By: Lee Jones
Corporate ownership does in fact affect the narrative experience of the players. Corporations are in place to make money. In order for the corporations to make money, they have to appeal to the players of their games. In order to appeal to the palyers, the corporations have to find the correct balance between storyline and action. If the game has too much storyline, some players will become bored with the game because it doesn’t have enough action. However, if the game is all action, then some players will feel that they are being cheated out of the storyline that they really wanted. The corporations have to control the amount of narrative in their games to stay in business.
For example, Star Wars Galaxies started as a game that was all about the narrative experience of its players. However, the company that owns it essentially remade the game in such a way that it is now a MMO hack-and-slash game that is not storyline intensive. This move cost the company many of its customers. Stories abound of palyers that had multiple accounts, and soon after the change deleted all of them, or only left one active.
By thier vey existence, corporations do affect the narrative experience of the players of their games. They have to control the narrative to keep the most people happy, and in doing so also lose some of their “valued customers.”