Is EA too cocky with SW?

It’s not secret EA is basically banking the company on SW:sRPG, and from the outside looking in it SEEMS the game should be a hot ticket in its first month, but is EA a little TOO cocky here?

First they announced that the game will only be available online through their EA-only Steam-clone called Origin. Now perhaps not a huge deal, but plenty of gamers prefer Steam, and some are borderline exclusive to it (it’s the only site I check now for games). Alone this would not be THAT big a deal, but IMO it is a factor.

Next we have the recent $150 CE move. Not only is the price silly, but there are some real key details missing. That in-game vendor for instance, what does he sell? A single fluff hat, an entire ‘best looking’ outfit, or a one-shot death beam of insta-win? What if he is the only source for a non-combat Yoda pet (I know SW nerds, wrong timeframe blablabla) or some other ‘must have’ for SW fans and you miss out on the CE because it’s ‘sold out’? It does not take much to enrage MMO fans, and SW fans are also a pretty emo bunch. Just a few loudmouths missing out on something could cause a lot of negative feedback, and such things tend to spiral out of control (EVE Monocle anyone?).

Other information, such as, you know, a release date, are also missing. What if the upcoming beta is not as clean as EA expects and SW gets pushed back 6 months? Dropping $150 that early is not going to make people very happy. What if beta shows what many already expect, that SW will be a fun one-month romp. Is that $150 you dropped still worth it? Can you cancel at that point?

Do we even know the pricing model yet? Is this a sub-only MMO? Is it sub + frequent paid expansions?  Is it sub + ‘micro’ transaction? And if so, what exactly can you pay extra for? Pure fluff, or the final chapter of your character’s story? Or will EA be selling side stuff like guilds, full AH access, and other ‘non-critical’ (but critical) functionality? Asking someone to drop $150 on a CE before it ‘sells out’ without the customer knowing the above is pretty ballsy at best, and pretty exploitative at worst.

Hype alone at this point will make SW a big seller early, but remember that EA is calling this an MMO, and an MMO lives and dies by how well it retains players. Will this early shady treatment of the game’s most loyal supporters (people who don’t think twice about dropping $150) come back to bite EA? Or are SW fans so fervent that even if EA asked them to walk through fire for a glowstick, they would pay extra for the chance to go first?

27 Responses to Is EA too cocky with SW?

  1. Dril says:

    A few points:

    “and some are borderline exclusive to it”

    They can suck it then, for all I care. Steam fanbois are one of the worst things to have happened to PC gaming.

    “Not only is the price silly”

    It’s the statue, really, methinks. Hell, I’m paying $213 for my CE, but I really am not that bothered by the price: this is the only CE I’ve ever bought, and, well, I thought I might as well splash out. And, to be honest, I think CE’s have been way underpriced for years (standard games have been overpriced, but that’s another story.) Collector’s items in other fields cost WAY more than the norm, not just an extra £5-£25, and it’s no skin off my nose to spend a bit more, assuming the game is good.

    And, hey, I can sell the statue later on.

    “That in-game vendor for instance, what does he sell?”

    I seriously don’t know why people are making a big deal over this little thing. It’ll probably sell some extra CE fluff. That’s it. If it sells power, it’ll be nerfed instantly (and rightly so.)

    Also: lol at the people thinking that was a cash shop on the TOR forums ^^

    “Can you cancel at that point?”

    I can cancel 10 minutes before the item’s shipped, if I really wanted to.

    “or the final chapter of your character’s story? Or will EA be selling side stuff like guilds, full AH access, and other ‘non-critical’ (but critical) functionality?”

    What makes you think they’ll sell shit like that? If EA are smart, they’ll realise this isn’t Battlefield Heroes. As you said, negative feedback is going to bring TOR to its knees…so they’ll probably want to avoid that

    And, frankly, if they’ve learned nothing from WAR, they deserve to go bust.

