The Old Republic Flopping Bigtime

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Megotaku77

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#51 Megotaku77
Member since 2010 • 418 Posts

 

http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2012/06/16/ea-weighs-in-on-star-wars-the-old-republic-going-free-to-play/

 

Really wish they would just get back to making good games like KOTOR 3 and Battlefront 3. 

brad12d3

Most of that is a reprint of a quote on a Joystiq article that was pulled.  That's why the first link in the Forbes article goes nowhere on Joystiq.  The second link from the Forbes article only mentioned free-trial and free-access periods (like every MMO including WoW has through things like recruit-a-friend and play free to level 15, two "F2P" models that were recently implemented in SWTOR), and explicitly states that they aren't leaving the subscription model.  

"I don't think subscriptions ever go away, but when you have an IP as broad as Star Wars, we're definitely going to look at opportunities to grow that business and look at different ways of bringing customers in and serving them." - Frank Gibeau

So I ask again, where is you source?  Forbes says Joystiq says Lusinchi says is the epitome of he said, she said.  This is especially damning in light of the fact that the original article was retracted by the publisher.  I haven't heard a peep about F2P.  Free-trials, free-months for recruiting a friend, and free month promotions are common in every MMO and don't qualify as "F2P" as you still require a subscription to play long-term.  SWTOR is no different, and its not going F2P, not in the forseeable future at least.

Here's the real question: people have been pushing that article that no longer exists for a month and a half now to prove that SWTOR is going F2P.  Why haven't we heard anything since then?  Not a peep.  No PTS developments, no press releases, nothing.  When games go F2P they usually announce it five or six months in advance.  Example.  If its going F2P we should have confirmations.  Instead we have the same anti-SWTOR people citing an old article that doesn't exist anymore.

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brad12d3

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#52 brad12d3
Member since 2004 • 1040 Posts

Most of that is a reprint of a quote on a Joystiq article that was pulled.  That's why the first link in the Forbes article goes nowhere on Joystiq.  The second link from the Forbes article only mentioned free-trial and free-access periods (like every MMO including WoW has through things like recruit-a-friend and play free to level 15, two "F2P" models that were recently implemented in SWTOR), and explicitly states that they aren't leaving the subscription model.  

"I don't think subscriptions ever go away, but when you have an IP as broad as Star Wars, we're definitely going to look at opportunities to grow that business and look at different ways of bringing customers in and serving them." - Frank Gibeau

So I ask again, where is you source?  Forbes says Joystiq says Lusinchi says is the epitome of he said, she said.  This is especially damning in light of the fact that the original article was retracted by the publisher.  I haven't heard a peep about F2P.  Free-trials, free-months for recruiting a friend, and free month promotions are common in every MMO and don't qualify as "F2P" as you still require a subscription to play long-term.  SWTOR is no different, and its not going F2P, not in the forseeable future at least.

Here's the real question: people have been pushing that article that no longer exists for a month and a half now to prove that SWTOR is going F2P.  Why haven't we heard anything since then?  Not a peep.  No PTS developments, no press releases, nothing.  When games go F2P they usually announce it five or six months in advance.  Example.  If its going F2P we should have confirmations.  Instead we have the same anti-SWTOR people citing an old article that doesn't exist anymore.

Megotaku77

Well EA isn't doing so hot right now. Their stock has been plummeting for the past 6 months and if things don't get better for them then they are going to have to do something desperate like Free 2 play. For many people it seems like it will be the next logical step for them. This is an interesting read: http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2012-06-21-stock-ticker-why-eas-market-valuation-has-crashed/

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Megotaku77

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#53 Megotaku77
Member since 2010 • 418 Posts

Well EA isn't doing so hot right now. Their stock has been plummeting for the past 6 months and if things don't get better for them then they are going to have to do something desperate like Free 2 play. For many people it seems like it will be the next logical step for them. This is an interesting read:http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2012-06-21-stock-ticker-why-eas-market-valuation-has-crashed/

brad12d3

I can't possibly take that link seriously. Here are just a few of the many, many issues I found in that article:

"...the tantalising possibility of building an ongoing MMO revenue stream for EA which would match the one enjoyed by rival Activision Blizzard from World of Warcraft." - Rob Fahey

Any investor who expected SWTOR to make 10 million subs in its first year was beyond delusional. EA's internal metrics were expecting less than 20% that number. Investor's aren't that stupid.

