Skip to main content

P2 Drops Star Trek Online Development

Set phasers to "enormous setback for Star Trek MMO" (Your phasers have that setting, right? Good). P2 Entertainment has stopped development on Star Trek Online, the massive multiplayer online game based on the popular sci-fi franchise of the same name, inside sources reported to WarCry. The project's content and license have been transferred to another studio in San Francisco, but not the code itself.

It's not altogether unexpected, considering the financial woes of P2 (formerly Perpetual Entertainment). In October, Perpetual shelved its other MMO project Gods and Heroes to focus on Star Trek Online. That same month, the company liquidated their assets and was purchased by another media company, which led to its name change. Soon afterward, Kohne Communications filed a lawsuit against P2, claiming the developer reformed the exact same company (the management of Perpetual and P2 had the same people) in order to avoid paying Perpetual’s creditors. It reminds me of that time I had all that credit card debt so I sent Visa a note saying, "Pete Haas died in a snowmobile accident. I'm his identical twin with the exact same name and address. Can I have a new credit card?"

The development costs for a massive multiplayer online game must be, well, massive, so it's not surprising that the load would be too much to bear for a struggling company. This is actually the second MMO to be cancelled in the past week. On Friday, Tabula Rasa publisher NCSoft canned an unknown sci-fi MMO being developed by Spacetime Studios. It might end up being the best for these companies to cut their losses now, though, as the market can barely support the percentage of MMO's that actually get released.

There's an interesting editorial on WarCry that says World of Warcraft might be to blame for the decline in other subscription-based MMO's by crowding them out. The author suggests WoW's success is more of an "aberration" than a "harbinger of an expanded marketplace."

Just because WoW has nine million subscribers, that doesn't mean there's nine million more customers out there for the taking. You'd have to get WoW's customers, most of whom are probably only willing to pay for one MMO subscription at a time. Do you really see all of these MMO's under development gaining large, sustained subscriber bases when they're launched? With the lukewarm success of high-profile MMO's Tabula Rasa and Lord of the Rings Online, it seems like developers and publishers have gotten skittish about making such a big gamble.

Star Trek Online could still happen, but as mentioned earlier, the new developer is using none of the old code. I'd bet against it meeting the stated goal of Christmas 2008, the release date for the next Star Trek movie.

Staff Writer at CinemaBlend.