    “early shady treatment”

    It doesn’t bother me in the slightest. I seriously don’t get the whole uproar over the TOR pre-order stuff…it’s just a pre-order. They can be cancelled. If they were asking me to give them $213 right now to play the game with no beta weekend, I wouldn’t take it. But I’m fine with the whole situation as it it is.

    Also: hell, if you’re going to treat your playerbase like shit from the start, at least you’re being honest, rather than doing it the Blizzard/SOE way and slowly changing ruining a game for the people who supported its early years.

  2. Maarkean says:

    I agree that the price is rather excessive for a collector’s edition. I imagine much of it is the model figure which holds no appeal for me at least. The lack of a release date, yet taking pre-orders is also a concern.

    I don’t see anything wrong with the Origin thing. EA is a big company with enough games for their own distribution platform. I personally would prefer Steam as an option but it doesn’t bother me.

    But I do agree they do seem a little cocky. The price for the standard edition is higher than MMO’s have traditionally cost. Pricing the CE so highly. Starting pre-orders without revealing subscription price (it’s clearly a subscription game since it says it comes with 30 free days) or release date. And just in their demeanor during video interviews.

    Won’t stop me from playing though.

    • Warsyde says:

      Well, I think we can blame Blizzard for the price of the SE. They released Starcraft 2 at the $60 price point without mass boycots and consumer outrage, so I would expect more and more companies to start charging $60 for “AAA” titles with lots of hype.

      Honestly I don’t see a problem with that. $50 has been the standard new release price for games for what, 15 years? That’s pretty silly when you think about it.

  3. Gank says:

    From what I’ve seen with regards to the hype, the anticipation, and the sheer desire of people to play anything in that IP, I’d say EA could ask them to stick glow-sticks up their *** and people would hapily do it if they thought it would bring them closer to the dark side.

  4. Warsyde says:

    I think the biggest mistake they’re making is limiting the digital distribution, as that will quite simply reduce the number of sales they make. Steam is not just a distribution platform, it’s an advertising platform as well. I think anyone who uses steam can attest to a backlog of games they’ve bought impulsively thanks to Steam advertising and/or sales.

    At this point, practically nobody has even heard of Origin. Do you really want to force consumers to have to search for a way to buy your product? Put it on Origin, sure. But put it on Steam and D2D as well. Give the Origin version some bonus cosmetic doo-dad if you want to drive sales.

    • Will says:

      I remember people saying the same thing about Valve back when they decided to shackle their flagship franchise (Half life 2) to a new, unknown, DRM heavy portal called Steam that only contained one game at launch. It worked out OK for Valve.

      I’m not saying that it will go well for EA, but it’s obvious why they would want to try. And I do know people that refused to buy HL2 because it was tied to steam, so it’s not like being exclusive didn’t cost them anything.

    • Torcano says:

      That’s the entire point…how better to market origin then tie it to a game everyone HAS heard of and tons will at least try?

      Now anyone who even thinks of buying the game will have heard of origin…. And by searching i assume you mean a 5 second google search once you have the name origin?

      Also your post above shows the ridiculous levels of acronym-ing people go to. Could you not say “base game” or something equivalent instead of SE. Because 90% of people would associate SE with Special edition….not standard.

  5. bhagpuss says:

    I have a slight bad feeling about all this. We always knew that if SW:ToR was a huge failure it would be bad for the genre and it wouldn’t be much better if it was a huge success. I was kind of hoping it would be a middling, ho-hum kind of thing that ended up stable but unspectacular so we could all forget about it a few months after launch.

    That looks extremely unlikely. The history of pretty much all big MMOs of the last half-decade is one of hysterically over-inflated expectations turning into equally hysterical outrage. The gap between the two states seems to shorten with each new launch. If you factor in an outlay of $150 dollars, it seems to me that the likelihood of a very great disturbance in the MMO force is high.