"...since the middle of last holiday season (around November 2011) the company's stock has been in a steady decline..." - Rob Fahely. To then go on and say: "EA's stock price went into decline after The Old Republic's launch, and hasn't recovered yet - and that timing is unlikely to be a coincidence." - Rob Fahley.

Excuse me? SWTOR launched Dec. 23rd, yet earlier in the same article he claimed it was in decline since November. So which is it? The guy can't keep his dates straight. Battlefield 3 was released in late October with the largest marketing budget in history, yet he doesn't say a peep about why EA's stock prices didn't reflect this game's performance despite it taking a slice of MW3's market shareand it being EA's fastest selling game. Yet EA's stock prices still decline leading up into SWTOR's launch. No mention of the Consummerist's "Worst Company in America" vote either. No mention of the departure of the company's CFO either. Where's Mass Effect 3's launch in this article? Where did this guy get his degree in business? Honduras?

The problem with internet pseudo-stock analysts is they very rarely know what they're talking about. EA is the largest gaming company in the world. BioWare isn't a studio, its a label. The studio responsible for SWTOR is BioWare Austin. Here is a list of studios under the employ of EA:

  • EA Interactive. Includes EA'sPogo.comonline service,PlayfishandEA Mobile.
  • Criterion Games
  • Danger Close Games(formerly EA Los Angeles)
  • EA Black Box(formerly Black Box Games)
  • EA Digital Illusions CE(formerly Digital Illusions Creative Entertainment, DICE)
  • EA Montreal
  • EA Partners
  • Phenomic
  • Visceral Games(formerly EA Redwood Shores)
  • EA Tiburon(Florida)
  • EA Canada(Burnaby)
  • EA-NC (North Carolina)
  • Maxis Emeryville
  • The Sims Studio
  • EA Salt Lake
  • EA Hasbro
  • MySims
  • BioWareEdmonton
  • BioWareAustin
  • BioWareMontreal
  • BioWareMythic (formerlyMythic Entertainment)
  • BioWare Victory(formerly Victory Games)

This isn't even an exhaustive list as I've left out several of the lesser important developers like EA Singapore, EA Casual, or Popcap games. What that article does is says out of the exhaustive list of studios is that BioWare Austin is single handedly responsible for the decline of EA while not even getting the dates right. Its an absolute joke and demonstrates a stunning lack of integrity, research ethic, or credibility on the behalf of the author.

***EDIT***

A friend of mine was nice enough to forward me this linkfrom the Q4 2012 Earnings Conference Call. Bear in mind lying at an Earnings Conference Call is a felony.

"[SWTOR] is stable, profitable and we have strong plans to grow at fiscal 2013." Why wasn't this mentioned in that article?

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brad12d3

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#54 brad12d3
Member since 2004 • 1040 Posts

TOR free to play up to level 15 now and more talk about it going full on Free to Play: 

http://www.pcgamer.com/2012/07/11/star-wars-the-old-republic-now-free-to-play-up-to-level-15/

 

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Megotaku77

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#55 Megotaku77
Member since 2010 • 418 Posts

TOR free to play up to level 15 now and more talk about it going full on Free to Play:

http://www.pcgamer.com/2012/07/11/star-wars-the-old-republic-now-free-to-play-up-to-level-15/

brad12d3

Interesting article. Following the links though it seems like no one is saying anything. WoW also has a free-to-play to level 20, so this doesn't necessarily indicate anything other than an interest in expanding their subscriber base by offering the least complex, developed and detailed part of their game in the hopes of hooking a subscriber. I see a lot of hemming and hawing, but nothing substantive especially this line:

"Late last week, SWTORs lead designer indicated that free-to-play may be in TORs future, but it sounds like either Bioware or EA may not be fully on board with that plan yet. The interview on GamesTM was pulled down and EA downplayed the lead designers comment."

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Mighty-Lu-Bu

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#56 Mighty-Lu-Bu
Member since 2007 • 2974 Posts

     Well I hate to say I told you so. SW:TOR just lost 400,000 users. It seems that EA may be on the road to failure because of it. it's pretty clear that the industries move towards MMO games is a recipie for disaster. Everyone wants to be the next WOW but it doesn't seem that's possible. WOW has found a niche, the people who actually want to have a steady stream of new content online. So it's silly to try and duplicate it with an action game like SW:TOR. I played SW:KOTOR 1 and 2, they were excellent games. They had something that MMORPGs don't, an ending. People want to play a game and have it come to a conclusion, they want to feel they've accomplished something. Then they want the next game in the series to be the same, they want to play it through and then maybe go online and play against others. Those games benefitted from allowing any user to host their own server and make mods, create their own custom games. I remember when this happened with Quake and the first Team Fortress mod. Then it happened with Half-Life, a great single player campaign and then some great online play. You could run your own server too.

