Petition Asks Microsoft to Pull MechWarrior Rights from Piranha Games
After firing its guns for months, it appears the dedicated MechWarrior Online community has finally overheated. A new petition on Change.org requests that Microsoft Game Studios, owner of the intellectual property rights for MechWarrior, end its licensing agreement with developer Piranha Games.
“Remove the MechWarrior franchise rights from Piranha Games Inc.” was posted on Change.org yesterday. While it almost certainly won’t have any real impact on Piranha or MWO, the petition is symbolic of just how much diehard MechWarrior fans hate what PGI has done with the franchise.
Last summer, we outlined in detail the design decisions and ill communication that landed PGI in hot water in our feature A Cautionary Tale: The Rage of the Mechwarrior Online Community. In short, we stated: “Mechwarrior Online’s road to launch is a cautionary consumer tale, fraught with anger and betrayal. It shows how a company can take a fan base dedicated to an old IP and completely alienate it through lack of communication, unpopular features, and oathbreaking. It shows how players need to be cautious of supporting a project based solely on the IP backing it.”
Since then, PGI has done little to right the ship. If anything, it only further escalated tensions with the community in December when it began selling a set of eight gold-plated mechs for $500… each. The gold mechs quickly became a symbol of two of the biggest issues fans have with MWO: monetization before new content and design decisions that don’t fit the MechWarrior mythos.
Officially, Microsoft licensed the electronic rights to MechWarrior (along with Shadowrun and Crimson Skies) to Jordan Weisman’s start-up company Smith & Tinker in 2007. In 2009, Weisman partnered with PGI to create MechWarrior Online.
I’ve reached out to Weisman, the man responsible for making MechWarrior one of the biggest PC gaming franchises of all time, for comment on MWO, its community, and the new petition. I’ll update this post with any response.