Star Wars: The Old Republic to draw 1 million subscribers - Analyst

Janco Partners' Mike Hickey expects user base of EA's next massively multiplayer online game to hit seven digits within a year of launch.

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Earlier this year, Electronic Arts' CEO said the company could turn a substantial profit on its upcoming Star Wars: The Old Republic massively multiplayer online game with as few as 500,000 subscribers. Today, Janco Partners analyst Mike Hickey said he expects The Old Republic to at least double that figure.

Expect plenty of Jedi in The Old Republic.

In a note to investors, Hickey assumed the game would be able to draw more than 1 million subscribers within 12 months of launch, generating $162 million in its first full year. He still has some questions about the game, though, and how EA might adapt it to changing trends in online gaming. Specifically, he noted that the emerging free-to-play, microtransaction-driven online game model in China has "essentially devastated" publishers' ability to launch subscription-based games there.

"Wide spread gamer adoption of item based MMO play in US [and] Europe could prove disruptive for [Star Wars: The Old Republic] if a time-based approach is in fact their current sales model consideration," Hickey said. "However, a well conceived and orchestrated item-based sales model or a blended approach could be highly competitive to an entrenched competitor, suggesting a model evolution could prove beneficial to the game's ultimate commercial success."

The Old Republic takes place approximately 300 years after the events of BioWare's original Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, but some 3,600 years before the events of LucasArts' 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.

For more on The Old Republic, check out GameSpot's previous coverage.

Discussion

99 comments
stevo367
stevo367

I'll take average graphics and pay 15 per month if the game is actually fun. And please, no F2P crap. I haven't seen one of those yet i'd actually want to keep playing anyway. Also regarding the "holy trinity" comments, (Tank, healer,Dps) i think City of Heroes did the best job i've seen at making that not at all needed since a full group of Defenders/Controllers could completely abuse the high level content with massive buffing/debuffing and no tanks, healzors, or high damage units necessary. I'm not sure why no other MMO seems to have figured out how to get away from that ancient formula yet. At any rate i'm still looking forward to this game.

raydream68
raydream68

@FatalFist, subscribing is more effective because if you have ever played a game like Perfect World, the little add ons EASILY drive up the amount you spend. And if you want your toon to be worth a flip then you will be FORCED to spend that extra money so you can raid and what not. The one time payment model is never going to happen because the lack of pure business sense. Stand alone games have adopted the add on packs model and those things get to the point of 100 bucks easy. Not a good thing at all.

raydream68
raydream68

@dre256x, the reason the Tank, Healer, DPS combos are essential in FRP games is because that has ALWAYS been the basis of FRPG's be it pen and paper or virtual. The all DPS raids that you seek are more likely in a sci fi style game where traditional roles aren't as needed. Don't recall seeing Healers in SW. WoW to be honest was at its best in the beginning, since the addition in the expansions the model has been refined but never innovated upon. ANd alot of people fail to understand one thing, WoW has been THE most successful game in HISTORY because it had mass appeal. ANYONE could play it. No other game EVER has had that level of appeal. Not Guild Wars, Galaxies, EQ none of them. The simple truth is for all the WoW bashing no game will ever be able to replicate its success.

Chaoscomando32
Chaoscomando32

@ dre256x I love being a tank so I never have your problem of finding a raid. :P

FatalFist
FatalFist

I hate subscribing... 1 time payment pls:@ i dont mind a lil micro-transaction like certain"skins" "armor" that can be bought for say 5-10 $ thats just bonus...u buy them if u think EA/Bioware are doing a good job... but its a 60-70$ 1time payment

anthonycg
anthonycg

We don't want this thing!!! We want: Tie Fighter 2, Kotor 3, Battlefront 3 and Republic Commando 2 Can you freakin do that and stop with this random crap???

N0tYrBeezin
N0tYrBeezin

@ dre256x Because everyone else thinks like you do and waiting for OTHER people to be tanks and healers.

