| Mail |
You might also like: WoW Insider, Joystiq, and more

Reader Comments (59)

Posted: Jan 24th 2011 6:29PM Canucklehead said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
Reality check. Investors don't care about SWTOR one bit. When I say investors, I'm talking those that influence the stock price, not fans who want to own 100 shares.

Let me explain. A run away, 10 Million subscriber success would impact EA significantly, but no one is expecting that to happen. If they are, then they are idiots.

SWTOR is not mentioned in EA annual reports or quarterly updates (yup I just checked). EA hovers between $4.2 and $3.6 Billion in sales per year. Even at $200 Million or more in costs, the fate of the company does not rely on the success for failure of SWTOR. A modest initial launch with a modest subscriber base will recoup much if not all of those costs. The earnings will barely be touched by this. Investors (the ones with money) care about earnings per share, cash flow, and debt management. SWTOR may be a giant failure or success, but wil have little to do with EA's share price because of the huge product mix already in the revenue stream.

The only clarity for investors is to let them know that they can't count on 12,000,000 x $15 x 12 months (aka WoW's $2.16 Billion/yr). Let this puppy launch and check back in a year.

So my point is, get real about 'investors' freaking out about WAR and what it means to SWTOR.

Posted: Jan 25th 2011 12:24AM UnSub said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
@Canucklehead It means something to investors if EA launches their biggest, most expensive project ever and it craters.

Besides, it isn't sales that need to be considered, it is profitability. EA lost $677m on $3.65b revenue in their last full accounting year (http://www.next-gen.biz/news/ea-trims-full-year-losses). Their share price takes a battering when they announce such losses.

Even well informed investors look at MMOs as high risk developments and EA making it the centre piece of their development strategy could certainly raise questions about what their back-up plan is if SWOR doesn't see profitability.

On BioWare stat I find interesting is that only 50% of players who started ME2 actually finished it. And I believe that is a good completion rate. I'm not entirely convinced that building a MMO on the idea of story is a good one if only 50% of players finish a game they can play for free anytime after purchase... but then maybe the sub fee will provide an incentive to get to max level in SWOR.
Reply

Posted: Jan 24th 2011 6:50PM SiML said

  • 3 hearts
  • Report
I find their lack of faith disturbing.

Posted: Jan 24th 2011 7:31PM Rindon said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
My only problem with this game is that I have a sneaking suspicion that it is going to be an almost exact carbon copy of WoW in a shiny new setting with a few improvements (space ship housing). From the graphics I have seen it almost even looks similar to WoW, just not a "blocky".

Here's to hoping though

Posted: Jan 25th 2011 12:55AM placebonation said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
@Rindon if i could flip a switch and turn all the themes in Warcraft into Star Wars or Star Trek themes I would play the shit out of that. Even more than I would Minecraft. Because...Warcraft is boring as shit.
Reply

Posted: Jan 24th 2011 11:13PM Jack Pipsam said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
DW they have Dark Age of Camelot... oh that's right EA fucked that up too!

Posted: Jan 25th 2011 12:54AM placebonation said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
@Vestas perfect response.

Posted: Jan 25th 2011 2:40AM (Unverified) said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
I became wary of SWTOR when I saw a gameplay video that showed a class that can duck and cover and the game itself showed exactly where you (by a green ghost image) could do it.
I guess it's too hard to figure out that that big ass rock in front of you is a good place to hide behind.

Posted: Jan 31st 2011 4:16PM engrey said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
@(Unverified)

Getting out of LoS is different then the cover mechanic. The green figures are used only for those with the cover mechanic (Smugglers and Imperial Agents). The abilities you get change while in cover, and you also receive a deffest bonus. When it comes to the more powerful attacks you need to be out of cover to perform those, however that makes you vulnerable for attack, that is the trade off.
Reply

Posted: Jan 25th 2011 7:12AM Deadalon said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
EA has a terrible MMO track record. They destroyed WAR future in few weeks and are leaving that game to rot. APB is ofc over already.

From what I have seen of SWTOR - it is going to be a total flop as a long term character progression game. It will lack content and it will be very expensive to add new one based on voiceover work. I will not buy that title at start - just like I havn't bought any new MMO titles since WAR and AOC - simply because we all know they are mostly PR with no solid work behind them to work for long term enjoyment.

Posted: Jan 25th 2011 9:36AM ChongShin said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
I thought for a very brief moment that even investors could get a clue. Then I read the list of MMOs that they're citing as examples and quickly realized how wrong I was.

Look, I'm not interested in SW:TOR. I think that it looks like a single player game with a monthly subscription with poor graphics, terrible animations, and token me-too MMO style game play tossed in as justification. With voice acting. Yay.

Bioware can stuff the idea.

..but honestly, WAR? Really? *facepalm* REALLY?

... *falls over* ...

Posted: Jan 25th 2011 12:49PM (Unverified) said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
Remember when all the good Commodore 64 games were by Electronic Arts?

Those were the days.

Posted: Jan 25th 2011 1:36PM Valdamar said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
@Vestas
Yeah I think the only big publisher with an MMO track record worse than EAs is Microsoft.

