Pachter: Is demand for Star Wars games still there?

Wedbush Securities analyst questions viability of sci-fi brand after The Old Republic came up short.

Industry analyst Michael Pachter has questioned the viability of Star Wars games after massively multiplayer online role-playing game Star Wars: The Old Republic saw subscriber figures fall before going-free-to-play less than a year after launch.

Speaking on Bloomberg TV, the Wedbush Securities analyst bluntly stated, "One has to question: is the demand still there?"

His comments came in response to the recent Electronic Arts-Disney agreement that will see EA become the exclusive developer of "core" Star Wars games. New projects are already in development at Battlefield studio DICE and Dead Space outfit Visceral Games.

Pachter described the Star Wars brand as a "huge fanboy experience," noting that its appeal may be starting to fade away as time moves on. He explained that he personally attended the original Star Wars movie premiere, pointing out it was more than 30 years ago.

"The fanboys are pretty old. They're getting long in the tooth," he said.

Despite his misgivings about the health of the Star Wars brand, Pachter said EA and Disney can be successful with the series by drawing on games from the past.

"Now, the past Star Wars games have been really successful. And two of the most successful ever were made by studios owned by Electronic Arts," he said. "One of them was Pandemic; they made Battlefront. That studio's been shut down so I don't know if they can do anything with that. The other, though, is Knights of the Old Republic. That was a huge seller on the Xbox only. It sold something like 7 million copies. So it would be really profitable, even with the big fat licensing fee to Disney."

Ultimately, Pachter said he believes that if EA and Disney can get it right, both companies stand to make a "ton of money."

EA will report earnings this afternoon after market close. More information about the EA-Disney Star Wars deal and the recent wave of layoffs is expected to be divulged.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

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588 comments
liandrikonflict
liandrikonflict

Give me a Starwars game on PS3 using the motion controllers you fukwits.

Keeper_Artemus
Keeper_Artemus

There's always demand for star wars.  It's hard to imagine what universe is in greater demand.  The real question is whether they'll end up feeding us schlock or good games.  If I had to guess, I'd say we'll end up with games around the quality of the lord of the rings games that have come out (i.e. schlock).

alejozunleashed
alejozunleashed

That is the million-dollar question, I'm afraid. The Star Wars Universe is so self-contained, expansive and rich that it houses creative and narrative material for many, many games to come. Problem is, Not every developer (and publisher, of course), have the right resources, vision and skill to pull off a decent result. When pertaining SW games, we've seen everything: Big-budget undertakings which don't turn out bad but terribly disappoint many people (The Old Republic, The Force Unleashed), grand gaming achievements that shall stand the test of time (Knights of The Old Republic), succesful bestsellers (Battlefront, Jedi Academy), and, well, the shameful failures (no names here). And after the recent turmoil regarding SWTOR's failure and the demise of LucasArts, I believe the question posed by Mr. Patcher is valid. How much is people willing to pay for new Star Wars games? What are the requirements for a quality title based on the franchise? What should we as gamers (and Star Wars fans, in my case) demand ? Everyone should take this questions into account when receiving news about EA and upcoming Star Wars-based games.

Munstable
Munstable

As a gamer and star wars fan, I demand they stop making shitty games based on star wars. This cow has been milked so dry it becomes beef jerky.

BLACKWINGS17
BLACKWINGS17

Who on earth pays these "analysts" to do their job? They are obviously paid good money, and yet I've yet to read an article of one that actually made even a remotely correct assumption about gamers and the current gaming culture. So many good artists and designers out there losing their jobs despite their proven quality of work - but is the fan fiction written by analyst really that imperative to a company's survival?

bennehftw
bennehftw

OMG yes! Just don't make an MMO or another crap The force unleashed. Make a first person starwars game for christ sake along the lines of elder scrolls with a huge explorable world. Come on.

cephas90
cephas90

You use ToR as the prime example?  The mmo model is a breed of it's own, don't try and use that to condemn a brand.

marty2004
marty2004

Dear mr Pachter, please stop talking and just resign.

high344
high344

disillusioned Players: Is demand for Pachter still there? 

hitboy806
hitboy806

There is always a demand for good games. The problem is there haven't been any good star wars games recently. The last really good one I remember was battlefront 2. Most of the games from then on were not up to par with gaming standards.

