Star Wars: The Old Republic needs only 500K subscribers - EA

CEO John Riccitiello claims that the forthcoming sci-fi MMORPG will be "substantially profitable" with just a half-million subscribers.

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During a conference call with analysts following Electronic Arts' earnings report yesterday, executives did not comment on recent reports that Star Wars: The Old Republic has been delayed to September. They did say BioWare's massively multiplayer role-playing game will still ship during the publisher's 2012 fiscal year, which runs from April 1, 2011, to March 31, 2012. Previously, the game had been slated for a spring 2011 release window.

Star Wars: The Old Republic will need only 500,000 subscribers to be profitable, says EA.

While tight-lipped on The Old Republic's date, EA CEO John Riccitiello was quite chatty about some other aspects of the game. First and foremost, he said that according to EA's models, it will not require a mammoth subscriber base a la Blizzard Entertainment's World of Warcraft to turn a profit.

"We previously described to folks that 500,000 subscribers saw the game as substantially profitable, but it's not the kind of thing that we would write home about," he said. "[But] anything north of 1 million subscribers is a very profitable business."

Riccitiello went on to say that as EA sees it, its "leading competitor"--a thinly veiled reference to World of Warcraft--has 6 million of 12 million MMOG subscribers in Western markets. He believes that gives The Old Republic plenty of room to expand without even toppling WOW's dominance.

"So it's our view that we can be very successful without fundamentally challenging the market leader because we think we'll probably hit the smaller competitors harder when we get out there," he said. "Of course, we have no particular ambition to be a distant number two. Our ambitions are higher than that."

Riccitiello also said that The Old Republic is already being put through its QA paces. "We're currently testing it with a large-scale consumer testing, but not the beta scale level in the coming months," he told analysts.

Discussion

229 comments
vaejas
vaejas

I like that John Riccitiello says "folks".

m4rkoca
m4rkoca

And what EXACTLY will be monthly fee? They're too silent about it. Millions are gonna play this, so if 500k is enough to maintain the business you might as well lower the price (dunno how much they aim for) which would attract more people.

FatalFist
FatalFist

If its a 1 time payment like GuildWars...im down... if not...hell i didnt even bother with WoW... Warcraft3 was the real deal....WoW is just stupid

Grim_Reaper007
Grim_Reaper007

I would honestly much prefer a "Knights of the Old Rebublic 3", If I wanted an MMO there are already so many to choose from. I'd like a real sequel to the franchise that I don't need to pay monthly for.

bdlantz07
bdlantz07

what's with everyone hating on the graphics? sure they look toonish, but so does the "leading competitor." in fact, WOW looks like something out the sunday paper compared to this.

klimrick
klimrick

Then how about they shoot for 1 million subscribers and cut whatever the monthly fee will be in half?

Thathanka
Thathanka

Shame, because 6 months after release they'll be looking at 500 subscribers.

SirTruant
SirTruant

Funny if they know how many subscribers will be profitable then they damn sure know how much they're going to charge each month.

aramus555
aramus555

i did play 1 and 2... MMORPG element has been done waaay to many times. Bioware should stick to the style that they are familiar with, let all the other MMORPG games do their thing... just sayin..

slpr21
slpr21

@aramus555 1st inform youself, then talk about ripoffs. Want to play KOTOR? play 1&2.

aramus555
aramus555

dammit give us KOTORIII not some cartoony MMORPG ripoff !!!!

stricot
stricot

So far I never had to pay anything extra from my subscription (WoW, Eve Online, Age of Conan... Asheron's call 2) so wouldn't really consider having to. Regarding cartoonish graphics, well can't say it's more so than WoW or most subscr-free competitors. Id rather have something in the direction of Mass Effect than this, but that's secondary to gameplay, balance, storyline, quest building etc etc... Just hope it will live up to my expectations

ZoTrAcK
ZoTrAcK

I stay away from anything linked to John Riccitiello, the face of pure greed! 500k users will be enough only because they count on draining each customers a lot of money.... New items, new characters, accelerators (cheats), DLC, new modes, subscription fees, online pass, add-ons, etc... Like Riccitiello previously said, the new market of games is about selling them by pieces... I think he is wrong...

ZoTrAcK
ZoTrAcK

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

Ruluk
Ruluk

Seriously??? That Yoda sucks!!! Badly!!!! Go away, Clone Wars cartoons, go away!!!!

AzatiS
AzatiS

500K subs might be profitable but thats NOT a successful MMORPG... Even low edge games as lineage 2 or AION got way more than that. I hope SW do good.