  6. Coeur-de-fer says:

    Those who reject the Path of Origin shall burn in the fire of everlasting torment.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I really hope this game fails. I do.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I am trying to formulate my argument so although coherent; won’t necessarily lead to an online comment butchering of me :)

    I am a long time reader of this blog, but nary a comment. Actually, this is probably only my second. Second part, 39 yrs old, fairly well adjusted, and the stereotypical ‘casual gamer’

    However, I think the arguments regarding pricing of the CE, gameplay, EA are distinct. Personally, I feel EA is the worst thing in the world that could have ever happened to the gaming world. Can’t even elaborate on it, the emotion is so visceral with me. Saying that, I do understand the mechanisations they are undertaking to launch origins, charge the price they are for the CE, and using the hype of the conference to further increase the hype of the game. All business. Pretty simplistic actually, and the suits are picking the most ideal time to launch probably some concepts they wanted for some time.

    As for the CE version, much like other things in life, some people say the price is silly, I say ‘meh.’ Doesn’t affect me in the least. I grew up with this stuff, and the price doesn’t even get me to blink. There is a widening chasm between those gamers who want the ‘purists’ game – I define it as put it in your time ingame, and you get the shiny stuff – and those who are saying ‘ I’ve never really had the time to invest in getting those shiny new things, so why don’t you give me the opportunity to buy it?’

    On the surface it seems pretty simple, and the arguments for and against it can fill volumes. Unfortunately, it is here to stay. I’ve always understood the pure game, but have always been upset because I just have not had the time to invest. I did do it for Eve for several years, but I was dedicated solely to that game. And in retrospect, kind of silly to do it for that game as your skills (at that time) were not very reliant on the ship you had. In my rambling, what I am trying to say is the dichotomy is emerging between those gamers who have the time, and those how have the funds, and all points inbetween.

    Finally, the aspect of gameplay. Totally agreed. However, since Bioware Edmonton is about a 5 min drive from my downtown office, I am rather protective of this one. Am I mistaken, or is this still not really considered a Bioware game? I trust Bioware, not EA. As I have always understood, EA supposedly was not going to muddle the waters with Bio’s creative process.

    Ugh..I am doing multiple things at once, and my argument sucks. Sorry, will do next one better

    Celticjim

    • SynCaine says:

      Mr. Celticjim, what you have just said, is the most insanely idiotic thing I have ever heard. At no point, in your rambling incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points and may God have mercy on your soul.

      Also, since I was listening to Sports radio as I read what you wrote, I could not get the image of a nervous first time caller getting bombed on the radio. We live in a cruel world.

      I get the more money than time thing, but I don’t get how it relates to a $150 CE. The CE is not saving you time (that we know of), its just more ‘stuff’.

      I believe this is a full Bioware game, but then so was Dragon Age 2, right? They are not the same studio that made Baldur’s Gate if you ask me.

      • Anonymous says:

        Agreed. Was a complete shite post. Worst one I have written since I was able to put pen to paper. Probably shouldn’t have even hit the post button. I do have an argument, but getting updates from a friend in Norway, trying to do this stupid contract, and trying to formulate an written argument was obviously beyond me today.

        Promise to make it up when I return home.

        CJ

  9. Mark says:

    I’m buying a box so I don’t care as much about the Origin thing although I am not a fan of how they are handling it and would buy a boxed copy just to avoid Origin for any game.

    To be honest though you are never going to like this game just like you don’t like wow so I feel there is no point in you ranting about it all the time when we all know you will never like it.

  10. theJexster says:

    I used to think of MMOs as a reality escape, fortunately, thanks to this $150/$60/$45 class system Bio is implementing I will always be reminded of my real life financial limitations every time I see the rich player with the cooler stuff.

    Born rich, winning since birth.

    Thank you Bio, I had no idea you were implementing such realistic in game content.

    P.S. Look at the SWTOR forums, it’s like WAR 2.0. I’m pretty sure I’m gonna lose sleep over the way they somehow mishandled half the worlds pre-orders. If pre-ordering bombed this bad, imagine launching something as complex as, well, you know, the entire game!

