Via Blue Kae, I'm jumping in on Scary Boosters Developer Appreciation Week. I'm taking some liberties with the idea and broadening out to a whole division that consists of several studios: Sony Online Entertainment.
Yeah, yeah they screwed the pooch with the NGE, we all know. However, screwing the pooch occasionally is one side effect of being innovative. Innovative means "risky," and when you take risks disasters will sometimes occur.
The innovations that have appeared in various SOE products over the years are staggering. Love it or hate it, Raiding was pretty much invented by the Everquest crew on SOE's watch. Most of the modern instancing mechanics were also pioneered in EQ. Planetside was the first MMO FPS. Everquest Online Adventures was nearly the first true MMO on consoles (I believe FFXI slightly preceded it in Japan), and the only MMO I am aware of to not require a hard drive (only Phantasy Star Online can also make that claim, and it's more of a Rogue-like than an MMO). The first (and still only as far as I know) MMO to jam a space arcade sim in as a side-game. The first MMO to experiment with monster play (preceding LoTRO by years...it turned out to be easily exploitable and was quickly pulled). The first MMO to offer a server where buying and selling items and characters is vouchsafed. The first MMO to experiment with alternate rule-set servers. The first MMOs to completely integrate trading-card mini-games. All features you may or may not be a fan of. But it's hard to argue that SOE isn't willing to green light something innovative/ risky.
In addition to that, they have rescued several MMOs that would have crashed and burned left to their own devices. They kept the Matrix Online open a hell of a lot longer than anyone else would have. I seriously doubt that Pirates of the Burning Sea or Vanguard would still be with us if not for SOE. Between the stable of products they have developed and those they have rescued, a Station Access Pass connects you to a veritable museum of MMOs, and is arguably the best sub value available anywhere.
So props to the company division that everyone loves to hate, Sony Online Entertainment. And mad props to the developers in all of their studios for giving millions of us so much entertainment over the last decade.