Kruiz_Bathory
Kruiz_Bathory

This predictions always end up failing I don't why the guys who do them get paid.

megakick
megakick

meh im looking forward to GW2... why pay for a sci-fi WOW when u can play no sub mmo-rpg that is going to do it differently.

NickDrakePink72
NickDrakePink72

@dre256x I agree. I don't have high expectations for SW TOR and don't expect to like it as much as I liked SWG Pre-cu. It doesn't look like it is redefining the mmo experience much at all aside from being able to talk to the quest giver. It still looks worthy of a purchase as I love Star Wars; however, I am not sure if it will capture my attention like SWG pre-cu did. I really long for a sandbox mmo like SWG of yesteryear.

dre256x
dre256x

@ Wolfie600 It's not about being a great studio or not... If you take a deeper look @ the old republic, they are not really doing nothing innovative for the MMO genre... WoW wasn't innovative @ start but it got better in some parts and worst in others.. But they had Time to do that.. Cool feature i saw in The Old Republic is ''all quest is spoken'' maybe now i'll actually listen to the quest lines, but thats not a big deal... This will play out like another fantasy MMO just with different scenery.. Example; Guild Wars 2 on the other hand is trying to innovate in that its trying to move away from one role being total dependent on another role in situations such as raiding etc... What hampers MMO most of all is the total need to wait on a specific class to complete something... Yes i know its a multiplayer game, but how about making stuff dynamic where what if i would like to complete a raid and no TANK or Healer is on, why should that be an hamper in the game, where i have no chance of completing it without those classes present..

Wolfie600
Wolfie600

Come on people, In the end.. It's a Star wars MMO and Bioware is making it. If you really have no faith on this studio (Let's forget DA2 happened) you should not call yourself a gamer, They are a great studio they know their stuff! and to be honest all the gameplay looks satisfying few MMO's draw my attention besides WoW and this did.

slysin
slysin

Lets just hope they choose a different end game model than wow. I think its the right time to steal wows thunder as alot of players are looking for a different game not more of the same. All rift did was carbon copy wow and thats why it wont keep the subs.

dre256x
dre256x

Well a million is a good amount.. But Ea and bioware should look at what made Guild Wars so successful, not Wow numbers but Guild Wars still manage to have 3mil subscriptions and that's free to play.... Now why can't Bioware copy there style and succeed also... Wow got to so much subscription because it had TIME to get there, as there was no competition coming out for the next 2+ years so they could sit and try to get it right... Now 6+ years later the MMO market has become more crowed and if you don't have a unique idea or a strong community following you will launch but won't not stay afloat long... This game will succeed because of one 2 things, star wars fans/community and good gameplay. I personally will try it but in all honesty MMO need to innovate a bit, i'm tired of the holy grail approach where there is a tank, dps, healer... Why can't there be a system were all DPS (use pots and out of combat to stay alive) or all Healers (using damaging skills) can slay a might foe, when u have to wait on the specific class role, it drags the game to a crawl (i'm looking at you World of Warcraft)..

JMONEYHALOWWE
JMONEYHALOWWE

Bioware sacrificed Dragon Age 2 for this corny a%% MMO so it better be good. Yo bwoy aint messing with the MMO wave because I done witnessed the deadly effects that world of war craft had on some of these dudes i once knew. So i'll just stick to my Gears 3 and let my fellow computer gs devour this graphically challenged star wars MMO. Got nothing but love for Yoda BTW.

rljensen3
rljensen3

I kinda don't like the "free to play" with micro transactions cause by the time they back you into a corner and force you to buy upgrades you spend just as much if not more than you would for a monthly subcription. I'm buying the game and playing so count me as one of the projected million subscribers.

commander1122
commander1122

the game trailer is great....but the gameplay itself look like cartoon clonewars -. -

