Kotick skeptical of Star Wars: The Old Republic

Activision Blizzard CEO questions how much money sci-fi MMORPG will make for EA, suggests LucasArts licensing terms likely too slanted to pay off for rival publisher.

In the run-up to the releases of rival first-person shooters Battlefield 3 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Electronic Arts executives pulled few punches, openly expressing the desire to see Activision Blizzard's hugely successful series "rot from the core." Activision Publishing's CEO responded with a public plea for civility, which was roundly mocked by EA.

Kotick questions the profitability of The Old Republic after George Lucas gets his cut.

With EA's Star Wars: The Old Republic attempting to steal some of the massively multiplayer online role-playing game market from World of Warcraft when it launches next month, Activision Blizzard may be taking a more aggressive stance in protecting its turf. News agency Reuters reports that during its own media summit on Monday, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick directly acknowledged EA's Star Wars game long enough to brush aside suggestions that it could take subscribers from World of Warcraft. He also expressed doubt about EA's ability to make money on the project at all, given the rights agreement needed to work with George Lucas' iconic sci-fi license.

"Lucas is going to be the principal beneficiary of the success of Star Wars," Kotick said. "We've been in business with Lucas for a long time and the economics will always accrue to the benefit of Lucas, so I don't really understand how the economics work for Electronic Arts."

Activision has distributed LucasArts titles in Europe, Southeast Asia, and Australia for years, including Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, the Lego Star Wars series, and Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

In February, EA CEO John Riccitiello said that Star Wars: The Old Republic would be "substantially profitable" with 500,000 subscribers. Analysts are predicting The Old Republic will sell millions of copies, with one group in August saying the subscriber number could hit 2 million in the game's first year on shelves. Meanwhile, Blizzard Entertainment's World of Warcraft has seen a steep 10 percent drop in subscribers over the past six months.

For more on Electronic Arts' upcoming MMORPG, check out GameSpot's previous coverage of Star Wars: The Old Republic.

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368 comments
deedaw
deedaw

anything with "Star Wars" in it is AMAZING imo

Archontic
Archontic

Hahahaha, am I the only one getting a massive kick out of this Activision vs. EA slagfest? They're like teenagers.

W0NK042
W0NK042

I think WoW's biggest problem is that it's become to elitest. They concentrate on PvP/Raids & balance char figures accordingly & forget about the huge amount of people that just like to quest & dungeon. Then there's all the little bugs/glitches that are constantly overlooked. From what I've played/seen/read of SWTOR they plan to keep things balanced for questing, as they know that's why a lot of their players will be there. Add to that a team who listen to the forums/tickets/players & this will go over big with a lot of fed-up WoW players.

Zackarias-313
Zackarias-313

From the feedback I've received regarding my WoW comments, I can see you guys are a touchy bunch. The option for playing a massive rpg both online and offline is impossibly ignorant I'm told. Phantasy Star Online gave players that option, which was nice because even when the servers go down, you retain everything you've acquired in the game. I can foresee the enormous counts of suicides conducted worldwide when the servers to this game eventually shut down. An rpg that can be played offline (for free) or online (for a charge)...what an idiotic concept. Forgive my ignorance, folks...

nickery123
nickery123

this coming from the man who ran Guitar Hero, Tony Hawk and COD into the ground? I mean I'm simply left baffled.

N0tYrBeezin
N0tYrBeezin

@IAm_PUFF_FearMe Yeah yeah yeah whatever .... I am getting back into the beta right now! Bye!

IAm_PUFF_FearMe
IAm_PUFF_FearMe

@N0tYrBeezin It wasn't an insult, I was just saying you didn't need to start an argument over it and say my opinion is irrelevant. That's fairly rude and annoying, because I wasn't trying to make an argument, I was just saying I liked this game.

