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Reader Comments (78)

Posted: Nov 7th 2010 1:11PM (Unverified) said

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Am I missing something here? Lets say that TOR gets a million subscribers, which isn't outside the realm of possibility with a strong IP like Star Wars and a developer like Bioware. At 15 dollars a month, the revenue generated by this game would be 180 million. (1 million subscribers x $15/month x 12 months/year) Not to mention the profit made on the sale of the game itself. My back of the envelope multiplication is probably incorrect or grossly exaggerated, but I don't think that the number crunchers at Bioware would have made a game that has no chance of making a profit.

Posted: Nov 7th 2010 1:19PM Decanus said

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yhea the bean counters at ea wouldnt let it muck up that badly when it comes to profits
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Posted: Nov 7th 2010 1:33PM Pingles said

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The first month is free. How many subscribers stay on after the first month. I know that three of the last subscription games I bought I only stayed a few months.

Even if the game is great will it be enough to keep subscribers? It's gonna have to be different enough to stand out yet not be so different as to scare the WoW crowd off.

Tough call.
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Posted: Nov 7th 2010 2:13PM (Unverified) said

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Is Bioware not allowed to make any money on box sales?
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Posted: Nov 7th 2010 2:23PM paterah said

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You are forgetting that the company has to make the money back within 3 months otherwise it is considered financial failure.
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Posted: Nov 7th 2010 3:00PM Monkey D Luffy said

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@Pingles.

It's already a WoW clone full of bad ideas and seems like it will be a lot like Phantasy Star Universe.

I'm a big fan of Star Wars and KotOR but this game has nothing going for it except the IP, and the IP alone wont keep people paying.
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Posted: Nov 7th 2010 3:39PM (Unverified) said

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There's a few things you're leaving out: the price of the boxed game. You're assuming 1 million people subscribe for a year. Many might cancel after that first month or 3 months. The $100 million figure might be the development costs but how much will EA spend on marketing? If it's anything like Hollywood it wouldn't be unusual for them to spend -- who knows? -- $20 to $30 million perhaps on advertising the hell out of it. Then there's the expenses of running the servers from month to the month, the employees need to be paid, the electric bills need to be paid. So, all in all, maybe they'll break even. If it turns out like so many MMOs in that it just doesn't live up to the hype and loses 90% of its subscribers after 3 months it could really be struggling. But it's Bioware and Star Wars so you it's totally gonna rule!!! I mean, when has hype ever steered us wrong, fellas?
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Posted: Nov 7th 2010 9:05PM UnSub said

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Just to throw in: please don't confuse revenue with profit. In rough terms, the dev studio only makes about 10% profit off box sales (so: $5 or so for a $50 game) and about 20% - 40% off subscription revenue (new titles get lower sub profits since operating costs are still very high, so something like $3 in every sub counts as profit). And LucasArts will want a royalty cut of everything.

Even in EA's own statements, for SWOR to be profitable it has to launch as at least the second most successful Western MMO and then stay there - they need their 1m+ players just to break even.

None of this is about BioWare's motivation, their talent or how good SWOR actually is at launch. It's about how much money they can actually make out of NA / EU PC players versus how much EA is investing in the title. In my mind EA would have made more money by releasing KOTOR 3, 4, 5 etc, but they want a MMO as big as WoW, so here were are.
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Posted: Nov 8th 2010 8:52PM eyeball2452 said

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It's basically a silly comment that only indicates how bad the management/PR is at Bigspot, not that there are any problems with SWTOR or MMO subscription models.

The recent issues have been basic business mistakes. Companies have invested large amount of CapEx in very risky projects. I wouldn't consider the Conan, Champions or even Star Trek brands that strong and the second two games were basically developed by a startup company that left all the actual game design talent at Paragon studios. It's like when people through venture capital at every internet startup they could find in 1999.

When you get back to the fundamentals, you impose stricter guidelines, demand more milestones and temper forecasts against reality and worst case scenarios rather than trying to shoot the moon. Currently, we see a number of profitable MMOs that aren't WoW, such as CoH and EVE. Build the product, business and financing correctly and subscription models work just fine.

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Posted: Nov 13th 2010 10:29AM Temploiter said

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Somebody commented that the bean-counters at EA would not let them lose money on this. EA, like any business, takes risks with its money. They have a good idea that this will make money, or they would not deem the risk worth it. However, I'm sure EA said the same thing about Warhammer (WAR), and look where that is.
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Posted: Nov 7th 2010 1:12PM Matix said

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The facts in the article tell the whole story. Hubertz doesn't know SWTOR's pricing plan or full range on income generation any more than he can 100% say what the future will bring.