    These days it's all about the game company hosting their own servers and not allowing end users to do the same. I hope this fad of MMO really hurts the companies like EA so they will focus more on creating new games in a series. They could create games and further the story rather than trying to be the next WOW. I hope when they finally pull the plug on this boondoggle that is called Star Wars: The Old Republic, they realize that there is a big market for single-player and produce Knights of the Old Republic 3. I'm just hoping that when Mechwarrior Online comes out, it's a huge flop. However I don't hope they abandon the Mechwarrior series altogether, they put out a great single player game.

Kylearan

Shadow-Phax

I will admit that there are prevalant problems in the game and the game itself isn't not perfect. However, They experienced one of the biggest launches in MMO history, still have players in the millions (even after the population dip) and they finally consolidated servers.  Might I remind you that no MMO in its first 6 month period has just simple crashed and burned and you really have to give it a year to see what really happens. I remember when Star Wars Galaxies hit 400K population and it was still a very healthy population so I am not really worried. As long as they keep releasing content, patches and expansions this game is going to be around for awhile, but the only thing I am worried about is the rate at which they are delivering content seems to be a little on the slow side.

 

Exactly tell me how it was a flop? They already covered costs and have profited a hefty sum.

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brad12d3

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#57 brad12d3
Member since 2004 • 1040 Posts

[QUOTE="brad12d3"]

TOR free to play up to level 15 now and more talk about it going full on Free to Play:

http://www.pcgamer.com/2012/07/11/star-wars-the-old-republic-now-free-to-play-up-to-level-15/

 

Megotaku77

Interesting article. Following the links though it seems like no one is saying anything. WoW also has a free-to-play to level 20, so this doesn't necessarily indicate anything other than an interest in expanding their subscriber base by offering the least complex, developed and detailed part of their game in the hopes of hooking a subscriber. I see a lot of hemming and hawing, but nothing substantive especially this line:

"Late last week, SWTORs lead designer indicated that free-to-play may be in TORs future, but it sounds like either Bioware or EA may not be fully on board with that plan yet. The interview on GamesTM was pulled down and EA downplayed the lead designers comment."

 

You are right, WOW is free to play up to level 20 but they didn't implement that until after the game had been out for 7 years. Only after the better part of a decade did they decide to dabble in the free to play model because eventually, after 7 years your subscriber base may begin to wane a bit. However, TOR has only been out for 7 months and they are already having to look at using the Free to Play model in order to improve their numbers. That doesn't bode well. 

I am not saying that TOR is going to bust or is neccessarily a bad game. However, right now it isn't doing as well as many had hoped. We'll just have to see where things go from here.

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Megotaku77

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#58 Megotaku77
Member since 2010 • 418 Posts

You are right, WOW is free to play up to level 20 but they didn't implement that until after the game had been out for 7 years. Only after the better part of a decade did they decide to dabble in the free to play model because eventually, after 7 years your subscriber base may begin to wane a bit. However, TOR has only been out for 7 months and they are already having to look at using the Free to Play model in order to improve their numbers. That doesn't bode well.

I am not saying that TOR is going to bust or is neccessarily a bad game. However, right now it isn't doing as well as many had hoped. We'll just have to see where things go from here.

brad12d3

Why doesn't it bode well? The links you posted state that F2P increased revenue streams by 400-600% from their subscription models. Any game developer with half a brain would be looking to see if this could apply to their game regardless of its size.

Every MMO in the market offers F2P trial of some kind, why does it matter how long WoW went without it? Compare the market from 2004 when WoW first came out to the market in 2012: link 1link 2. This would be like assuming a car company is just desperate because they include an automatic transmission after 1940 because oldmobile didn't do it until they were 42 years old. It doesn't really matter how old the company is, its an expected feature that all cars provide because its a quality feature that increases sales regardless of how, who, or when its implemented.

The reason MMOs don't launch with this feature is so they can snag the revenue from WoW burnouts looking for holy jesus messiah walk on water MMO that doesn't exist, will never exist, and can never meet their expectations but won't stop them from shelling out full-price for every MMO release ever regardless of quality or rating, and believe me, check my charts. That's a big portion of the MMO community and they're the ones responsible for the population crashes in every MMO after WoW. Once the burnouts start flooding the forums about how incredible their new future disappointment is going to be, games flip to F2P trials to snag long term subscribers.

