As you know by now, SOE is selling its European players, to a company called ProSiebenSat.1. OK, technically, they’re selling them the exclusive rights to run the games within Europe (including the UK), but that includes all the characters on the European servers, and the details of anyone with a character there. The value of the playerbase has certainly been accounted for in the deal, and so we have been passed like chattels to a new master.
So who are they, these folks that we suddenly find in control?
ProSiebenSat.1 is a German media conglomerate. Their main business is German language television for Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Most important for us though is a little side-business called Alaplaya, which runs online games such as Argo, Skylancer, and a number of other games that you’ve also only ever seen mentioned in cheap google ads. I’m not hearing good things, either about how they modify their games, nor about how they treat their customers. We can expect customer service done on the cheap.
I was having a bit of a dig around for more interesting info when I discovered that ProSiebenSat have deeper links with the Sony corporation than have been reported in the gaming media so far.
Munich, December 15, 2011. The ProSiebenSat.1 Group and Sony Pictures Television Sales Deutschland GmbH have entered into a far-reaching output deal for the video-on-demand portal maxdome. The agreement covers recent blockbusters, as well as many top movies and TV series. This deal will expand the offering of Germany’s biggest online video shop to a total of 45,000 titles, thereby extending maxdome’s market leadership position.
Recent blockbusters like “Bad Teacher,” “Die Schlümpfe” and “Der Zoowärter,” as well as a large selection of movies from Sony Pictures such as “Did You Hear About the Morgans?” and “Zombieland,” are now available on maxdome. Top TV series like “Hawthorne,” “Drop Dead Diva” and “Breaking Bad,” as well as classics like the children’s series “Die Schlümpfe,” are also available on maxdome. Effective immediately, moreover, subscribers can access movies at least two months before they are broadcast on free TV.
A ProSiebenSat.1 Group company, maxdome is Germany’s largest video download site and offers a wide variety of feature films, series, comedy shows, sports, music and cartoons – a total of more than 45,000 titles of the best entertainment. Videos can be downloaded from maxdome individually, for rental, with a purchase option, or by subscription. As with a DVD, the program can be viewed as often as desired.
The timing of that announcement is interesting, and it starts to look like SOE’s mothercorp has probably signed a distribution deal with ProSiebenSat for their Netflix-clone that includes multiple media, and SOE has gotten caught up in it. Any claim that it’s a great thing for SOE is just a justification after the fact.
If that’s the case, then there may be nothing at all that SOE can do about this at this late stage in the game. This does not absolve guilt at the corporate level in any way, but it does make it seem pretty unlikely that this is going to be a preventable deal.
Which should not stop us from trying.
SOE has unleashed the dogs of war though. Dissent is being quashed. EQ2Wires writer, Feldon, has gotten banned from the forum, largely for his protesting the censorship of Cheese Pirate’s satirical cartoon on the matter. Long-built (and sometimes overly close in some cases, in my opinion) blogger relationships are being burned all over the place.
What is astounding to me is how complete a revolt is occurring amongst the playerbase against Sony’s highhanded tactics. Will this be enough to change minds, not only at the top of SOE, but their bosses over at Sony?