Star Wars: The Old Republic has cost EA $80 million - Analyst

Wedbush's Michael Pachter says that the megapublisher's MMORPG will likely break even with just 350,000 subscribers.

Yesterday, Electronic Arts reported its earnings estimates for its past fiscal year and gave some predictions for the year ahead. The company forecast that the much-anticipated Star Wars: The Old Republic should be released sometime during the second half of the 2011 calendar year. However, company executives also said there was an "outside" chance that the game could be delayed into the first quarter of calendar 2012.

Star Wars: The Old Republic should turn a tidy profit for EA, according to Michael Pachter.

Whenever it comes out, The Old Republic will likely make a not-so-small fortune for its now-sole publisher, according to one analyst. Wedbush's Michael Pachter believes EA has spent just $80 million on development costs for the massively multiplayer online role-playing game since it bought BioWare/Pandemic in 2007 for $860 million.

"Fortunately for investors, the company expenses R&D spending, meaning that its revenues on sales of the Star Wars MMO will be pure profit," wrote Pachter. "EA will be required to spend marketing dollars on the game, and we estimate total manufacturing, marketing, and distribution spending will total around $20 million, meaning that at 2 million units sold, EA will generate $60 million of operating profit on the [game disc] sales. We estimate that EA will cover its direct operating costs and break even at 500,000 subscribers (this is exceedingly conservative, and the actual figure is probably closer to 350,000), meaning that with 1.5 million paying subscribers, EA will have 1 million profitable subs."

Pachter went on to estimate the cost per subscriber to keep Star Wars: The Old Republic operational will be around $5. That means even if EA has to give Star Wars license holder LucasArts 33 percent in royalties on a $15 per month subscription fee, the publisher will still pocket $5 each month per account in profits. If the game acquires 1 million subscribers during the back half of its fiscal year (October 2011-March 2012), EA should profit $30 million from the game, according to Pachter's estimate.

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98 comments
gamefeind
gamefeind

I really like it but LOTRO is just as good if not better, looks great, and is free. So this just has story goin for it so far I like the 2 stories I started Bounty hunter and Sith inquisitor I'll have to see when I get my 30 day trial if I'm hooked.

chandlerr_360
chandlerr_360

It's sad that EA will make so much from such a terrible game.

LUMIN4RY
LUMIN4RY

Huge $$$ is going to be made on SWTOR.

Aravos
Aravos

Easy money made here for EA... this is gonna be a cash cow for years in the future, for sure.

_distemper
_distemper

@daveasaraus Voice talent doesn't get paid as much as you'd think they do. I doubt that any one of them broke a five-figure salary for the roles they played. One of the prerequisites for being a voice actor is that you have to have the ability to voice numerous characters, meaning that each of the voice actors in TOR most likely voiced multiple NPCs.

bprofit
bprofit

where is this writer finding these numbers? do we have any proof that any of these are accurate? some of these figures sound hard to believe, at least for me.

Petros957
Petros957

The way you guys fashion your Titles is questionable. This article says allot more than that it will "Just take 350K subscribers..." Then again I guess none of you have any journalistic training. And I should just be happy you "publish" any articles at all. =P

daveasaraus
daveasaraus

Sounds like a lot of people worked for free. This game has been in development for well over a decade and with the ridiculous number of voice actors 80 million sounds like way too low of a number.

agni_1
agni_1

80 million actually doesn't even sound that bad for a game of this size. People were predicting that the 200million+ dollars spent on developing this would mean it would have to get a huge base very quickly to stay afloat but this changes the rules.

deeper1kyo
deeper1kyo

Find it funny to read others saying that SWToR is not gamebreaking. Clearly you have no clue what you are talking about. Before ToR almost every announced MMO was a copy of WoW and that is also a copy of other MMO's. But they was all the same in there way but the mechanics and gameplay is all pretty similar. But here this: After Bioware announced ToR and what they was going to implant that no other MMO have done so far, all sudden every MMO that was in a early state saw what Bioware was going to do. And guess what, they ended to implant the exact same thing as ToR, Story..... Every MMO that is announced after ToR is all implanting a story driven gameplay. If it was not for Bioware I'm pretty sure we would still see copies of MMO's that all deliver the exact same thing as they done since 1996. So don't say that ToR is not nothing special and doesn't deliver anything new to MMO games. Thanks

shooters125
shooters125

@desperadox Just because this is a Star Wars game doesn't mean it has anything to do with Battlefront 3. The Battlefront series was developed by Pandemic Studios (who got closed by EA back in 2009) so you may never get Battlefront 3. This game is being made by Bioware, who made KOTOR. If your gonna ask for a long deserved game, make sure your asking the right people.

grimmdarkness
grimmdarkness

If they push the release to 2012 they can kiss at least one subscriber goodbye. Six month delay I can handle, one year delay I'm not happy, but I can take it, over two years delayed, you can keep your game...

