With all SOE games and web sites down since 2 May and SOE giving out 30 days free play time plus one day for every day out the outage, SOE is in serious financial trouble, especially if the Bloomberg report about the PSN network target date of return of 31 May is true.
So what might help SOE's bottom line (and save some games) once all the security problems are solved? The much maligned Station Cash. That's right. With SOE potentially giving out 2 months of game play for free and gamers probably leery of buying new games from a company that suffered such a serious security breach, I see Station Cash as the primary revenue stream for SOE for a significant period of time. That is good for Free Realms and EQ2 Extended which already rely on Station Cash sales, but what about other games? EverQuest and EverQuest 2 already have the Station Cash shops in game so maybe they can ride out the economic storm if a large number of players don't come back.
As for Vanguard and Star Wars: Galaxies, games without a cash shop? This may be the end, particularly for SW:G. After this fiasco, can anyone doubt that players will flock to SWTOR? If the original release date (Q2 2011) for SWTOR had been met, I would say that SW:G is dead now.
I remember back when Station Cash was introduced players complaining that it would ruin EQ2. Wouldn't it be ironic if Station Cash actually helps keep EQ2 from closing its doors in the aftermath of the security breach?