FoeCrusher
FoeCrusher

Most people here are right attracting 1 million to this game will not be any problem at all. Bioware & Star Wars have huge built followings which guarantee that. Also Chinese gold farmers should be good for at least 100K subscriptions. I for one have attempted to use the force 2,036 times and still nothing. Was it all movie magic? So perhaps, I will accept that and try to use it virtually. However, overcrowded servers, lag, bugs and a lack of compelling content will sink the game. I still remember Warhammer Online's Lag Fests when battling for zones. I will wait and see. Besides I am still having a lot of fun playing ddo and $ spent doesnt give you anything you cant get in game.

shadowcreaper
shadowcreaper

Given the amount of clearly morbidly obese people who were in that video im pretty sure they will easly make the 7 figure mark........ easly enough obese people around in the world who have nothin better to do:) game will be good though but they dont need to be told it star wars and that alone will get +100k easy

Valen_Ca
Valen_Ca

Not bad for what appears to be a single player game with multiplayer elements shoehorned into it.

novak2k6
novak2k6

You don't need analysts and paid PR to figure 1 million sold within a year. Some quick browsing had Age of Conan, SW: Galaxies and Warhammer online shipping/sales in that mark a few weeks after launch. It's PR hype.. I've played a lot of MMO games and it's always been a huge influx of players during initial launch. But with exception to WoW, playerbase dropped substantially after the hype was over or content wasn't fulfilling after a couple months of release.

paul0209
paul0209

lol @ the dude making Wookie noises at 2:41

spector000
spector000

microtransaction-driven online game model kills the subscription-based models BUT it kills the balance of the game to. And if you start asking people to pay, lets say to get a gold colored lightsaber for 5$ your gonna get laughed out of that far, far away galaxy.

Phazor58
Phazor58

If it takes them a year to draw 1 million subscribers, they may have a problem. I believe Aion (the #2 MMO right now) reached that mark in under 2 months in just the North American and Europe regions (reached at least 1 million in under 4 days in Asia...apparently 1 million in China alone). And if they're considering going free-to-play (*looks at Guild Wars 2*), they'll need to implement it correctly. If the microtransactions give players a benefit that's beyond cosmetic, you're not going to be successful in a Western market. And considering Star Wars' primary appeal is to Westerners, they'll be in huge trouble if they do it wrong.

mingolo
mingolo

Ughhh....PLEASE no mircrotrasanctions. Stupid F2P while selling overpowered gear seems to be the trend lately, ughh...

Brettsky128
Brettsky128

Well, there's already one and a half mil signed up for beta so...duhhhhh.

Chainer323
Chainer323

@SDSkarface graphics don't make a game. if graphics are ALL you care about, then you fail and should go play something that has no story line and anything that makes the game fun.

stakex007
stakex007

You know, it was once said that Star Wars Galaxies was going to be the first one million user MMO... and we all know how well that turned out. So they should be very very very careful with such predictions. Thats not to say I actually think ToR is going to go the way of SWG... but I would be nieve if I said it wasn't possible. ToR is building a mountain of hype, a very very big mountain at that. Yet when I talk to people waiting for the game, very few understand exactlly how the game plays. When they get to finally play it, I think a whole lot of people are going to find themselves extreamly dissapointed. Will that alone be enough to sink the game, or at least hurt its player population? Too early to tell.It should also be noted that new MMO's have struggled greatly the last few years. Perhaps its just that the last bunch of MMOs has sucked/been WoW copies, or that the economic downturn has made it harder for people to pay $15 a month for a game. Hell, maybe its just that too many people don't want to quick thier old games. What ever the case, ToR needs to be an amazing game and do a great job of drawing players from other games in order to even tickle 1 mil users. If I'm Bioware, Id be happy with 500k users after a year. Given what I mentioned I think that would be a solid foundation.