You are correct on one thing: SWTOR is performing beneath projected estimations. Time will tell though, I've been getting reports that since the Quality of Life 1.3 patch released the Dungeon Finder along with balance fixes to dungeons and PvE content has done a complete 180 (it has for me certainly) and SWTOR is starting to build subs again. The game is still lacking a wide-release in Asia as well which is about 60% of the MMO market. The label has unbelievable room to grow and I'll be shocked if it doesn't beat Aion in subs when they get wide-release in Asia.

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deactivated-57bcc1891a93a

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#59 deactivated-57bcc1891a93a
Member since 2010 • 1284 Posts
MMO's had a dedicated player base before any of those games you mentioned were even made yet. what are you saying the genre is just invalid and should have been single player games from the start? Fans were just "settling" for it in between waits for awesome single player games? never once have I heard an MMO player say "I wish this had an ending." Some of the more popular older MMO's barely even had an ongoing story, just whatever fluff they could wrap around obtaining a new suit of armor. Plenty of them didn't even care about PVP either which tends to be looked at as "end game" now. They wanted to log in to a world, raise their stats, and kill a giant with a bunch of other people, even if the gameplay looked like the most boring tedious gameplay ever. Today we could do without alot of MMO or even get rid of most of them but there is still people who want to play a good one and would spend ridiculous amounts of time in them. i don't even know why you're comparing FPS games to MMO's
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edward_finan

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#60 edward_finan
Member since 2003 • 433 Posts

EA Killed BioWare, EA's model is not compatible with the BioWare Model (or at least their original model), as for you fan boys who can't accept it, get a life. Ten years from now BioWare will be remembered as another great developer who reached the mountain top only to come crashing down, because their egos have reached the point where they believe the fans will keep drinking the kool aid and not realize that it is getting more water down with each glass.

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edward_finan

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#61 edward_finan
Member since 2003 • 433 Posts

Their one chance for survival is to break away from EA, anyway possible.

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Megotaku77

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#62 Megotaku77
Member since 2010 • 418 Posts

EA Killed BioWare, EA's model is not compatible with the BioWare Model (or at least their original model), as for you fan boys who can't accept it, get a life. Ten years from now BioWare will be remembered as another great developer who reached the mountain top only to come crashing down, because their egos have reached the point where they believe the fans will keep drinking the kool aid and not realize that it is getting more water down with each glass.

edward_finan

So what development studio is consistently knocking games out of the park from your perspective?  You criticize BioWare but Mass Effect 3 especially with the revised ending is now one of my favorite games of all time.  What company should I be looking to for an example of "how it should be done"?  Please say Valve, I need a good laugh.  I'd love to wait another 4 years for a game with less than 3 hours of gameplay (Portal 2).  

 

By the way, BioWare is EA.  Mass Effect 2 and Dragon Age: Origins were developed after the EA merger.  If people are still riding their high from KOTOR or Mass Effect 1 they need to go back and play those games again.  They are NOT Shadows of the Colossus or Kingdom Hearts.  They've aged like rotting fruit on the vine their absolute only saving grace is their story.

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nerazzurri4ever

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#63 nerazzurri4ever
Member since 2005 • 29 Posts

bring on kotor 3

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vishisluv7

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#64 vishisluv7
Member since 2004 • 480 Posts

Megotaku must be so sick of the taste of crow and humble pie!

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doomslaer

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#65 doomslaer
Member since 2004 • 28 Posts

What I think they need to do is create a vast, open-world game that is like TOR but more in the vein (in terms of game scope and mechanics) of Skyrim, with old-fashioned multiplayer options wherein you can bring someone in to play with you, perhaps even a team.

Presently, I enjoy TOR and wish I could do some of the things I could do in Galaxies.

However, I understand and agree with what your'e saying here. Furthermore I'm wary of an Elder Scrolls MMO if it's going to be (again, in terms of game mechanics) like any other MMO and not controlled/played the way ES games have been so far. I'm coming to the end of my tolerance for the control schemes of MMO's. I also don't want to see ES devolve into static quest-givers and carbon-copy missions.

