Star Wars: The Old Republic important to MMO market - Blizzard

Studio heads Frank Pearce and Mike Morhaime are hopeful that BioWare's upcoming sci-fi MMORPG brings new players to the genre.

World of Warcraft developer Blizzard is king of the massively multiplayer online role-playing game market. The game's most recent expansion--Cataclysm--sold nearly 5 million copies in its first month, and World of Warcraft's total subscriber base currently stands at 12 million. That being the case, Blizzard is rooting for the success of its upcoming competitor, BioWare's Star Wars: The Old Republic.

Blizzard hopes SW:TOR doesn't ruin the MMORPG genre for anyone.

In an interview with MCV, Blizzard cofounder Frank Pearce said, "[The Old Republic] is a game that has an opportunity to grow the MMO market if done right and therefore is very important to the industry as a whole, not just EA."

Blizzard's CEO Mike Morhaime also viewed SW:TOR optimistically, saying he would enjoy seeing BioWare's sci-fi MMORPG perform well because doing so would bring more players to the genre.

"It's certainly a strong franchise and BioWare's a great developer," he said. "We've talked about this internally, and from our perspective we hope they make an enjoyable game because they're going to bring in a lot of new players to the MMO genre, and those players' idea of whether or not they like this type of game is going to be determined by that experience."

As for The Old Republic, the game--which nearly 1.5 million have signed up to beta-test--takes place approximately 300 years after the events of the original game but some 3,600 years before the events of LucasArts' quintessential films. Players can choose to align themselves with either side of the Force, taking on professions like the Sith warrior and bounty hunter for the dark side and the trooper and smuggler for the Galactic Republic.

The Old Republic was recently delayed and is now expected to arrive during the back half of 2011. For more on the title, check out GameSpot's most recent hands-on preview of Star Wars: The Old Republic.

Written By

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

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101 comments
dRuGGeRnaUt
dRuGGeRnaUt

logged onto wow 2 days ago for the first time in 2 months. The Auction House was nearly empty of once "busy" item categories. Less people everywhere. I have to say, it reaaallly seems as though there is a mass-exodus going on in wow. The "new" patch just came, and "fixed" somethings, one of those things was pretty much halfing my mana pool lol(not quite but hey). Seriously though, how much longer can people play a game that takes time to actually MASTER, only to have blizzard make game changing decisions almost monthly?? I am getting sick and tired of it. Less talents/less talent points/removed spells from the game but left the talents in that boost them they really seem lazy these days.

DrewTheSchu
DrewTheSchu

They support it because it supports them. God only knows how many subs Blizzard has received from other MMO games that fail to meet the expectations of the gamer. Probably tens of thousands of gamers out there who tried a now failed/failing MMO and left it for WoW because of it's reputation and I'm sure they are expecting an increase from those who won't like TOR.

Timmy_Gwar
Timmy_Gwar

Sounds like someone is looking for a job at Bioware (or more precisely, looking for a job that isn't for Activision).

tassitano
tassitano

@xXFr34k_0uTXx I read somewhere that it "could" be a shooter-type MMO game. So I like to imagine a borderline-type shooter-rpg (I know borderline isnt an RPG per say but the system could be easily adapted into one) in an MMO sci-fi setting. But that's just me projecting my own hopes for what could be an amazing game :P

ViperPiper
ViperPiper

Clearly Bliz will be watching/ wanting the game to do well because their next secret MMO project codename "Titan" is probably or will be geared with a slathering of story. As great a company as Blizzard is they rarely innovate. They take what is proven and add polish and spin to make it their own. I'd bet the farm they are guaging the success of TOR to see what can be done better and improve upon it with "Titan".

raahsnavj
raahsnavj

Definition: MMO - 1. grind for a long time, eventually cap out your level and then play the game (see definition 3); 2. a game where you play with a bunch of douches running around avoid the story in an attempt to grind up their characters as fast as possible; 3. a game where you do loot runs, hoping for a random good drop so you can keep playing at higher levels; 4. All of the above. The result, I won't get near the genre if I had to. And I don't see how making a game involve more 'story' is going to solve anything. I would have liked to see a good single player experience though.

ionusX
ionusX

i think they want to one up the competition

ScorpSt
ScorpSt

I see GameSpot's still treating the rumor they heard as fact. Currently, the only official information on ToR's release is 2011, after March 31st. @Bozanimal - I think he meant winning in the Charlie Sheen sense.

Ladiesman17
Ladiesman17

Some people just need fresh-air sometimes,, :P playing different genre, playing different titles, playing both AAA & Indie, well, sometimes, trying new experiences is not gonna hurt you :P

Cowbie
Cowbie

Yeah, I'm not buying that SWTOR success would help Blizzard in any way shape or form...