Humorguy_basic
Humorguy_basic

I got 15 thumbs down for saying this wouldn't make a profit and would disappear in 18 months (or the equivalent of going "free"!), I'll come back in 18 months and crow or apologise. But I think i'll be crowing at those 15 that gave me a thumbs down! :)

jrxbond
jrxbond

What I think is sad though is that the ONLY thing we hear about is how much this is costing them. Doesn't make ANYONE confident in this games possibilities.

jrxbond
jrxbond

DA2 had awesome gameplay mechanics.. the story was sorely lacking but had the game had an actual point it would have been a great addition to the collection. Won't be burning too much more on flops though.

Shoaka
Shoaka

$80 million is actually downplaying how much it's going to cost. But still it'll be a great game.

Jewid546
Jewid546

Im quietly excited about this release, however with LOTRO being F2p with SOLID content, and a superb gaming experience I think that will be the benchmark for MMO's in the future, that being said, what TOR is offering is nothing short of epic, i'll keep watching to see what happens on this game.

desperadoxd
desperadoxd

This is all fine and dandy -- but I won't be happy until Battlefront 3!

Llama345
Llama345

I love kotor. I might even put windows on my mac to play this game. But I'm def. going to wait until I see the reviews. I like the pve, and i wonder how this game will do with that.

Shantmaster_K
Shantmaster_K

Yes, they put in $80 mill, but they will not regret it once its released. Can't wait for TOR to come out

DitchyJ
DitchyJ

I hope it does well when its out, I believe WoW has been and gone now and a fresh epic MMO is just what the world needs (not bashing WoW btw). Me, I prefer games like Planetside..trueley one of the best MMO games ive ever played.

ChaoticAtwa
ChaoticAtwa

Now I don't mind companies taking time with crafting a fantastic MMO so that it is ready to go at retail and not constantly patching and acting as a beta upon release. But this game has been in the works for so long with so much information released concerning it that being delayed again into 2012 removes my interest from the game until it actually hits stores.

NColdhardt
NColdhardt

They'll make the money back on release day.

hubbybubby70
hubbybubby70

Im over paying a monthly figure on top of the boxed price....bye bye MMO worlds. Will spend the money down the pup or cinema.

dam312
dam312

And are these the same "analysts" who thought DA2 would sell 4 to 5 million. Yeah....good luck there.

dam312
dam312

Sorry, but given the time, people and all that's gone into it, and given the fact that it's been delayed, more than once, and will be again no doubt....80 million seems light to me. I think it's more. Maybe a lot more and they're trying to downplay it. I'm not playing an MMO as it's not my thing, but this game has trouble written all over it at this point.

T-_-K
T-_-K

i wonder how much did DA2 cost /?

phoenixboyz
phoenixboyz

80 million dollars.... this money better worth investing in this game that waited since 2007

ri100014
ri100014

@adidas32x Well, it's my personal opinion obviously. And 82 is not what what I've come to expect from a company like BioWare. I set them too high, I'll admit, but low 80s on Metacritic is what Jade Empire also got all those years ago too. I don't think many will break out and celebrate it as 2005's Game of the Year either. So really if that is where Dragon Age 2 ends up, as one of the minor BioWare flops, I feel I am right in calling it "crap". It might smell better than most "crap" but it's just got a better smell is all.

adidas32x
adidas32x

@ri100014 Sorry, but a game that gets a 82 on meta critic isn't crap, it just isn't what BioWare usually puts out, which is game of the year material. Funny that you make it seem as if it got like a 20, and that's all BW ever makes lol, pretty dumb. I find it hilarious that so many people act all butt hurt over DA2, which is a much better game than all these ppl make it seem.

zeebenzene
zeebenzene

I'm still just wondering why mass effect 2 was treated like the second coming of christ. I liked the first one better.

servb0ts
servb0ts

seems like a gamble time will determine the outcome.

SauhlGood
SauhlGood

@ri100014 i think thats the problem, dev's, and tbh probably mainly publishers, just want more of what sold the first hit game... a kind of "if it aint broke,dont fix it" approach... shortsighted, as this is not a static manufacturing business, you are manufacturing product, but the product is subjective, like art... Some of the corporate leadership thinks that if a game sells well the first time around, they can just change some window dressings and sell the same game again. You cant enter a mmorpg saturated field with nothing unique to offer, or just spinoffs of what the current competition has. The unique way dialogue plays out is somthin im lookin forward to, the art direction and character design also are awesome. So far not a fan of the proposed pvp, it is different in the sense that it seems to be focused on small party engagements but the venues for these engagements are instanced, not part of the world, i dont like that... i dont like the way any instanced pvp functions.. it feels bereft of any permanent implications or any feeling that the battle u just had meant or changed anything... i wish the bioware team luck, perhaps unique inspiration, and hopefully no douchebaggery on ea's part. mostly im happy this is not a console title! @OmegaBob they have creative leads where they need to be and the expertise of mythics mmorpg development, from what i read they have a good team to build this mmorpg.