N0tYrBeezin
N0tYrBeezin

@IAm_PUFF_FearMe I was going to say at least someone could discuss his points reasonably without degenerating to name calling until I saw your butt hurt comment. ;) There goes my hope for humanity! ;D

IAm_PUFF_FearMe
IAm_PUFF_FearMe

@N0tYrBeezin 1. Theres a different storyline for each class so its not like your going to be having the exact same conversation. Also: I've played through kotor 1 and 2 like 12 times, same conversations, and I'm not tired of it, and kotor only has 1 storyline, this has 8. 2. The key word here is opinion. I played the beta, and I thoroughly enjoyed it, I like the fact that it actually has a story worth paying attention to and voiced dialogue, and I like the fact that I can actually give my character a personality. I was in the weekend beta and I played it about as much as I have played on my WoW character on my friends account, and I simply enjoyed swtor more. I'm not trying to make a point saying swtor is better than WoW or anything, I personally, just enjoyed it more. I don't care if my opinion "holds weight" I wasn't trying to make an argument, or a point, I was just stating that I like this game. I don't see why you have to get butthurt over it. I care more about the story and the actual roleplaying aspect of a game than I do about just leveling up and getting gear and stuff, which is why I usually prefer single player rpg's to mmo's,so for me personally, this game is just much more appealing than other mmo's.

MattieIce
MattieIce

Christ, those animations are stiff.

dakkafex
dakkafex

silly people saying aion and rift failed :P there both around for a while now, both still very much alive and still 1 mill+ subs (dont know the actual numbers) that a game isnt in the news doesnt mean its dead, look at runescape, think thats a dead game? haha look again

Blackrasor
Blackrasor

I Still can't forgive the story they have made for Revan this game. Someon should just shoot the writer and Taral V. Besides that this game altough it still needs a few tweaks before release the game is polished to come out Single player aspect the game is more than done. MMO wise well, my biggest worry is how the auction house of the game will develop, from what i've seen in the early stages of the game the professions some professions share way too many mats which are not hard to come by thus my biggest worry is to see how the economy will develop after the game launches.

kloner12341
kloner12341

shoot lol accidental double post down below didnt think my comment showed up my bad everyone...... my bad lol

kloner12341
kloner12341

first, @Montrovant1488 who put "I sense the dark side in you young Kotick, good, good. Your hate weakens WoW and shows the insecurity flowing through that franchise. Blizzard signed its death-warrant (creatively speaking) when it decided to join with Activision "CoD Fanboyism" thats rich and i thought others might get a laugh if it was back at top of comments I played wow and it was AMAZING. i got it during Burning crusade era and loved it. after a year or so, i got bored of the dungeon grinding/repetitive quests so i didnt play as much. i've played on and off up until recently when i quit. this is because it had very little story. it was an overview of story in which you made NO difference. i admit story was pretty good in CATA (mainly in the starting places of worgen and goblins and the beginnings of cata zones like darkholde and the water place) but was still very weak and repetitive in the quests. my point is, wow had no story thats why i think many people have started to stop playing it. finally, i thought too much time was required to be invested just to get decent end game gear.

kloner12341
kloner12341

@NinjaGaz too true. can't w8 for blizzards "project: titan" reported to be a FPS MMO (hopefully with a story)

kloner12341
kloner12341

@SocialAnXieTy i totally agree with kotick as head, great series have turned into terds compared to what they were at the start he'll produce them into the ground for example, wow a new one comes out a little too often my main game though is COD. i mean srsly COD 4 was AMAZING i played that STRAIGHT to COD:WAW ( released about one year after COD 4 release). mw2 was a fail in my opinion Compared to cod 4. but no he just says "I WANT MORE!!!!" and continues to have CODs pumped out every year. learn when to slow down and keep the product as a premium well made, written, developed, etc game

kloner12341
kloner12341

I played wow since shortly after burning crusade first year i played it a bit too much and it was fun but it soon got repetitive and boring just killing things to collect things or collecting things guarded by things etc. until recently, i've still played on and off thinking everytime "this time i won't get bored, i mean look how much fun it is! im gonna get the top tier armour!" but i'd soon start getting bored of endless dungeon/battlegrounds and get off. WOW was great but it had no story line it was always and overview story where you never really made any difference in so i've stopped playing for good. also (I know this sounds whiny and some are gonna be smart alacs about it but w/e) the gear getting was too hard too much time was required to invest to get DECENT gear. now i understand that the best gear should require commitment but just average gear should not require as much time as it did @Montrovant1488 ohhhh that's funny "I sense the dark side in you young Kotick, good, good. Your hate weakens WoW and shows the insecurity flowing through that franchise. Blizzard signed its death-warrant (creatively speaking) when it decided to join with Activision "CoD Fanboyism"

Zophar87
Zophar87

Just think! In 90 more days this game will have gone the ways of Hellgate: London, Warhammer, AoC, Aion, and Rift!