  11. Stabs says:

    My interest in this is dying fast.

    1) Canceling SWG. Screw them, why shut down someone else’s fun just to squeeze a couple more bodies in. I feel now like I should add People who would have bought your overpriced game but didn’t because you were dicks to Galaxies to their metrics.

    2) The marketing tricks. Limited edition so rush rush rush to buy it now before stocks run out. Of something that can be infinitely copied. Screw off, EA, I’m not stupid.

    3) Prime BFD – a sandbox DAOC/SWG influence sci fi MMO launching in the same quarter as SWTOR. Sounds like a much more fun game for me than Lightsabre Warsong Gulch.

    • Dril says:

      Well,

      1) That’s Lucas’ fault anyway, not TOR’s. Don’t hold it against them.

      2) As opposed to the moral and ethical practices of f2p games and TOR’s competition?

      3) I want to believe in Prime. I really do.

      But looking at the videos is…deflating. Especially considering this is going to launch this year, and, being RvR, heavily reliant on combat, watching a poorly animated character with bland animations kill a celestial hedgehog (which runs through the player’s character) doesn’t really bode well. At all.

      I have this horrible feeling that my deep cynicism regarding Prime will, sadly, be right: it’ll launch to much fanfare from some quarters of the MMO world, but before long it’ll be f2p or closed down due to bugs, being unfinished and having bland, repetitive gameplay.

      The TOR videos at least show something worth believing in. Prime’s show promise.

      But promise, for an RvR game, won’t cut it.

      Also: shouldn’t’ve got burned out on Rift :O

  12. Anonymous says:

    Part ‘Duh’ – My attempt to redeem myself.

    “Hype alone at this point will make SW a big seller early, but remember that EA is calling this an MMO, and an MMO lives and dies by how well it retains players. Will this early shady treatment of the game’s most loyal supporters (people who don’t think twice about dropping $150) come back to bite EA? Or are SW fans so fervent that even if EA asked them to walk through fire for a glowstick, they would pay extra for the chance to go first?”

    Ok, reread, and reread and reread some more. My response may sound attitudinal, but I am not really. Just the ‘tone’ sometimes comes across weird.

    You question if EA is becoming too cocky, And if reading correctly, you use the pricing point of the CE, how the ‘extras’ of the CE will work, the launch of Origins, the lack of details as it pertains to subscriptions, and the lack of an actual release date as an example of testicular fortitude not seen since Messier guaranteed a Cup win or Charlie Sheen jumped the crazy train and used his personal problems to generate more wealth

    Basically, I don’t think so at all. I think it is an example of the business side of EA making the most of the situation given to them, and trying to maximise their return. That’s really about it. The ‘silly’ pricing point of a CE is red herring in this instance because yes you nailed it, I believe SW fans will just want something for the sake of wanting it. This isn’t limited to videogames, and we only have to look at literature, film, art for other examples where people have paid small fortunes for things others view it as extravagant.

    Again, release dates, details of fluff, subscription fees…for me…and only me…I don’t care. I am enough of a fan to give it a chance, see what becomes, and ultimately decide if the gameplay contained in SW is enough for me stay, or move on. I will also tie in my earlier point that if it was only EA, I would have my doubts. However, although I respectfully disagree with you if Bio is on its way down, I will trust their product release. Naive…maybe. But with the exception of the one, I think they have a good history, and I am willing to invest in their name although EA is the umbrella

    As for the loud emo types, they’re everywhere. WoW, Eve, Star Trek, New York Yankees, Edmonton Oilers, etc etc. Typically it doesn’t stop them from attending, supporting, or purchasing their product. They’re blowhards and most rational humans understand this point.

    As for Origins, as much as I hate EA; perfect timing to launch the product. As someone above states, good volume of a fan base, more than enough of their own titles…good time to roll it out. Even if the game is behind, they’ve created the ‘hook’ for a good number of people to expose them to the rest of their library.