RapidFirE53211
RapidFirE53211

I'm not a fan of the art style, but I can't wait for this nonetheless :D. That said, if annoying microtransactions *cough Dragon Age *cough* make it into this game I'll probably cancel my subscription.

deathstream
deathstream

It will sell a million units near launch. Whether it will still have even half that after a year is the question. The article is right. $15 a month might kill the game. No matter how bad WoW gets, people are going to hesitate to walk away from up to 5 or 6 years of character development and friend making. And few will carry two $15 subscriptions.

toddze
toddze

@made_u_look wow is an old old game, I was referring to MMO's post wow. Which wow is probably the sole reason why subscriptions of other newly released mmo's drastically drop after a few months. People expect way to much from a newly released MMO. Mmo'ers pick up a new MMO, burn through the content much faster than devs can make it, then back to where they came from. SWTOR will suffer the same fate.

Lothos_Delion
Lothos_Delion

I agree with other users it will draw 1 million at launch or more. It won't take a year to run up the user numbers.

kinsin
kinsin

Not to rush a release or anything but, I'd like it to come out before 2012 :)

TheMagicFro
TheMagicFro

Forget about the release date, I want a Star Wars MMO done right, not done fast; like Galaxies.

Shardz7
Shardz7

Place your bets ladies and gentlemen! How many DLC do you think this product will spawn? 35? 79? 2,178? Only Yoda knows for sure, but I think he's getting a cut.

XStylz
XStylz

Thanks for the latest news, The only news I want to see is THE RELEASE DATE!!!

sircyrus
sircyrus

1 million within a year? I wouldn't be at all surprised to see it draw 1 million at launch.

Malscyllis
Malscyllis

I believe these statments, if not better. But at this rate Diablo III will be out before TOR's release date is announced >:(

giuse92
giuse92

This is BS!!!! D: Star Wars: The Old Republic is gonna get A LOT MORE than 1 million subscribers in a year :D

made_u_look
made_u_look

@Toddze that's a pretty inaccurate statement as I've been playing WoW for 6 years. But don't get me wrong I've tried other MMO's looking for a replacement or something that does it better than WoW. But most MMO's are cookie cutter and no creativity I know most people don't want to be bogged down with scheduled raiding or feeling obligated to show up on certain schedules atleast I don't anymore. So hopefully TOR has more of a RPG element to it.

GodGundamNT1
GodGundamNT1

looks like they are going to hype the living crap out of this game to the star wars nerds. Personally although I am a star wars fan I know what crap is and I am not buying or even playing this game, as an MMO its even less interesting. LucasArts should have done a third person shooter or first person shooter by now for the consoles set in the star wars universe where you can be a clone trooper, imperial or rebel or other faction, no more Jedis please, they are never handled seriously in videogames and instead abuse the movie canon like the Farce Unleashed games where a mass murdering dark side trained idiot can feel like a nut or a nougat whenever he feels like it, insulting the star wars fan and insulting the gamer.

shnull
shnull

to me mmos are dead. After a few weeks the novelty of the environment wears off and you're back to the same rinse & repeat style of play, no matter how many gimmicks they install, its all grind mobs / quests, fix macro's hit hotkeys. Unless you're playing with a bunch of friends like a guild thats moved completely it quickly turns to bore, i guess thats why a lot of people dont stick around very long. Star Wars does however have an enormous fanbase so they will probably have a decent group of users to keep the game going. How leet they act towards noobs ... thats what we'll have to see

toddze
toddze

6 months after launch ill be shocked if 50,000 people are still subbed up to this game. MMO'ers these days have A.D.D. They dont stick with mmo's like they use too. A few months after launch their looking for the Next big mmo release.

wis3boi
wis3boi

The TOR forums have over 1million active accounts, im sure this game will have plenty of players to sustain itself happily

ZoTrAcK
ZoTrAcK

Enjoy your EA garbageware!

legolas506
legolas506

Like @KC_Hokie said. 500,000 subscribers within 6 months of launch.

Dr_Jackal
Dr_Jackal

It warms my heart to see so many SW fans/nerds bustling about.