Falzonn
Falzonn

@Armysniper89 I don't doubt that TOR will be profitable to start. A major question though is: just how many non-hardcore mmo fans (maybe not as skilled, not as much time to spend in-game, don't WANT to spend tons of time playing, etc) are still out there, not burnt out from other mmo's, want to play Star Wars, and don't mind paying monthly for it (ie: just how much money can BioWare make)? I know they're out there, it's just how many of them there are. TOR looks like it could be a great initiation to gamers who were unable to latch onto and fully enjoy other mmo's (for whatever varied reason), or for those who have yet to play a mmo before. For many of those people, TOR will feel exceptionally fresh and exciting. In fact, with a somewhat saturated mmo market littered with duds and aging games, it's probably a smart move on BioWares part to target a different audience. A year or two from now, a bulging TOR filled with content patches will probably be tempting for even burnt out or hardcore mmo fans like me. I hope TOR's alive and kicking a year or two from now so I can check it out again myself.

olcraft
olcraft

Question whether you have your ass or not Bobbie! Of course SWTOR will be profitable. It's the best mmorpg I've ever played in years!

Nexeth
Nexeth

I mean:How the hell can a STAR WARS,let me repeat STAR WARS be a copy of WoW?!...oh,it feels a lot better now ^^

Nexeth
Nexeth

Star Wars...epic story with that will produce many quality expansions to come later.I tested the game and it was great,storyline is superb,graphics are very good and that feel when u play it is...woohoo finaly some good MMO,and every who says this game is a copy of WoW is a ignorant fanboys who is still sucking mother s milk...I mean Star Wars is way deeper...

tframp420
tframp420

If Bobby Kotick questions it than that means we must all buy it on principal alone.

Gerbilmaster
Gerbilmaster

Bobby Ko-Tick has damaged every game he has lached onto and has even damaged wow, when will the industry finally squash this pest?

gimousis
gimousis

I'm currently in the SWTOR Beta and I absolutely love the game. I think it's gonna be a success from day one. WoW is too old to keep up with the game market anymore. I'm not saying WoW is just gonna fade away like that, but it will certainly start losing alot more subscribers.

Sabian
Sabian

All of you who are not convinced about this game, just roll a Imperial Agent and play to atleast lvl 20 and u will have no more doubts. Promise

Gorakka
Gorakka

Activision doesn't like the competition. My God...!!!!

max_1111
max_1111

Not that i care about the TOR MMO but Kotick doesn't know s*** about s***. Dude needs a kick in the balls more than anything else.

Shahnil
Shahnil

I was pretty blown away when I saw mods running for cover and doing alot more strategies than the average mmo mobs, died a few times as well. And the elites are pretty killer with their range of moves.

d1g1t4ler
d1g1t4ler

It is fun. It builds on a proven formula and it definitely has its own appeal. The LT success depends on how much commitment they put into it. As for the competition, Imao there is more threat from Diablo 3, if what they say is true about the economics of D3.

sirmathew
sirmathew

i was also in the last beta testing the game and i think this game will take a lot of players from other mmo games (wow included). i will support it personally to give it the chance it deserves... they have done a great job so far with chars,quests and story.

Phatjam98
Phatjam98

@tachsniper Ah so you aren't in the Beta then. The NDA was lifted this past weekend. In fact they specifically encouraged us to spread the word about the game. But good try.

