In 1996, Ken wasn’t just making adventure games; actually adventure games represented 5% of sales by the time Ken left (or so he said a few years back). Sierra was branching out–See games like Half Life, Hunter Hunted, Hellfire, Cesar , Mask of Eternity, Nascar, etc. By 1996, Sierra (which at the time was the market share leader of PC gaming) was MUCH more than just an adventure game company. Only two out of twelve studios by late 1997 were developing adventure titles (Bellevue and Oakhurst). You had products like Civil War Generals, Print Artist, Hallmark Cards, the Sierra Educational Game Series, Nascar Racing, Half Life, Cybergladiators, Cesar II, Driver’s Ed, CookMaster, Submarine, etc. Adventure games were in the minority of titles being produced by Sierra by the time Ken left. Now, ten years later, you have a lot of lucrative licenses plus all of those old Action, Action/Adventure, and RPG titles.
Sierra was branching out into action, MMORPGs, RPGs, simulations, sports, racing and home productivity. I remember Ken saying that if he came back the focus would be on MMMORPGs, which are HUGE nowadays.
While Home Productivity isn’t lucrative today, all of those other catagories are, and Sierra has at least a hundred different franchises to choose from, many of them not adventures. Could adventures be part of a newly Ken Williams run Sierra, if he chose to bring it back? Sure. But the main focus would be the catagories. There’s still a place for Sierra; there just needs to be someone who understands what Sierra is supposed to be and what Sierra’s business model should be. Vivendi, a water company, didn’t understand that.
People aren’t playing PC games? Tell that to the 9 million+ players of World of Warcraft.