Bozanimal
Bozanimal

@deathstream - "The 360 has won this console generation because the Wii isn't considered competition." Wait, what? Winning how? The Wii is most definitely a competitor with the XBox360 and PS3; even its own DS, to some extent. The Kinect and Move controller are the most obvious signs of that. Just as many people can only afford one console, most people only have time for one MMO: They're huge investments in terms of time, a moderate financial investment, and it has social costs. No, they're definitely competitors.

Wogrim
Wogrim

I think Blizzard's interest in this is because of their "unannounced" MMO, not World of Warcraft.

deathstream
deathstream

Smart move by Blizzard. If you can't ELIMINATE the competition, you eliminate the COMPETITION. The 360 has won this console generation because the Wii isn't considered competition. Bioware is not making a WoW competitor, it is making a different experience that will draw more people to MMOs in general. At least that is what Blizz wants you to believe with comments like those in the article. Personally, I am doubtful of TOR's ability to compete long term in the marketplace. It will get the initial surge like LOTRO and WAR did, but may not do much better long term. If SWTOR was ready to ship today, it would have a better chance. Blizz just released a half expansion at full price and the first major content update for cataclysm is recycled dungeons. A lot of fans are mad right now. But by the time Bioware actually ships its game, Blizz could well have something major in store for its subscribers. (I am not convinced that TOR will actually ship this year, but even if it does Blizz will have had nearly a year to prepare.)

JFL1969
JFL1969

reanor2 Posted Mar 22, 2011 6:17 am PT If Blizzard will keep delaying SWTOR's release they may not get as many subscriptions as they hope to. The game is not made by Blizzard, It's made by Bioware.

reanor2
reanor2

If Blizzard will keep delaying SWTOR's release they may not get as many subscriptions as they hope to.

Bozanimal
Bozanimal

Based on their comments I believe Blizzard is nervous, and is feeling compelled to provide guidance. Similar comments were made by my company in an unrelated issue where a competitor entered our market. We knew they would take sales, but had to say , so we told the media and clients, "We think it will be good for the marketplace overall. A rising tide floats all boats." Then they came in and took clients left and right. I don't know that I feel Blizzard is being highly threatened - I haven't seen enough of SW:TOR to judge - but it seems that Blizzard is taking it seriously.

Valen_Ca
Valen_Ca

@ ConstantinNC Ego and publishing rights, although perhaps those are both the same thing.

ConstantinNC
ConstantinNC

Another MMO to look for, I wonder why not combine forces between developers, create a great game, and share profits.

solo1g
solo1g

At least Blizzard are being professional about SWTOR. But lets face it SWTOR will not destroy WoW...They have 12+ million subscribers...even if if the lost 3 million on launch due to SWTOR it's still 9+ million. Also think about it a lot of people will probably play both. I hope SWTOR is as strong as WoW cause it's about time we had a strong SCI-FI MMO out there at WoW's capacity.

Boomer76
Boomer76

I think swtor is more likely to take a huge chunk of blizzards profits than help them ;)

N1njaSol1d
N1njaSol1d

Well of course Blizzard would say good stuff about Bioware, its just good business. Any other case where they weren't associated in one way or another, it wouldn't be the same case, far from it.

CureForLiving
CureForLiving

That's nice, so Bioware hooks them and Blizzard reels them in.

gameking5000
gameking5000

"[The Old Republic] is a game that has an opportunity to grow the MMO market if done right and therefore is very important to the industry as a whole, not just EA." More people to the market means not only more subscribers for TOR but for WoW

phoenixboyz
phoenixboyz

hm.... it seems Blizzard does not afraid that SWTOR will become better than WOW but they worry BioWare might screw up this Sci - Fi MMORPG Well, so far, there's only handful of successful MMORPG ongoing.... Anyway, when i saw the gameplay style of SWTOR, is similar to WOW, i hope SWTOR can be a very great Sci - Fi MMORPG, equally or better than WOW

bekyuubi
bekyuubi

In truth I have never liked MMOs, especially for one such as TOR. It has an never ending conclusion to the most important plotlines, milks money for all its worth and we will never, ever get KOTOR 3. I cannot help but feel that it was LucasArt/EA/Bioware who wants $$$ because that's really what MMOs with a monthly subscription is all about. Sigh. Had KOTOR 3 came out first to finish the conclusion on what the Outer Rim is all about, I might have appreciated TOR more, but this just reeks of money grubbers and people who wants instant cash up front.

maxneopayne
maxneopayne

Guild Wars 2 is doing it right by not charging subscription fees and bringing quality graphics to the genre.Old republic's graphics look outdated and I'm sure they will charge the usual $15 a month.I might check it out for the story,but I will not buy this the day it's released and depending on reviews this might be a bargain bin buy like Dragon Age 2.

ralphikari
ralphikari

300 years after... 3,600 years prior? C'mon Bioware not all of us are Krogan or Asari.

