I want to thank Tori-B from Realms of Chirak for drawing my attention to this. I thought the project was trudging along "well enough". Pathfinder Online (PFO) wasn't taking the world by storm, but neither was it being bashed to death - though I will admit to having heard more naysayers than people who loved it. Most of the negatives are things I would pass on as growing pains, and with the software not yet fully released all within the realm of the fixable: didn't like the presentation, didn't like the long walks, etc. Things that can be addressed.
I just read of the fate of Goblinworks and PFO: low money, layoffs, skeletal crew remaining, and the lead leaving. In the software industry, that's when you know it's time to bug out and that a project is dead. Right now, users are promised the servers will be up through the end of the month, that's not a very bright future for what seemed like a slam-dunk just a year or so ago. I've been on a few of those in the past and most company tend to pull the plug really quick on those projects.
It is with a heavy heart that I write this. I really wanted the game to be success. I never expected it to be on par with World of Warcraft in size, like a few of the more optimistic of my friends boasted but I expected it to have a decent success and be a product that would keep it going like a number of games out there that I enjoy: Dungeons and Dragons Online, DC Universe, Guild Wars, and Star Wars The Old Republic. As a cheapie, I would wait for it to go full free then play it, buying only DLCs and a few added bits and bobs like I've done for other games.
What can we learn from Goblinworks' experience? The short answer: stick with what you know best and license the rest. Seriously, TSR and WotC have done it with varying degree of success. When a partnership works, they continue (such as DDO) and the parent company keep raking in free cash and let others take the risk. When it is not doing so great, they stop (like that Daggerdale game). Another thing that really divided people was the "everything is PVP" that stance turned a number of people off (including myself), I suck at all PVP and generally stay away from those games - heck I don't do it in the games I play regularly!
However, we cannot write off Paizo and Goblinworks in one go. I think Paizo is still doing well enough to keep going, that the end of Goblinworks will not see it end (I sure hope not!!!) Creating software is not like writing books, you can't just throw more people at it and expect it to be done at the target date. It just doesn't work that way. In fact, the more people you throw at it, the more likely you end up with issues.
I really hope Goblinworks gets bought out by another gaming studio that we can get to see Golarion come to life.
I am seriously bummed about this news. Much more than I thought I would be , even if I don't have any money invested in it. Why? My home computer still runs XP, so I am below specs to run the game. Plus, I did not support those Kickstarters because of a number of reasons, one of them because I saw this coming.
Since this post is a prediction of doom, I have to make a dated prediction. With a sad and heavy heart, by Thanksgiving (end of November), Goblinworks will be gone and Pathfinder Online a thing of the past. The writing is on the wall: PFO is dying a quick death, how quick is the question. It was a nice dream but one that will never come to fruition.