As such, Hubertz is speaking from either--at best--a presumptive guess based on his knowledge of the industry, or--at worst--sheer ignorance.

Since we're speaking out of--well, the air, let's say, let me make a prediction about Hubertz's MMO offering: Euro-game + relatively unknown IP + IP whose most recent incarnation was more about soap opera stories than traditional MMO gameplay = not a WOW killer.

Posted: Nov 7th 2010 5:32PM Fakeassname said

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most mmo players who do not play WoW either #1 don't pay sub fees (I.E. players who like Runs of magic / Guild Wars / Planet Calypso) or #2 don't like TOR's format (I.E. players who like EVE / Fallen earth / Darkfall). the only way this game is going to pull in a million subs is if it pulls them away from WoW, with cataclysm about to launch I don't think that is going to happen.

this guy's probably not too far off base, sure he's pulling a marketing stunt for publicity, but being a one pound fish in an over loaded pool I'm sure he knows what he is up against. it's not hard to figure out the odds of adding in anther thousand pound shark when you've already done the math for your own odds.

1-3 HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS is a shit pot of money to pump into a game, paying that back while also funding continued development and supporting the game is not going to be easy. add in that it most of that money isn't looking like it's going towards increasing the quality and quantity of the content of the game ... TOR looks like a 5-7 year (development time) game that is being produced in 3 years. all that money sure seems like it is being spent on making the game faster instead of better.
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Posted: Nov 7th 2010 1:18PM Cirocco said

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Deja vu...I remember someone predicting that Blizzard's fledgling MMO World of Warcraft would be hard-pressed to make a tidy profit with its initial hefty investment anytime soon, and yet look at where Blizzard's juggernaut MMO stands now. I also recall that many naysayers saying Blizzard's lack of MMO experience would be a drawback. Well apparently not.

In this climate, no one can be quite sure how successful Bioware's Star Wars opus will be. But Bioware has a strong track record and devoted fans, much like Blizzard. I can't say the same with Bigpoint and its flagship Battlestar Galatica Online.

Bioware can roll the dice and see what success awaits its MMO. Good luck!

Posted: Nov 7th 2010 1:19PM dudes said

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If Star Wars Galaxies isn't raking it in, aren't Bioware worried that something similar might happen to their MMO?

Posted: Nov 7th 2010 1:34PM (Unverified) said

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I think they're starting from the assumption that ToR won't suck.
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Posted: Nov 7th 2010 1:46PM herculesmrb said

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That's because SWG went and changed 90% of the game after reigning in many devoted fans. Those changes are what people believe really killed it (NGE).

Since SWG showed the world what not to do to your game after a few years, a decent (IMO) analogy would be if World of Warcraft suddenly said "hey, we are going to cut the math for balancing hybrid classes by just cutting them out all together... these *new game enhancements* will allow people to focus on 'pure' gameplay without the headache of balancing all the different possibilities that these classes present in PvE and PvP". - I'm sure if Blizzard diluted its game in such a way, it would have a similar result that you see with SWG now.

matix says it best... this guy is making a claim based off of little to no real information.

I am no raving BioWare fanboi, but looking at the current and recent past MMO market, BioWare will certainly be able to retain a decent subscriber base just through the IP alone. And people might be forgetting, $100M pricetag is big sure, but it's not like they have to make it back on launch day with box sales.
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Posted: Nov 7th 2010 5:49PM Fakeassname said

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SWG was changed to the NGE because all it had playing it was the die hard fans, and that wasn't enough when SE/Lucas Arts wanted number that reflected movie attendance.

TOR is looking more and more like a game built to the NGE specifications from day one, instead of converted into them post launch.

*blink*blink* WTF!?!?!?!

that -is- what's happening ... how come no one brought this up before?

TOR IS NOTHING BUT THE NGE REPACKAGED! action over simulation, theme park over sandbox, and narration over player interaction.

NONE OF YOU STAR WARS FAN BOYZ LIKE THE NGE, WHAT MAKES IT YOUR HOLY GRAIL NOW THAT IT'S BEING REPACKAGED AS TOR?
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Posted: Nov 7th 2010 7:44PM Ergonomic Cat said

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I'm a huge SWG fanboi.

I'm also willing to say that the NGE isn't a bad game. It just isn't SWG. If it had been released as a stand alone game, I'd have been happy to have it. And I've subbed to it for a fair number of months post NGE already.

The problem is that we went from SWG to NGE - a complete change of style with no warning and no input.
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Posted: Nov 7th 2010 8:16PM Fakeassname said

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fair enough, but I still think this needs to be addressed.
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Posted: Nov 7th 2010 1:24PM (Unverified) said

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icwutudidthar!

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