DarthLod
DarthLod

We still want SW games, just not the drab we have been getting in recent years. EVERYONE wants a Battlefront 3, new Rogue Squadron, new Jedi Knight, Republic Commando 2, a proper KOTOR 3, etc. Yet, they go in other directions. I only see them shooting themselves in the foot if they dont make the games I mentioned. SWTOR failed because it is the most buggy MMO ever made. Heck, just the other day a dev explained how they "had a meeting and decided NOT to fix a bug". Yes, NOT fixing a bug in your game is the way to go? Seriously? SWTOR has only a handful of the features most other MMO's have as standard (they are finally adding armor dye yet it will be mostly cartel crap), literally zero guild tools, and now it's pretty much a cash grab game...even if you subscribe. Bioware fumbled the ball hard with SWTOR. Yet, you cant say there is no interest in SW just because of SWTOR. It;s not OUR fault SWTOR and TFU2 were NOT the games we all wanted them to be. Give us quality SW, and we'll all be buying it.

sony9876
sony9876

You people just dont get it.  That game was released within months of tera online, Guild wars 2,  and diablo 3 to name a few titles.  When you have beta testers who arent there to improve the game but there to compare it to wow your going to have a subpar product to build on.  Thats been the problem with all these games.  Look at diablo 3, tera online to name 2 of the biggest hype games from last year. Both of them were hyped up by the community, then tore down by the same community.  How can you make a game for a community that doesnt have any clue as to what they want. These guys give the devs the wrong feed back about the game in general.

Most of them played swtor just to hold them over until tera / diablo 3 came out.  Add to the fact that most of them are cheap and feel that every mmo coming out now must be f2p with micro transactions.  MMORPG in general are dying.

racingfan1
racingfan1

"Is demand still there?" What the hell kind of BS question is that?


Demand is going to be there for awhile longer. People like me, who were born after RotJ, who do love the franchise, are still keeping it strong. The only reason TOR didn't meet expectations is expectations got too high. Is that BioWare's fault? EA's? The fans? A combination of all three? I don't know, I do know that I got very excited about it. It was said to be a WoW-killer, and it wasn't. THAT is the reason it fell short, not because demand isn't there.


Well done Gamspot, I've fallen victim of your trolling.

milkshakes793
milkshakes793

Yes there is! Make BATTLEFRONT 3! Also JEDI ACADEMY 2! and of course KOTOR 3

BasiK3108
BasiK3108

I think the real question is the viability of MMO's I love them but it seems like the audience for these types of games has become "too good" at them and as a direct result they exhaust the content  too fast, faster than any developer can put out new experiences. it is important to know that a mayor deviation in that space of the video game industry needs to happen for it to reclaim it's former glory. Guild Wars 2 was a great game but it deviated from the formula in the wrong direction (while it took away many annoyances of the genre, the game fell short in many others mainly taking most cooperative dynamics away in favor of you being responsible for yourself) which was ultimately it's downfall and the sudden drop in the interest of gamers surrounding that particular tittle.

as far as Star Wars games go I think that Michael Pachter has failed to note is the mayor following the prequels and the cartoons have on the younger audiences, yes the original fanboys might be starting to fade but the franchise captivates newer generations with each passing year. we must understand that our love for the originals is most likely outmatched by the kids that grow up with the newer incarnations of the franchise and the lack of tittles that interest the older audiences is evidence of this shift to the younger crowd and saying that the interest in the SW universe is fading is just wrong. staying on the old game franchises specifically speaking of KOTOR might not be the right choice for EA and Disney (even though I would love this to happen) the market we have now and the one several years ago when these games came out is drastically different, and you cannot make the assumption that it will do great in retail based on these outdated figures.  

in the end it Pachter's guess is a good as mine and I do hope something good comes out of this but my impressions of what he said are that he just jumped to talked about a hot topic in a rush a made all the wrong assumptions based on his love for the old days of the franchise.

