Of course, this is not a part of the storyline, but it is an important part of MxO history. It was a bit of a shock to hear that this was happening so early in the life of the game, and less than a week after the Choise and Consequence event. At the time, I didn't care who ran the game, as long as it kept running, but this change would prove to have a dramatic effect on the future of Live Events and the game in general.
Articles on the subject pointed out that MxO had dismal sales, somewhere around 40,000 units sold in the three months since launch. This puzzles me, because word of mouth seemed positive during beta, as far as I could tell. Sure there were the typical bugs associated with launch, but the game was playable and fun. Maybe it was the mediocre reviews. Maybe people were waiting for their friends to tell them it was a good game. Maybe everyone was playing WoW. In any case, the sales weren't coming, and that was a problem. Coupled with the fact that players were cancelling subscriptions, the game was in trouble. WB had invested literally millions in the game, and it was apparent they weren't going to receive a return on that investment, so something had to be done.
The transition to SOE had a lot of people worried about the future of the game. Some cancelled their subscriptions right away, because they didn't like SOE's treatment of other games, Star Wars Galaxies in particular. I took a wait-and-see approach. I had a lot of time invested in this game, and I wasn't going to throw it away because of something like this. Plus, I really wanted to see what happened next in the story.
Looking back, I'm sad that the game didn't enjoy more success. The Matrix movies were more than action movies to me, and it's a shame that this game would never be what the Wachowski's and developers had orginally intended. However, SOE did keep the game alive. As of this writing (10/30/2006), MxO is still up and running, and I have to give them props for that.
Next: The Kill Code...