Posted: Jan 25th 2011 2:05PM Valdamar said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
What a lot of people overlook when they say EA is "just" the publisher of SWTOR is that Bioware Mythic are an EA division now (made from merging the newly purchased Bioware with the already owned Mythic) - Bioware are a wholly-owned subsidiary of EA now - like it or not, they're basically an EA in-house developer team now (well, 3 teams, plus Mythic as a 4th).

Anyone who thinks EA have very little say over what Bioware does is dreaming - Bioware basically are EA at this point - and we have no reason to suspect that being swallowed up by EA is going to have any different effect on Bioware (& Mythic) than it had on Origin, Westwood, Pandemic, Bullfrog or Maxis.

At least while Bioware stays successful EA won't break them up and fully absorb them as they'll want to keep making money from the Bioware brand and the consistency of quality that respresents. In that respect SWTOR had better not flop, or it might take Bioware down with it, at least as far as the Bioware teams/brand are concerned within EA.

But Bioware has no experience of making MMOs (or even online games), EA's main experience with MMOs is not supporting them properly and shutting them down early, the Star Wars IP isn't as popular as it once was due to the last 3 movies being of dubious quality, the only previous Star Wars MMO (SWG) is a controversial example of how not to manage an MMO due to a dubious decision (NGE) that was supposedly forced onto it by LucasArts who are also (obviously) majorly involved with SWTOR, and the MMO industry is very risky anyway with tons of MMOs having crashed and burned in the past 5-6 years since Blizzard's 600 pound gorilla entered the room - so really is it any surprise that EA's investors are worrying with $300million of EA's cash riding on SWTOR? (three times more than Blizzard supposedly spent on WoW - although it's probably closer to double when inflation-adjusted).

It would be a lot more odd if EA's investors weren't worrying.

We just have to hope that if SWTOR flops it doesn't drag down the MMO industry in the same way it will inevitably tear down Bioware - because there's nothing like a big flop to make dev teams more cautious and go back to making more (but cheaper) WoW clones, and I'm not sure this industry could take another 5-6 years of that. But even if SWTOR flops, we can rest assured that EA will be fine, even after their share price drops - it would soon bounce back after a few other successful launches, such as Battlefield 3 due next year (assuming that's not a flop) and a few more of their inevitable annual franchise refurbishments (EA Sports I'm looking at you).

So as much as some people hate EA, you better ask yourselves if you really want SWTOR to fail, because I guarantee that fans of Bioware games and MMO gamers in general would suffer a lot more from SWTOR being a flop than EA or their investors will.

Posted: Jan 25th 2011 2:28PM Kalex716 said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
@Valdamar

You make a lot of good points, but i don't think this will have any bearing on the MMO industry at large. Big budget games haven't been taking the risks to come up with anything refreshing anyway, and thats always going to be the way. The more money that gets tied up in a project, the more often you have money people stifling and crapping on creativity. You end up with safe bets, middle of the road features, disillusioned developers, and large chunks of appropriations from WoW.

Trust me, the next big thing in MMO's is more likely to come out of nowhere than it will from a big budget studio, and i would even dare to say this includes Activision/Blizzard at this point!
Reply

Posted: Jan 26th 2011 2:37PM Xerxies said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
There is some simple maths for the investors.

$300,000,000 is the rumoured cost of development
$60 is the expected price of the game
so you would need to sell 5,000,000 copies at launch to break even.

How likely is it to sell that many copies of game, with 1 of the best repuations of quality games (bioware) of the biggest film IP ever. There is absolutely no way as an investor that you won't get your money back. Just look at the fact they made force unleashed 2 after the 1st one was utter rubbish. Star wars the IP is a total cash cow.

Now the important thing is keeping people playing. I'm under no illusion that a % will buy the game and play for the free month, but what can you tell with the NDA in place that will make people stay?

Looking at the last one of the mmo games of EA, APB was not an mmo it was a online FPS with customisation and 2 maps. It failed because the content was light, the gameplay was only about PVP matches which was unbalanced, samey and prone to hacks. You could show the main features of that game in less an an hour, anymore and you are doing some serious waffle.

Bioware have announced 18 planets and taken a whole day to show the press the game. There is no way the game is light on content.

Personally WOW has had it's day for me, its a rehash of the same content. Cata is thinner on content, without trying this time, I've managed to get to max level quicker and outgeared the heroic content than during WOTLK. At the time WAR is too early for me as my enjoyment of WOW was still strong, but like a lot of the original players I'm now ready for something new.

Posted: Jan 26th 2011 8:21PM SaintV said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
I agree that there is no guarantee that this game will be successful. I'm just basing upon that it is Bioware and they have always made good games.

Posted: Jan 27th 2011 3:29AM mysecretid said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
@Vestas

My recollection is that Earth & Beyond was /not/ a flop. EA decided to shut it down because it wasn't making the amount of profit they expected --as you say, it wasn't a "blockbuster hit".

I'll let others chase down the references for this; it's late, and I'm weary.

Posted: Jan 28th 2011 10:11AM Kessel Run said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
So torn on this one. Weary because of an EA MMO... And MMOs in general are not my thing.

But I'm also totally biting at the chomp because it's Star Wars and BIOWARE. Damn, I'm totally going to pre-order it. Because I am a total groupie and am having faith.

Let's just hope that my only love will not betray me.

Featured Stories

Engadget

Engadget

Joystiq

Joystiq

WoW Insider

WoW

TUAW

TUAW