They need to step back and realize that the MMO thing is a dead end, until gaming machines are vastly more sophisticated. Personally, I think MMO's are essentially a bad idea until we have something on the order of 3-D helmets or even, shall I say it, holosuites.

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Megotaku77

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#66 Megotaku77
Member since 2010 • 418 Posts

What I think they need to do is create a vast, open-world game that is like TOR but more in the vein (in terms of game scope and mechanics) of Skyrim, with old-fashioned multiplayer options wherein you can bring someone in to play with you, perhaps even a team.

Presently, I enjoy TOR and wish I could do some of the things I could do in Galaxies.

However, I understand and agree with what your'e saying here. Furthermore I'm wary of an Elder Scrolls MMO if it's going to be (again, in terms of game mechanics) like any other MMO and not controlled/played the way ES games have been so far. I'm coming to the end of my tolerance for the control schemes of MMO's. I also don't want to see ES devolve into static quest-givers and carbon-copy missions.

They need to step back and realize that the MMO thing is a dead end, until gaming machines are vastly more sophisticated. Personally, I think MMO's are essentially a bad idea until we have something on the order of 3-D helmets or even, shall I say it, holosuites.

doomslaer

MMOs are actually one of the most profitable segments of the market. Even TOR has already returned a sizeable profit. The reason for the F2P announcement is because of how lucrative F2P MMOs have become. DCUO reported revenue increases of 600% after going F2P. LotrO reported 400% increases in profit. D&D online went from a commercial disaster to underground success after going F2P. Studies show that players in a microtransaction system are on average worth more than a subscriber. The only reason WoW doesn't go F2P is because they have managed the impossible: microtransactions AND a subscription.

Just a hard slice of reality: according to Activision's investor's call WoW costs then $20m a year. That includes advertising, development, infrastructure, employee salaries, the works. In just subscription revenue they pull in $1.5B. That's 75x their investment. That's not counting their microtransactions like their $30 faction changes and $25 server transfers or their $25 vanity mounts and $15 vanity pets. Even Rift has about 200,000 subs. If it cost them as much as it costs WoW (a game 40 times larger, meaning their input costs are a fraction of WoW's) they are still returning 1.8x their investment. Wall Street doesn't return that kind of cash. The bottom line is MMO's aren't dead, far from it. Until MMO's stop being a pit players throw money in, we'll see every studio trying to develop one.

And Vish, I'm looking forward to the day I open the paper and hear about a pathetic introvert who never did anything with their life except troll people on the internet was found dead in their closet with a belt around their neck, and I'll know: it was you and the world is a better place for it and your crap parents have paid for the terrible parenting. You're pathetic, and there is no excuse, no rationalization or justification for why you have harassed me nonstop for 8 months.

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Murazor

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#67 Murazor
Member since 2003 • 117 Posts

Megotaku77, coming from someone who actually likes this game, you take fanboy to the next level. Move to F2P because of how lucrative it is, not because of a lack of subscribers? You're nutty.

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Megotaku77

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#68 Megotaku77
Member since 2010 • 418 Posts

Megotaku77, coming from someone who actually likes this game, you take fanboy to the next level. Move to F2P because of how lucrative it is, not because of a lack of subscribers? You're nutty.

Murazor

Its both. Example, example, example. Seriously I don't even know why I bother posting sourced material anymore. You condescending pricks are too far up your own asses to even consider you might be wrong about something. Did the thought ever occur to you to check and see if what I was saying was true? No, of course not. Because you know better because your ass told you.

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The_Last_Ride

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#69 The_Last_Ride
Member since 2004 • 76371 Posts
with both of the founders leaving that isn't exactly inspiring confidence, even though i like the game
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#70 Iromaru
Member since 2007 • 40 Posts

Even TOR has already returned a sizeable profit. The reason for the F2P announcement is because of how lucrative F2P MMOs have become. DCUO reported revenue increases of 600% after going F2P. LotrO reported 400% increases in profit. D&D online went from a commercial disaster to underground success after going F2P.

Megotaku77

 

With the production costs of 200-300 million $? No it did not. They are lucky if they covered the production costs.

 

p2p model is still more profitable if game is actually good. Look at NCsoft. GW2 with it's b2p model and international release makes 27% of their profits (and that number is going to drop once everybody who wanted to buy it buys it). Meanwhile Blade & Soul with it's p2p model makes 20% of their profits. From Korea alone.

 

People screaming that p2p MMO's are dead have no idea what they are talking about. TOR failed because it's a bad MMO. Not because the genre is dying.