    Finally, just wanted to address the CE return …from what I read in my PO, it appears billing doesn’t actually occur until shipment happens. I am taking that to mean the actual game, and not the dummy box. This is the first time I have bought a new release online so not certain.

    Hopefully redeemed myself with this one. Sorry for my stupidity on the last one, but my brain was really not in the proper mode when I wrote.

    CJ

  13. Derrick says:

    I want to love this game. I do. I want a great, small, fixed-group RPG to play with my personal friends, like we played Neverwinter Nights. So, the MMOspRPG model is actually cool for me.

    But I don’t think it’s going to work. I think it’s going to do the same thing every other themepark MMO does: explode onto the scene, then wilt away as it landers to the mindless masses screaming for their sparkleponies and other bullshit.

    Further, I strongly suspect bioware (despite having an excellent track record in my book) is going to adapt all the worst parts of MMO’s. Shitty static hotbar combat, all that stuff.

    I won’t even consider taking a look for a few months, after the initial hubbub dies down.

  14. Bronte says:

    Short answer: yes, very, very cocky.

    Long answer: I think this is an MMO that will collapse under the weight of it’s own hype. I would go so far as to say this could be the “Duke Nukem” of MMOs, it is too bloated, the hype machine has risen the expectations to unholy heights, the game looks good and seems to employ good mechanics, but there seem to be too many of them for a new player, and most importantly, it is almost as if EA believes SW will be so massive, it will kill WoW, and all that follows…

  15. Straw Fellow says:

    “Short answer: yes, very, very cocky.”

    From the people who brought you Warhammer Online hype comes SWTOR hype! This time with sci-fi tears.

    To be serious for a moment, I could care less about the collector’s editions. My opinion on them is that they just wind up being cool looking junk you display for a bit and never touch. In real life, and in-game. How many people do you know who still have out their Collector’s edition whelps from BC and WOTLK?

    As for the price of them, I’m a terrible gauge for these things as I’m a cheapskate to begin with. I will disagree with Jexter’s class system comment though. The metaphor is sort of weak given that in a game, the rich people only have cooler stuff, where in real life, the rich people tend to be able to worry less about being able to survive.

    I am buying this on the day it comes out, if only because I typically make it a habit not to. I’m giving it a shot because I like Bioware and am a Star Wars fan. I don’t have any hopes that it will bring something new to the genre though.

  16. Torcano says:

    Rich and poor? Are you kidding me? You should realize that people who 100 bucks difference matters to don’t play freaking mmos to begin with.

    And survival? WTF? There is a small percentage of citizens in developed nations who worry about survival…well not so small in the good ol USA but it’s debatable how “developed” that makes them.

    Get this straight, if you CAN play ANY MMO or game…you are rich.

    And like it or not there are richer people who can buy more than you – deal with it. Save your whining for your rl friends not people of widely varying means who happen to play/blog about mmos like you do. It’s frankly retarded.

    I’d hate to see the freakout jex would have in a genuine pay to win style game like world of tanks or something.

  17. Kyir says:

    Considering the gameplay video that I’ve seen, not much can save this game from near-instant decline besides hardcore SW fanboys.

    The beta of any game shouldn’t fill me with dread, that much I know.

  18. UnicornDick says:

    Collectors Edition baby! I bought one from Amazon, one from Origin and one from Gamestop. Authenticators FTW, can’t be too secure. All you WoW fanboys need to sell your shit now while it still has some value. SWTOR is going to make that POS a ghost town.

  19. invinciblegod says:

    I don’t get it. Why buy a collector’s edition from an online shop at all? Part of a collector’s edition is to get more stuff. That’s why I ordered it from Amazon. I also get a nice box and no problems whatsoever. I also got my code instantly.

    Also, the $150 doesn’t really bother me that much compared to my other hobbies i.e. woodworking. I spent $310 the other day making 4 bookshelves!

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