of games we make, are over, because we can't win the war. Star Wars:The Old Republic proved that. Players bought it, loved it, and they played the game. Then they left."
Smedley also hinted that SOE's long-awaited EQNext project may be closer to fruition than many folks expect. While we've known for some time now to expect a playable demo of the fantasy sandbox at this fall's SOE Live convention, Smedley's comments to Gamasutra will probably invite plenty of speculation.
"Players will get their hands on an actual release version of what we're doing late [this] year -- and I don't mean a beta," he said.