MrPepino000
MrPepino000

Only 500K? That should be easy for Lucasarts!!!!

Dan21278
Dan21278

I WANT KOTOR 3. I would pay anything for that game.

Barighm
Barighm

So it's not just my imagination...they are using some of the art style from the cartoon series. Dang, that's lame. KotoR wasn't that pretty to begin with, but I dislike the art style in the cartoons. You know what? I bet there will be a KotoR 3. EA is greedy enough, and if the MMO is successful enough, I don't see any reason why Bioware won't pull a Kingdom Under Fire MMO: use assets from the MMO to create a more conventional RPG for consoles.

BlackBaldwin
BlackBaldwin

I'm still pretty bummed that their isn't a kotor 3 popping up but I soo wanna try out the whole old republic mmo game. Bioware is pretty good at what they do so I'm more then happy to wait for them to put all the necessary time that is needed to make SW:TOR great.

Sta1k4r
Sta1k4r

It looks like Bioware have nailed it, but I just can't take the cartoon graphics seriously.

Chainer323
Chainer323

@megakick explain to us all, please, how Star Wars: The Old Republic is not Star Wars at all? Every mmo uses those same basic mechanics that you listed, but by your thought process, that would mean every MMO is not what they claim to be either

Chainer323
Chainer323

@megakick explain to us all, please, how Star Wars: The Old Republic is not Star Wars at all? Every mmo uses those same basic mechanics that you listed, but by your thought process, that would mean every MMO is not what they claim to be either

jasonzilla11
jasonzilla11

well they shouldn't be worried. it'll get a ton more than half a million subscribers, assuming if all the awesomeness they're showing us is truley awesome.

Seiki_sands
Seiki_sands

"So it's our view that we can be very successful without fundamentally challenging the market leader because we think we'll probably hit the smaller competitors harder when we get out there." Riccitiello. Are executives ever aware of how depressing they make capitalism sound when they speak?

Mistwaver1985
Mistwaver1985

@sircyrus You would probably be relieved to know the world is not instanced. Certain quests may take you to see a certain named NPC where when you enter the room you're in your own instance (more like phasing), then when you leave the room, you leave the phase. A lot of cut scenes and dialogues aren't instanced either. There's a box that appears over your head that let people know you're in a flashpoint (also known as dialogues and cutscenes). If you have to go into a facility that's instanced, then of course yes, everything will be instanced. @firehawk998 Unfortunately, I don't think you're going to see a KOTOR 3. SWTOR continues the KOTOR story.

megakick
megakick

im disappointed that the game isn't stars wars at all it uses the same mmorpg mechanics for pve that many games use, tank, heals and dps thats not star wars at all :( imo star wars would have been better as a hack n' slash game.

Fayt1986
Fayt1986

@Chainer323 you missed my point.... i didnt say the grathics were bad in the slightest i just dont like the style. that said will still give it a go.

Dancingdave
Dancingdave

@Zethlis according to good 'ol Gamespot "[KOTOR] managed to sell 250,000 copies in a span of only four days." So riddle me this... think Bioware had a name for itself before XBOX? lol the Baldur's gate series sold around 2million at each iteration according to wikipedia. No small feat EDIT:: plus, NWN was hugely successful also.

Neogenic
Neogenic

So i am wondering what the Republic / Empire ratio will be on the server and if there is an measures in place to keep the numbers fairly even?

redsoull
redsoull

Im in, taking way to long for my feeling. ANd i estimate they get around 2 million ubs from start. I suspect this game to land somewhere near June, BW has never given any official news that its delayed. For people who want 10 days free trials. If you buy the game it ussaly comes with 30 days free. Im likely going to start with a month extra, so if after 2 months of playing the game is really disapointing i will prob trassh bin it. But i have trust in BW, they make great games. Been checking everything around this game now for over the las 2-3 years, and damn bring some official news now Bioware! Give us a release date :(

Zethlis
Zethlis

@digitalheadbutt: Well I feel they were really successful with KOTOR and Mass Effect such more than they were in the past as that's what really got me into BioWare. Never played Neverwinter Nights or Baldur's Gate

digitalheadbutt
digitalheadbutt

@Zethlis Bioware made their rep on the PC back in the 90s and early 2000s with the Baldur's Gate rpgs and Neverwinter Nights, Only since like 2006 or so did they movie onto consoles With KOTOR, Jade Empire, Mass Effect and Dragon Age. I agree with you that they have an excellent track record and I will be all ups inside of SW:TOR whenever it comes out.

