I mentioned this elsewhere, but I think Stardock's problem at the moment is that they're now a rookie player in the big leagues (thanks to Sins of Solar Empire's widespread popularity) but they're still operating like they're an unknown indie developer with a small but fanatically loyal fan base. They'll need to step up their game (figuratively and literally) if they want to continue competing at this level.
I respectfully disagree. I look at it from another direction -- Elemental's problem derives not from SD being "...a rookie player in the big leagues..." but as a big-league-but-small-team that screwed up getting painted into a 'release in Aug or Feb' corner.
Being forced to choose between 2 bad choices (Aug was too soon, Feb is too late), they decided on Aug. (I'm tempted to say they made the wrong decision but don't have enough info on why they ruled out Feb -- there may be something that truly made that not an option)
Had they been able to hold off release for a few more months I think we'd have seen a sufficiently well balanced/polished/stable Elemental.
So, it's not that SD are a "...rookie player in the big leagues..." but that they screwed up and didn't give themselves enough time to show their mettle.
Now you could say that painting themselves in the 'Aug or Feb' corner is a rookie mistake, but I'll argue that even the pros are entitled to a mistake or 2, and that I don't see any other big mistakes SD has made regarding elemental.
So, I don't think of SD as rookies in the big leagues, but rather as pros who are merely smaller and more streamlined, but as puissant. I think their game is sufficiently "...step[ped] up...", and had they a bit more time we'd have seen that at release.
The test for my argument is the state of Elemental in a few months -- and I'm betting we'll see a game that holds its own vs. the 'big boys'.
As an aside -- I think Brad knew, as did some of us, a few months before release that Elemental wouldn't be ready for release in Aug. I think that's one reason he reacted so strongly to posters that questioned whether Elemental would be sufficiently polished by Aug -- he knew it wouldn't be up to snuff but for some reason he'd already ruled out a Feb release so he was left to make the best of what he knew was going to be a bad situation, and that bothered him. (I prefer a 'knew Aug was too early but had no real choice' to a 'didn't realize he wouldn't get it sufficiently ready for release by Aug' conclusion as the latter insults his experience in making games)