Oneturtledown
Oneturtledown

I agree that this game does not stray far from the mmo template, but it doesn't really have to to succeed. I played the last beta weekend more or less non stop and had a lot more fun than I've had in an mmo for a long time. That being said, if the story component is not your cup of tea you're probably not going to like it. The biggest thing apart from story for me was the mobs - groups rather than single enemies for the most part, and the different mobs have different mechanics (ie one might have a healer, one a tank etc). I also liked the fact that some of the boss battles are more difficult than in WoW, sometimes you have to die a couple of times to work out the right strategy for beating it. I think the companion characters add a lot to this as well. The combat just feels a lot more involved and skilled than WoW and the rest of the game can certainly hold its own, and I think this will win over a lotof fans.

revanknight
revanknight

I think it's funny how people have been disapointed that TOR isn't completely different from the average MMO formula. What did you expect? Bioware said they would be adding another pillar to gameplay, not transforming the existing pillars. It's a unique twist on the classic formula, and there's nothing to complain about in my opinion.

floydshayvious
floydshayvious

Thought the beta was okay but I could see it not holding my interest for too long - too much themepark I guess. Maybe it's just my time to move on from MMORPGs, though (UO being my first experience in 1997). Going to hold out for D3 for two reasons. One being the economy; I cant afford both and a sub this time around, and two; WHEN I get D3 I KNOW I'll be playing that for YEARS just like the last two.

Scritty
Scritty

I joined WoW EU launch day one (after doing both closed and open beta) I left in April of this year. At launch WoW was weak. Hardly any quests (2/3rds of every level involved grinding as no where near enough quests to level) no auction house, poor crafting, fast travel was not properly implemented (griffons or air ships) PvP was a joke - but that didn't really matter as on all but one or two servers the horde population for the first 4-6 months of release was virtually none existant . Raids were too big, chat was a mess of people trrying to sell stuff (becasue of the lack of channels and an auction house) I could go on and on and on. SWTOR is far far better than that. It's light years ahead (excuse the pun). Like WoW it's going to have 2-3 major content patches a year and many more fixes and tweak updates. It has 900,000 pre orders as of today (deposits paid) The servers were jam packed last weekend with hundreds of thousands of BETA testers, the vast majority of which came away well happy. My guess. it WONT be a "WoW beater" WoW was a one off, no one MMO game will ever break 10 million again, there is too much choice. I hope Blizzard get a hammering in the short term though. WoW has been getting easier and losing more and more tactical and strategic depth as it gets older. I can DPS in a heroic while reading a book. I sometimes have to put the book down if I tank or heal, but it really has become stupid easy to beat, Let's have a return to some depth in these games!

monstachruck
monstachruck

i've been enjoying the TOR beta thus far, although i'm ready for the release. i enjoyed WoW, but i absolutely hated how much time i had to put into it to progress. i rarely play a game for more than an hour or two a sitting, and i never really researched any "theorycraft" or the like, so it took me almost 4 years to get a character up to level 70. i just hated the grinding and the somewhat mundane questing. TOR gives me a lot of options to quest- i never did the same thing twice, and still found the game just challenging enough without being overwhelmed. PvP is fast paced and fun, and feels pretty well balanced. And I enjoy the social aspect of the game- the social items and group conversations are entertaining and exciting to me. The crafting system is simple and rewarding. I can understand people's criticisms though- it is far from sandbox. I play EVE for that, but still, as a Star Wars fan and a fan of the typical MMO format without the grinding, i enjoy TOR very much. just my take on it. On the topic of the article, i think it's ridiculous for EA to gloat, despite the quality of the product. This kind of "Bro-conomic" competition is pretty silly. tough talk is not going to sell a product- only quality can do that.

tachsniper
tachsniper

SWTOR is Biowares signature single player RPG with a chat room, nothing more.

n0matter
n0matter

My point is that the entire first half of the game feels like a tutorial. A 30 level tutorial. You don't have a choice between going to Kalimdor or EK. Or six different 30-35 zones to choose from or quests to be selective about, avoid and otherwise bypass, you're just told where to go and what to do. I'm all for a 2 hour "Here's how you play" guide built in to the game, but TOR is 'corridoor' leveling, from the get-go. As someone has already said earlier in this thread, the game will be for the Star Wars purists and not your average, random MMO player. You really have to LIKE Star Wars to get into this game. You don't just have to like "Fantasy", like you do with WoW. And it limits itself in that regard. No one looking for an innovative scifi MMO is going to latch on to it. Because it's not innovative. It's just another MMO with rock-paper-scissors class mechanics that we've all been playing since EQ. With a Star Wars skin, which fanboys seem to think makes in invincible. Hey, I hope it does well. But, seriously, unless you LOVE the Star Wars franchise, the game is going to feel stifling, limited in it's conception and just like every other MMO to hit the shelves the past 5 or so years. I remember hearing SOOO much praise about Rift and it's 'polish' and awesome visuals and innovative gameplay. Look at where that turd is now. The genre needs something NEW, not just reskin after reskin of the same game over and over again.

