Stardock certainly has a lot of really good art, good communities, and good distribution channels. IMHO--some are undoubtedly going to disagree with me on this--but now it seems the weak spot is the games' nuts & bolts. Game mechanics. Stardock needs another brain. Brad was that brain on Galciv. But now his brain is on "bigger" things, like managing a company, driving sales. And now some of SD's other games are not doing so good. Sins is good, but as I understand it SD wasn't the brain behind that--Ironclad was.
If I was that brain, I'd probably build a game around those innovative communities & distribution channels. That kind of screams to me, MMORPG. Or maybe not even RPG, just MMO...? I think of all the equipment trading, wheeling & dealing, etc. that happened in Diablo II, and that wasn't even MM. Some nuts even paid real money for a nice bow with mana leeching. Back in the early 90's, I played in a MUD that had auctions for equipment. And then you look at WoW--Blizzard certainly has good communities, but they have yet to innovate on the distribution, other than "30-day free trial" and subscription fees.
Another thing: be alert of the hardware trends going on. People are downloading iPhone apps now, and soon we've got iPhone competitors coming out. I personally just worked on a cell phone microprocessor running at over a Gigahertz. SmartPhones are starting to become full-fledged computers. I can only imagine the craze when people start scheduling alerts for the classifieds and the auctions 24x7 on their cell phones looking for that Golden Bow on sale for only2 Stones of Justice. The rumor is WoW is already going to do this.
Plus, we've got Quad-Core processors now, and we're SLI'ing dual monitors. Gaming companies are pretty good at threading out tasks to the video card, but I'm not aware of any truly multitasking games yet. Instead it seems we just use that to run a game on one window, and the other window for email, web, OpenOffice, etc.. I mean, can you imagine?...an RTS like Sins of a Solar Empire, only you've got a space battle on your left monitor, a tactical ground battle on your right, your ships are orbital bombarding the battlefield on your right, but your commandos on the ground are trying to take out the rail guns killing your ships. The strategic AI (running on CPU 3) just hyperwarped in transports from the neighboring sector, and now your ships have got to stop them from reaching the ground. Holy moley--I feel like I'm re-living Return of the Jedi all over again. Of course now your poor software guys have to threadsafe all that....
That's what I mean: BRAINS. In the game mechanics. Galciv had it.