Malscyllis
Malscyllis

Nice to see Blizzard and Bioware aren't anything like that arrogant, ugly F*** head Kotick, who is blunt and says TOR won't succeed. Seriously, there's like only 1 good (popularly known) MMO and it's WoW. With that said, people will look at the MMO genre with a more positive outlook since there will be actual varieties in the mmo market if TOR is great. Meaning bringing in more gamers and quality in their games with actual competition. Hell and if TOR is successful, other companies might take Bioware's same approach and make interaction with story just as good, if not better. Glad Blizzard is being open minded and professional. P.S. **** Kotick

Malscyllis
Malscyllis

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

00ooPolarisoo00
00ooPolarisoo00

The Old Republic was recently delayed and is now expected to arrive during the back half of 2011. wrong, check your facts gamespot back half of 2011, yes. delayed? never has been

blackshark
blackshark

@zloth2 Thats how many signed up, not the amount of actual testers. Right now its " family and friends" only testing.

davidkamayor
davidkamayor

Why does this have to turn into a WoW hate thread. In no way shape or form can WoW really be called a bad game and @kenmanius judging by the post launch support Blizz has given the game how can you say its lazy.

kenmanius
kenmanius

Why would Blizzard want competition? Their game smacks of sheer laziness and the subscriptions sell themselves. And if swtor was any good, why would anyone who tried it for the fact that it's star wars want to get into wow?

Zloth2
Zloth2

1.5 million beta testers!?!? Errr.... why?? That sounds good for stress testing but, for all the rest of the bugs, 50k testers is way more than enough.

DarkManiaN_1979
DarkManiaN_1979

Blizzard aren't going to be a mega giant in the genre for much longer if they keep their game mega outdated in game-play and graphics, the way their baby (WoW) currently sits. Bringing new players to the genre isn't the best idea for the industry at all. Considering that most mmo players sit down and focus on content for months on end without purchasing new games, new mmo players isn't ground breaking for the industry, like Pearce would have you believe.

NeoTemplar
NeoTemplar

Is the game going to have monthly fees like wow? I think Blizz have hinted that Titan will not have monthly fees, not 100% sure tho.

dre256x
dre256x

in all honesty Wow has too much subscription and that has allowed blizz to get lazy and the market to dim... Companies are less likely to take risk because they fear is will be hard to pull subs away from blizz. And if the do pull subs people are going to look for the same polish in a new mmo that WOw has and total disregarding the fact that wow took 6yrs to achieve that polish... And if it not half exciting /cancel sub... I too hope Old republic suceed, as hell we need at least 3 more good mmo's.. Guild Wars 2 where are u hiding.. And in all fairness i think there should be a new Subscription model as a way to recup making these mmo.. How about 5 or even 10 dollars a month and sell other nooks on the side... Extra character slot etc..

KristoffBrujah
KristoffBrujah

There is absolutely no way he is hoping for a competitor's success. This was an inoffensive way of saying he hopes it fails.

ThePurpleBubble
ThePurpleBubble

They are both MMos, but they are also completely different - I can see why Blizzard would be a bit excited about ToR - no one has really done it before, so people who have wanted a game that filled the MMOARPGTPS niche didn't really have a game... now they do.

dkdk999
dkdk999

What they are saying is actually quite true.Competitors like swtor and wow are actually going to help eachother more than hurt eachother.

rykh
rykh

Nice way of saying, ya we are a little worried.

ItsNotKefka
ItsNotKefka

I bet part of the comment also comes from the fact that it won't be an immediate threat. But still, I love what Blizzard has to say.

lfebaggins
lfebaggins

Blizzards comments are classy and true, they want the MMO community to expand because they want competition. Even while making mediocre expansions like Wrath and Cata, they still own the MMO market at 12 million subs. They want Bioware to keep them motivated and stop slackin!

matchpenalty11
matchpenalty11

Nothing like good competition to keep things new and interesting

Shadow_Fire41
Shadow_Fire41

their compliments are genuine, but i bet once its been out a bit, Blizzard is gonna find a interesting concept in The Old Republic, and adapt it for WoW.

megakick
megakick

blizzard is is like good look, waits and puts in the goods that work well in swor into titan.

ToRNiO
ToRNiO

Oh God... DO WANT ToR !!! Waited so long.

AnakinSW
AnakinSW

Kudos to Blizzard for admitting what they're thinking. I bet quite a few other companies wouldn't be so fast to encourage another game in this manner. Obviously they stand to lose some people if the game really impresses so it's a pretty bold statement. Then again, they can also bring on some new people if TOR doesn't do as well as we're all hoping it does...

Icehearted
Icehearted

@JohnisGodd If that happens I think the earth will cave in. I think Blizzard doesn't see this as a threat, so they're not even worried. Like the big guy watching the little guy and going "awe, good for you."