KaptenHaddock
KaptenHaddock

Well, you see, there is a demand. But not for assbad games :3

MN121MN
MN121MN

If they can release a good Star Wars game, I guess EA would increase it's reputation....

Parky-73
Parky-73

I like EA, I love Star War.  It's like they combined two of my favorite things.  And on top of that, they've involved Bioware other favorite of mine.

oskuuu
oskuuu

New Battlefront!? Still waiting...

Wesleypipes777
Wesleypipes777

I believe this is what is referred to as a "rhetorical" question. STWOR ( the most recent Star Wars game ) started off strong and potentially could have been huge if not for a number of publisher/developer based issues. The demand is there, what we need is someone to meet it with a game that delivers.


commanderxp90
commanderxp90

NO PAY4PLAY  I want F4P on it, then I can play the game. :)

AlexFili
AlexFili

Of course there's demand. There's demand for every franchise. Star Wars has a HUGE fanbase which should not be ignored

grokh
grokh

they need to stop making star wars games as often and make them better instead.
a Kotor singleplayer , screw the mmo shit.
and a new jedi academy would probably be awesome just not with always online shit that they try and force people these days

goldenboot76
goldenboot76

Dear Michael Pachter, stop making bullshit predictions that never come true.

LeoLex_
LeoLex_

is demand for star wars still there?

tightwad34
tightwad34

There will always be demand as long as the franchise is popular. Last time I checked Star Wars is very popular and fans of it are also fans of video games, so do the math. I have been a fan since I can remember and I needs me another Battlefront as well as a new Star Wars RPG.

Scorchstar
Scorchstar

How the hell does Pachter still 'analyse' as his job still .-. 

tionmedon
tionmedon

tie fighter 2, dark forces 3 ................

TexasAnMGrad2K
TexasAnMGrad2K

If Lucasarts had a hard time listening to fans and what they wanted, it's going to be even harder for EA and Disney to listen.

Vegna_Infamous
Vegna_Infamous

Pachter is a load of bullshit. The fan base for Star Wars is as large as ever but due to Lucasarts not listening to it's fans, Star Wars games have been poor. We're just dormant till you throw something worthwhile at us. What a developer needs to do is listen to the audience.

Lucasarts: Oh, everyone wants KOTOR 3, if we take our time and effort to make an excellent sequel, it will be a hit and get GOTY.

In reality, they didn't care. I hope Disney and "EA" understand what it should take to make a great Star Wars game and listen to us.

This is what should be done. The Old Republic's story should be treated as a "What if scenario" or an "alternate timeline where events went down Path A" BUT! KOTOR 3 went down Path B, the canon storyline of what really happened, which can lead to KOTOR 4 and 5, and maybe 6. If EA chooses to do this, we can get what we all want. If they do it right, listen and take their time developing the game's plot, characters, voice overs, gameplay, graphics, ect...

fuzzier
fuzzier

It will be as long as human race have not reached the same civilization age as Star Wars itself.

jsmoke03
jsmoke03

a proper kotor sequel would be greatly appreciated. swtor is fun but i dont have the time to keep going to pc places just to play

XNEXUS666X
XNEXUS666X

Yes there is. If Avalanche Studios make it. Open world, you can play as a smuggler, bounty hunter, Jedi, Sith... Whatever... IDK... Maybe I can't even think about something that awesome...

secretbadger
secretbadger

Yes, problem is.. a lot of them lately have been bad or forgettable. I WANT A GOOD STAR WARS GAME

