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MMO Week: Partnerships begin with a quality game

SOE's John Smedley says the company wants to work with people they care about on games they want to play

Sony Online Entertainment - who has worked with LucasArts for years and is now working with Warner Bros - says that partnerships are what it is all about.

"The ideal relationship is that we look at everything from the game first - like with Pirates of the Burning Sea, a high quality game, a very good developer," president John Smedley told

"We all love what we do, so we want to work with people we care about, and on games that we want to play."

Vanguard, which had a rocky start last year, has been doing quite well according to Smedley. The title wasn't an SOE game when it launched - the company purchased it afterwards - so they weren't in a position to do anything about the initial difficulties.

"It was a company that was being run into the ground, and we needed to come in and take care of it."

While providing a learning experience for SOE, Smedley noted that every deal is different.

"For example, Perpetual with Gods and Heroes - behind the scenes in that they were putting on a brave face to customers, but we were giving them advice all the time - which was ignored."

"At some point you get to this point in fact with Perpetual that was a direct result of the learnings we got from Vanguard - at one point they wanted to try and put the thing out early, and we said 'Look, we're not interested - we don't care if we lose money, but if you put this thing out there, users are going to hate it, and it's going to be a bad release.'"

Smedley doesn't call that a brave stance - just one of the lessons they've learned.

"I would say that the circumstances sometimes dictate things, and as a company we are less and less willing to do anything that might harm our reputation, and we want to make sure that our games are super-high quality."

The complete interview with SOE's John Smedley is now available.

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