Vanguard: The Word From Smed

Posted up on the SOE forums The Official Vanguard Forums here:

Hello Everyone,

Today I would like to formally announce that SOE has acquired the assets of Sigil Games Online, including Vanguard: Saga of Heroes. As a part of this acquisition, we are bringing on approx 50 people from Sigil in order to insure that Vanguard continues to grow. SOE is dedicated to making sure that Vanguard is well taken care of and that we provide the same level of service we do for our other titles. In the near future we will come out with a publishing plan that will largely be driven by the strong player community that Vanguard has already built up. We plan on supporting Vanguard for many years to come, and you can expect many content updates as part of your subscription. Down the line we will of course be coming out with new expansion packs, but right now the focus is on making sure Vanguard is running the way it should be.

We are also officially opening up forums. In the past, our deal with Sigil didn’t allow for this, but as with our other games we fill this is an important part of communicating with the playerbase. You can expect a strong presence from our community team as well as the development team members. While we realize that Sigil had said they wouldn’t open up general forums, at SOE we fill this hampers our efforts to communicate effectively with the players. We will continue to support the fansites in a big way, and will be contacting many of them directly to discuss what this change means. By no means do we want to lose the strong fansite support by making this change, but we do think it’s important to have a forum for players to communicate directly with SOE.

A few other items I wanted to mention

1. Brad McQuaid will be consultant to SOE as a creative advisor for Vanguard. Dave Gilbertson will be the person directly responsible for the day-to-day management of both the Sigil Carlsbad office as well as Vanguard.

2. We do not plan on making any major changes to Vanguard. Any changes are going to come from the team itself. We aren’t mandating any big changes to the game. We’ve learned a thing or two with our experiences with the NGE and don’t plan on repeating mistakes from the past and not listening to the players.

3. We do plan on spending a lot of time cleaning up legacy issues with Vanguard and making sure the game’s performance improves.

By way of comparison, this team is approx. the same size as the EQ2 team and I feel like that team has done an amazing job improving EQ2 since it’s launch. We intend to do the same thing for Vanguard and it is our hope that the players feel like we’re doing right by them.

Smed

Addendum: The official SOE Press Release is now available here.

[Thanks to Rotacidare at EQ2-Daily who spotted this first.]

4 thoughts on “Vanguard: The Word From Smed

  1. p@tsh@t

    Official press release for reference:

    http://www.soepress.com/release.asp?i=111

    Interesting that its an asset deal, interesting the the official press release says “key assets” rather than “substantially all the assets”. So they cherry-picked, but what else was there beside VSOH?

    Still no word on price or any other terms other than Brad’s “consulting” agreement.

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  2. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    My company did an acquisition like this last year. A foundering start-up, out of funding, and about to close the doors and we bought the assets instead of the company. So the legal entity of the former company, and the potential long term headaches that went with it, continues on somewhere out of our sight.

    Per the press release, VSOH was the “tentpole” asset. An odd choice of words I thought, unless they want to imply they cut off Brad’s… well, you know.

    Price? On a complete whim, I bet $2 million for the lot. I bet the employees represent the major cost and assets of the acquisition, because you know what you get when you buy a software company without the employees? Pretty much nothing at all.

    As for Brad’s deal, well, that’s what you get when you’re CEO, a nice package to sooth the pain of failure.

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  3. p@tsh@t

    Man, you are cheap! ;) But that could be right if SoE funded the launch with debt which I thought I read about. Still feels like it might be missing a zero… Hard to believe there would be much other debt in the business though. Who would have loaned Sigil money in the last year other than a SoE with an eye to acquisition? No secret Sigil was going broke and the product wasn’t near done.

    They sold nearly 200k boxes but are there anywhere near that in subscribers left? 100k-150k? Less?

    Was thinking SoE could have made it a taxable merger and used the losses to offset taxable earnings in future periods unless they’re afraid of what’s buried beneath the surface. Asset deal always makes sense on the buy side when there’s something to be afraid of.

    Options worthless, no obligation on SoE’s part to employ anyone, all liabilities left behind in a rotting hulk… sounds like 2000-2001 all over again.

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  4. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    Well, SOE already has money invested, they will be taking on an additional expense by hiring the staff, and we’re talking about a game with a current maximum user base of 200K customers. I might be on the cheap end, but I would be surprised if it was more than double what I said.

    And 200K boxes sold… that seems like a lot, but it is a scary low number to me, at least for a game that wanted to be mainstream. EverQuest had 2 million accounts created and probably sold many more boxes. Heck, EQ probably still has 200K subscribers today. I wonder how many paying accounts were ever created from those 200K Vanguard boxes.

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