OHGFawx
OHGFawx

Not for games like Lego Star Wars, but yes for games like Battlefront 3 and Republic Commando 2.

soldierofAthens
soldierofAthens

Pachter your entirely wrong. Pandemic Studios were a dev for LucasArts back in 2003 in sept with the release of Star Wars Battlefront. LucasArts was also the dev for the Star Wars battle front sequel. Just when the Xbox 360 first came out or when this gen with the Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii started Pandemic Studios decided to make a spinnoff Lord of the Rings title called Lord of the Rings Conquest mirroring Star Wars Battlefront. The publisher for this Lord of the Rings title and also the IP is EA. Unfortunately, the game did bad and so Pandemic Studios paid the ultimate price which is when Pandemic collapsed in 2009.

So no EA was never truely affiliated with Pandemic Studios it was more like Lucas Arts and sadly, we the fans did not get Star Wars Battlefront III so thanks so much EA i thank you again for killing a great dev and even in some ways killing a great IP as well even if it wasn't yours.

yerg3
yerg3

This is a stupid question! Of course there is a demand for Star Wars games. The problem is they have only made one good game (Not great but good) this generation and that was the Force Unleashed. Give me Kotor 3 or Battlefront 3 I will buy it without a doubt.

braydensearle
braydensearle

There is a demand for good games regardless of setting - having the star wars license just guarantee's some sales if the game is terrible.

Hopefully Disney have the sense to drop EA if they churn out shovel-ware.


arc_salvo
arc_salvo

Pachter doesn't seem very connected to the franchise then.  Does he not remember that the Clone Wars TV show is still ongoing and is very popular and that Disney's making new movies soon?  Also, the expanded universe has a lot of stuff in it, including the very good Dark Horse comics.  The Video-game scene's also had some hits, like the Battlefront series and KOTOR.

Vegna_Infamous
Vegna_Infamous

@LeoLex_ 

Yes, but nobody wants anymore mediocre games. The fan base wants high quality Star Wars games everyone's been wanting. No more legos, no Kinect, just triple A titles. Jedi Knight series, KOTOR 3, BATTLEFRONT III and so on...

sony9876
sony9876

@Vegna_Infamous guess you didnt hear... were getting armor dyes.. and a barber shop... i think thats listening to the fan base... dont you ?

ioshilee
ioshilee

@soldierofAthens And SW:KOTOR was made by BioWare and released by LucasArts as well, so god damned crappy EA has nothing to do with these games. ALL greatest SW games were released by LucasArts, and now Disney killed the studio. Great job, stupid mouse.

Redrivar
Redrivar

@arc_salvo Disney cancelled that show, rather they have blocked the clone wars renewal for next season.

ioshilee
ioshilee

@arc_salvo Not to mention 65000 ppl in New Zeland only, who claim that their religion is Jedi in oficcial social researches. The story in SWTOR is great, imo, and it is not the fault of the setting that BioWare made a crappy MMO-mechanics and chose to use a third-party crappy engine.

soldierofAthens
soldierofAthens

@ioshilee @soldierofAthens 

I am well aware of that. I wasn't talking about Bioware with the KTOR games. Anyways the games that they made before hand were great at least coming from my experience with the Sith Lords but the recent one was a bad move due to memberships and DRM. But hey finally now that problem is fixed but still EA tarnished KOTR's reputation just as much as it killed Star Wars Battlefront's.

arc_salvo
arc_salvo

@ioshilee @arc_salvo 

Yeah, it's true.  SWTOR would have been so much better if it had just been KOTOR 3.  No crappy MMO contrivances bogging it down.  Even other SWTOR players kept saying that even in in-game chat.

Man the crap you have to do to get the latest HK companion in that game... it's so.. "MMO".  And to think that all you had to do to get an HK in KOTOR 1 and 2 was just play the damn game, not jump through annoying hoops.