Zethlis
Zethlis

I agree with the people saying three million subscriptions isn't far fetched. BioWare is BAD ASS at making games, it's been being worked on for the past three years, and it's based on STAR WARS, that is three things they have compared to World of Warcraft. I've been loyal to Battle.net forever because I loved Starcraft, Diablo, and Warcraft, but I'm sorry to burst your bubbles BioWare has as good a reputation as Battle.net does, maybe on platform games, but BioWare is about to make it huge on the PC as well. Can't wait for this game to come out.

Chainer323
Chainer323

@Fayt1986 Games don't ALWAYS have to be about graphics. people that constantly complain that the graphics are bad and blah blah blah are probably the ones that only started playing games on the PS3 or xfail. I can see them hitting 500k subscribers on the day of launch easily, i know i'll be one of them

Vegna_Infamous
Vegna_Infamous

@AlecHP234 - "I'm just a little disappointed that the game is coming out in september. That's when fall quarter at school starts, during a period where I can't afford spend countless hours hooked on a game. I was looking forward to losing my life over this game over the summer, and then come at least partially back in time for school. my grades are going to suffer..." Dude, chill. Bioware hasn't mentioned anything yet about a delay. Till there is no confirmation by Bioware it's still slated for a Spring 2011 release :)

jdc6305
jdc6305

I've never gamed on a pc before but I'm building a rig this spring. This game and Diablo are tops on my list.

AlecHP234
AlecHP234

I'm just a little disappointed that the game is coming out in september. That's when fall quarter at school starts, during a period where I can't afford spend countless hours hooked on a game. I was looking forward to losing my life over this game over the summer, and then come at least partially back in time for school. my grades are going to suffer...

OilySuperWillie
OilySuperWillie

500k should be a pretty easy goal for an mmo of this size at least for a while 17 planets so far and they've only detailed the starter planets so I'm not worrying so much about content to keep us all hooked

jpwagner912
jpwagner912

500k thats alot of people i be impress if bioware gets that many but i hope it will happen

thingta42
thingta42

500k is easly done with a high quality bioware game such as this.

Vespiion
Vespiion

All I ask is that it isn't another Star Wars Galaxies.... That game is a mess.

Gruug
Gruug

No one can predict what an MMO is going to do these days. With that said, SWTOR has one thing (maybe two) going for it....it is Star Wars. That alone may be enough to get it to 500k. The fact that Bioware is doing the game may garner another 200k or beyond just because it is Bioware. Beyond that, the gameplay is going to have to be extremely good. Additional numbers will come if it also has a VERY GOOD launch day....stable with little to no down time and few subscriber signup problems.

MooncalfReviews
MooncalfReviews

@Valen_Ca If it has none of the same characters, and is set thousands of years later, then it aint KOTOR 3+, it's just a game set in the same universe. I don't care what Bioware say, they are whipped by EA anyway.

MooncalfReviews
MooncalfReviews

@Equilibriate Sorry mate, but you're wrong. Normal competitive multiplayer games have thousands of people on the same server too. Might not be in the same game, but still on the same server.

Barighm
Barighm

I think he's being too conservative. I think this game can net 3 million players easily. Every WoW player I've talked to feel like they have "finished" the game, and after they're finished with Cataclysm, plan to move on to Old Republic. Not to mention this MMO has a huge budget, nifty innovations, and easily the next most talented team of RPG developers out there if it weren't for Blizzard. I don't see reason why the final product, even one that's just decent, won't be very successful. It would have to flop awful hard, like FF14 hard, to fail, and that's not gonna happen because Bioware knows exactly what not to do to avoid screwing up. If they forget, they can just reference FF14, heh.

Bramann
Bramann

If Phantom Menace can sell 178 million tickets (not $, but actual tickets), a quality game, from a quality developer can do far more then 500k. This will be a call off sick, ignore the family, lock yourself in the basement and don't come up for 24 hours type launch - can't wait.

DarkBuhamut
DarkBuhamut

@terryjameboy what are you talking about, did you even read my comment properly? I had no qualms with the graphics, of course they cant be top notch in a mmo, i don't expect them to be. I was saying the theme is exactly the same ( armour, lightsaber, laser guns, Yoda etc) as in the films. Even though the back story says that this is 400 hundred (or maybe it was thousand) years before the events of the film. Next time make sure you know what i'm saying before you start insulting