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Reader Comments (190)

Posted: Feb 1st 2012 5:36PM BigAndShiny said

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1.7 million is very nice. However im not sure if they can keep those kind of numbers, especially with a number of high profile releases this year.
BW needs to focus on STORY not raiding, if it wants to maintain subs.

Posted: Feb 1st 2012 5:52PM MtthwRddl said

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@BigAndShiny Why can't they work on both?
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Posted: Feb 1st 2012 6:18PM Vgk said

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@BigAndShiny

aye 1.7 million subs is very good, the real question however is just how many of those 1.7 million are "trial subs" and when were these numbers taken? were they taken while the game was still in it's 1st month, the day after the free month ended, yesterday?
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Posted: Feb 1st 2012 6:25PM Abriael said

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@Vgk they said clearly "after a bit more than a month". So yeah. it's after the free month for those that started at launch.
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Posted: Feb 1st 2012 6:27PM Vgk said

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@BigAndShiny

If you click on the article being referred to you'll find that those numbers are the: "preliminary financial results for its third fiscal quarter ended December 31, 2011. "

In other words these numbers are accurate as of December 31st a time during which SWTOR was still in it's free month, in other words the retention rate of 85% is referring to the game's first month
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Posted: Feb 1st 2012 6:28PM scfs123 said

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May be a stupid quesiton...
Why are there over 300k people that bought the game and didn't subscribe when you are forced to subscribe to play the free month?
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Posted: Feb 1st 2012 6:31PM Vgk said

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Posted: Feb 1st 2012 6:31PM Abriael said

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@Vgk Nope. Those numbers are current. They say clearly "after a little more than a month". The game has been out 40 days now.
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Posted: Feb 1st 2012 6:39PM Lafajet said

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@Vgk The financial results and the sales aren't the same thing. If the sales mentioned had only been up until December 31st the retention numbers should have been closer to 100% (unless 300 000 people either didn't start their accounts or totally deleted them within the first few weeks, which seems unlikely).

The relevant paragraph from the article is as follows:

"The company launched “Star Wars” in late December, and reported it has sold through more than 2 million units of the game and now has about 1.7 million active subscribers playing the online multiplayer title, which Brown said represents a mix of users who already have signed up for a paid subscription and users who have given their credit cards over, but have not yet had their paid plans kick in."

Note the operative word "now" and the fact that accounts started after release may still be in their free month and thus are counted as active subscriptions.
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Posted: Feb 1st 2012 6:42PM (Unverified) said

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@scfs123

Could be presents for people who for whats ever reason just didn't have a chance to start their gaming yet. Such as those on vacation. That's my guess at least.
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Posted: Feb 1st 2012 8:06PM Space Cobra said

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@scfs123

Yep. "Presents" at the above says. Either people haven't got them or whatever. Could be future EBay sales. Could be some people have been too busy to even start an account. Could be third-parties buying up lots and selling in their stores/customers. Many reasons.
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Posted: Feb 1st 2012 10:53PM Mightylawngn0me said

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@scfs123

There are a couple possibilities, and I honestly haven't read the entirety of the source but;

It has been over a month, so there are certainly some who bought and played the game for their 30 days and did not pay beyond their free 30 days.

Also, units sold could mean simply what went to retailers, not specifically how many went to customers.

A common miconception is that you subscribe to get your 30 days in any mmo, but the reality is you haven't subscribed, until you've been charged a month, though they are a little wishy washy with that definition here.
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Posted: Feb 2nd 2012 1:17AM (Unverified) said

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@Vgk I'm not sure you're understanding that correctly. If we're talking retention rate in the first month... it's 100%. In the first month you haven't had a chance to subscribe or cancel yet....

Pretty sure Abriael got it right.
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Posted: Feb 2nd 2012 8:34AM (Unverified) said

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@BigAndShiny

I have a lvl50 and a lvl 37 and still loving the game. Been doing mostly questing and pvp and still seems fresh to me. I can see myself playing this game for 4+ yrs like I did with WoW!
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Posted: Feb 2nd 2012 10:15AM Vgk said

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@(Unverified) so if a guy preorders TOR gets access to the early beta and ends up being dissaspointed that's still a sale they sent to the retailer however it isn't a sub since no game time hasn't started.

I know of people who still haven't activated their game codes while they wait to see how things turn out, it is possible to have a retention rate less than 100%.
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Posted: Feb 2nd 2012 11:02AM Nautius said

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@Lafajet

That's still 1.7M X $15 monthly.

Your splitting hairs doesn't change the fact that it was a successful and profitable launch.
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Posted: Feb 2nd 2012 11:59AM OptimusPrimeisOP said

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@scfs123 You don't have to buy a month, to play the free month. If you cancel at any time during the trial month, you won't be billed further. This doesn't end your free month.

Some people bought it, activated it with their credit card, then cancelled immediately. If you do it this way, it forces you to decide at the end of the free month whether you want to continue.
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Posted: Feb 4th 2012 11:10PM (Unverified) said

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@MtthwRddl Since the focus of the game is Story, they need to focus on that. Now with patch 1.1 they did expand on an existing operation and add a new 50 flashpoint. However, the selling point of swtor has always been the Story.

If you add a Story they will Subscribe....
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Posted: Feb 5th 2012 12:30PM Valkenr said

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@scfs123

Those 300,000 copies are probably un-sold. This is another trick companies use to pad their numbers. When EA says they sold x amount of a product, that is how much they unloaded to retailers, not how many are in the hands of consumers.
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Posted: Feb 5th 2012 12:53PM Valkenr said

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@Lafajet

The 300,000 gap is the difference between box sales and sails to retailers, see my above post for a little more detail.

There were also a lot of players who never picked up their pre-order after playing for the first head start and grace period, after realizing that BW had done nothing special (a lot was actually stepping backwards 5 years) other than voice acting.

It's impossible to say, EA is a business, and honest business doesn't succeed in a dishonest market. It is 100% believable and very likely that those numbers are from 31/12/11. The game I log into has lost a lot of steam, around the end of week 2 the game went from 50% of servers with 20+ minute queues, to 95% medium-low population servers. The 800k subscriber number produced by analysts that used EA's financial reports after the free period, which is more accurate and believable at 800,000 subs(was in an earlier massively post). This release by EA is most likely a legal to say half-truth that would make them look better.

We will never hear a official answer on anything related to the sub numbers because the projections for this game where way above what actually happened and anything EA says will result in bad press and stock drops. They didn't realize story isn't enough to hold the bulk of the MMO players, it's actually just another niche market, and those out of that niche are either waiting for another better game, really like star wars, or see this as the best thing available.

In the end though, subs don't really matter. Look at DCUO, it had 300,000 subs after the free period, but it was a game targeted at 7hrs of weekly play, so the overlap of players was very small and resulted in a large chunk of the population leaving the game(including me). The success of your game is based on the population of your servers, and that is nothing special now. I got lucky and was placed one of the high population PvP servers, and even I was unable to do any group content post level 30 because there are usually around 20 other people on each world after at peak times with 5-10 on after hours. So it must be really bad on the servers that are constantly at medium. The first sign of a MMO collapse is the inability for find a PUG anywhere.
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