Meiju
Meiju

@OmegaBob If anything SWTOR is being developed by bioware's AAA team. So much more is at stake than with DA or ME. The profit potential, the money put in to the game, and the time bioware has spent developing the game, both for a longer period and with a larger team of people. stop spewing plz

ri100014
ri100014

@adidas32x Gaming developers should want a profit but they should also want a quality product to go with it. If they don't then they shouldn't get that profit they keep yearning for like starved-crazed druggies. DA2 was, and is, a complete sell out of all ideas. For myself and GhoX (I suspect) we are turned away from anything the BioWare/EA team will come up with together. Maybe it's not the most sensible thing to do but it is a natural thing when you've been fed crap not to go back to the same proprietor, who doesn't admit to selling crap, and expect anything different.

ri100014
ri100014

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

adidas32x
adidas32x

@GhoX No, you're one of those people who think "you're only as good as you're last game" aka why all you bring up is DA2 and talk about EA as if they produce garbage(which DA2 was not). Sorry, but alot of people like DA2, and the ME series rocks, and BF rocks, and Dead Space, and Rock Band, and Burnout, and FIFA, and Crysis, and and and and and.... Every company wants to minimize costs and max profits, it's a buisness, shocking to you obviously since you don't think these publishers should want a profit lmao. The people that get mad at the buisness side of how video games are made should do a minute of research and realize that their favorite games never would have happened without the "big bad evil buisness" that pumps the millions of dollars into them that is required. Boom, headshot

longestsprout
longestsprout

@OmegaBob This so called C-team/bottom of the barrel consists of the people who made the classical KotOR and the remnants of Mythic. Where did you get the whole a/b/c team idea? Bioware right now consists of four different studios (BioWare Edmonton, BioWare Austin, BioWare Mythic, and BioWare Montreal). Each possess many talented employees and they're not ranked by who's the best or poorest at making games. Each studio has considerable amount of unique talent and TOR has an entire studio dedicated to making it.

Giga_Surfer
Giga_Surfer

@Icehearted You probably misinterpreted what i said, I didn't said TOR is bioware equivalent to Kotor3, what i said is, it was stated in an interview, that in content comparison, theres enough content in TOR to make a Kotor 3,4,5,6,7,8,9 and 10. Thats why i hardly think a Kotor 3 is coming out any time soon, also this MMO is in the making for nearly 3 years now, i think with the huge amount of money they invested and the time, this might be actually something to rival with, WoW and Lotr, well at least I hope so.

zirakizen
zirakizen

@OmegaBob thats how you do it. I see the error of my ways. High hopes for the game though

GhoX
GhoX

I'm a little troubled by this. Yes, it's fortunate for investors, but since no development cost is ever capitalised, the 80m spending may actually be overstated. From an investor's point of view, the lower the spending the better. From a gamer's point of view, very low spending is generally bad news. While I believe BioWare's goal to create one of the best MMO ever, I'm dubious about EA's. I get the feeling that EA may be trying to minimising cost and maximising profit (similar to DA2), and will be satisfied as long as TOR contributes to its coffer. To EA a gain would still be a gain even if the game dies within a year.

OmegaBob
OmegaBob

Note: this is really an EA designed MMO, not Bioware. If the Bioware A & B teams are working on Mass Effect & Dragon Age, which team is working this MMO? The C-Team. The bottom of the barrel. Granted Bioware's bottom tiered team is prob much better than other publisher's A-teams; however, this just means that the storyline themselves are what the C-team is working on. The real designers behind this are from the EA stable and IMO, that does not bode well. *fingers crossed that I am wrong (but Im not)*

matchpenalty11
matchpenalty11

I think the one thing that may make this a more enjoyable mmo is the focus bioware is placing on the story element of the game. In most mmo's the player's reward for grinding is more grinding. In TOR it seems as if the reward for grinding will be to advance the story. Its no secret that bioware makes games with rediculously detailed stories.

Icehearted
Icehearted

@Bigbudd0045 I agree, this isn't KotOR 3, but like Giga_Surfer had said, they'd basically said that this pretty much is that and more. This is what they chose to make as a true sequel to KotOR, and to be honest I think that was a poor call. I don't have to play this game to know that a single player RPG and a MMO are not alike and dependent on very different kinds of ideas. Bioware called it KotOR 3 though, and that's where I feel the most disappointment, because there wasn't any moment during the first two where I thought They could just have easily made this, made KotOR 3, and I think this would be less frowned upon, but the reality is Bioware has stated this is in fact the next true sequel in the series.

Giga_Surfer
Giga_Surfer

80 million isn't much, lets see GT5 for example, cost 60 million to do, and in less then 2 weeks the game paid of it self.

Maizel
Maizel

80 million, while alot of money, doesn't sound too much, if the game does well.

mdboomer
mdboomer

Yeah I was hoping for KOTOR 3 as well, but we'll have to make due