Armysniper89
Armysniper89

@n0matter in two weekends you could not possibly have played enough to see the depth that the game has later on. Having a good intro to the game is what you find in the early quests. Once you leave your starter planet you get quite a broad spectrum of places to go and do. No different than other MMO's. Sometimes having an open ended start can lead to uneven characters in other games such as WoW where you end up either doing the same startup areas all the time or missing out on content ment to drive you forward. I think the only thing I would say about this game is a question of polish. But then again name me alot of games today or for that matter any technology piece that is bullet proof at start. WoW certainly had a rough start.

n0matter
n0matter

He's right. I've beta'd TOR for two weekends now and it feels more like a single player RPG with chat channels than an MMO. I'm not getting the whole "awesome story!" thing that people are going on about either. I mean every class story is pre-scripted, the dialogue is meh and the I really don't feel like I have any say at all over what's going to happen. The multiple choice interraction is way too Fable-esque for my tastes and you're fast-tracked to each new area/quest/etc. It reminds me a lot of FF13 actually. Sure, it feels like you're playing a game, but most of the time you're just sitting there watching it. Zero sandbox equals zero MMO success. Would have been better as a 1P console title.

Armysniper89
Armysniper89

@Falzonn Apple markets their phones and ipods to the casual market and not the hardcore computer user market...they are doing pretty good. Not everyone wants to play an MMO to reach the highest level and raid till they die. Some enjoy playing with others or actually questing. The number of true hard core players might actually be less than you imagine.

Armysniper89
Armysniper89

Here is another thing that happens in this modern era of fanatics and fanboyism...we forget that some people might actually play...wait for it...BOTH! I can imagine that some people may keep their WoW account and actually try ou SWTOR and see which one they want to spend more time on. I hate when the game sites and companies talk about their 10million subscribers or their 8 million purchased copies of a game and compare them to their stiffest competitor as if each copy purchased was bought by a person who will only play that game. I bought MW3 and Battlefield 3...oh no I threw the metric off! I plan on playing Lotro and SWTOR! Blasphemy!

Itachhi
Itachhi

The wow killer is coming and Activision Blizzard can smell it.

SocialAnXieTy
SocialAnXieTy

Kotick will always be a smug piece of garbage after claiming series like CoD and WoW.. I'm thinking that he has it in his head that he's both invincible and untouchable when it comes to the gaming industry. I have no personal investment in SWTOR, but I hope it at least does well. I have nothing against WoW, but it's been a superpower within the MMO world for too long now. It should've ended with Cataclysm, but with Kotick at the head of the company, the series won't die off until no one's playing it.

kriggy
kriggy

I don't doubt that this game will be awesome, just hope that there are enough fans of star wars who will play this like me who can make this game fun as well :)

Armysniper89
Armysniper89

@8a8eh911, yea it is good and yea it will compete. It is expected to do serious damage to WoW's subscriber base. I have played them all...from Ultima Online and Everquest 1 to WoW, Lotro, and more. Every MMO has it's ups and down times and people come and go to try new things. People get tired of the same old same old...so it will be successful as it already has a fan base and does not have to create one. It was a good beta and you felt connected with the quests and the story line because of the voice acting. If people want to "zerg" let them in WoW...Star Wars will be for the purist fan and there are a ton of those.

chano880
chano880

@izini I guess that makes sense, didn't think about it that way, cheers !

8a8eh911
8a8eh911

"Ive tried the Beta, was good but i dont think it will even damage wow since its to much rpg ( voice etc etc ) which makes it you know like not quick and most of the ppl who play wow are zerglings who just wanna level quick do quests just without reading etc etc so i dont think this game will compete with wow :/ but i realy enjoyed this game.But will they patch it as they did with wow quick patches etc"