SW:TOR – EA says the game is not interesting, players agree

In our portfolio in terms of property from a franchise, it’s in our top 10 but it’s not in our top 5,” Riccitiello said. “So I understand there’s a modest amount of interest, but I don’t know if it warrants as much interest as what we’re seeing right now.

Based off their own website, I guess these are the top 6 franchises for EA: Need for Speed, Battlefield, Mass Effect, Medal of Honor, Mercenaries and Skate.

So what Riccetiello is telling us is that SW:TOR is somewhere below Skate and Mercenaries? Nice. Who knew the last Skate game (whatever that was/is?) cost 300m+ to make. I guess hiring skateboarders to fully voice your 4th pillar is more expansive than one could have imagined.

Also I agree that SW:TOR does not warrant as much interest as its getting. Game sucks after all. Hopefully Bartle can come along and explain to me why. I was so sure a solo story-based MMO would have totally worked and been sustainable. I think I even said it back in 2010, didn’t I?

active subscribers — defined as those paying for subscriptions along with players who are still in the free month of trials after buying the game.

Gotta love that part too right? What MMO was it again that was giving itself away for free every weekend? And who stopped charging for a sub right when the ‘subscribers’ number was being counted and just before everyone who bought it at release was set to have their account expire off long-term subs? I wonder if all of those accounts are including in that 1.4m? Probably not right? Can’t lie on investor reports and all that…

Only thing missing is some 3rd party site showing me a sharply declining graph of activity. Man I wish I had such a resource, it would be oh so helpful.

And The Elder Scrolls is following this model of ‘success’ why…?

46 Responses to SW:TOR – EA says the game is not interesting, players agree

  1. Frank says:

    Elder Scrolls will also have public dungeons and (3) faction PvP, at least that’s what they are claiming right now.

    • adam says:

      Revelatory. Pretty sure Asheron’s Call and Everquest had public dungeons pre-2000 and DAoC had 3 faction combat in ’01.

      That’s not to say copying something is bad. But they seem to be pretending like it’s something wonderful and new. It’s not–not when wrapped in a vanilla theme-park poo-burrito.

  2. bhagpuss says:

    I imagine they plan on following a more profitable model, one without vastly expensive voice acting for a start.

    TOR may or may not be interesting but EA’s gloss certainly is. Positioning for decline, apparently. The line you didn’t quote was, I thought, even more instructive:

    “But we love the franchise, we’re going to grow the franchise”

    That sounds very much like the statements Prime Ministers make in the UK about ministers who are in a spot of bother – “The minister has my complete confidence”. It’s generally taken as code for “I’m about at the end of my tether with that idiot! One more mistake and his career’s finished!”.

  3. brainclutter says:

    Link for justice: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/ea-sales-beat-targets-star-wars-takes-hit-2012-05-07

    24% decline. Ouch. And yeah, who knows if those numbers are “paying customers” or “monthly freebies.” I mean, the timing for that “promotion” was pretty sketchy. About as sketchy as their definition of “active subscriber.”

  4. Sand says:

    people’s generic SWTOR supporter / apologist number five: ‘i don’t like the conclusions you’re drawing from the available evidence so i’m going to ignore it and claim the game is fine. la la la i can’t hear youuuuu’

    keep firing till the barrels glow, Syn. they’ll get it one of these days. i think.

  5. thade says:

    Clear downward trend, still: http://beta.xfire.com/games/eve
    I’m keeping my eye on that one. <3

    Kidding aside, I'm with you insofar as TES. I'd really like to see them take some bold risks with the franchise as the IP is strong. Three factions is a good start; I'd like to see an ARG or at least some big ways for players to influence the game, either by being content or strongly influencing content updates.

    My personal hope is that TES Online enters development hell and languishes there long enough that no one will care when it drops and embarrasses. (See: Duke Nukem Forever.)

    • adam says:

      I hope it gets canceled and the rights to develop handed to a small studio full of talented, passionate and motivated developers. They’re out there. Give them a quarter of the funding and they’ll produce 10x the game.

  6. Loth says:

    Stats only confirm what anyone still playing the game already know; servers are deserted and there’s nothing to do besides level an alt. As many, many others have said, if this was an offline single player title it would be fantastic, 8 (somewhat) different stories depending on class, nice control system with pleasant if not groundbreaking GFX and sound. But it isn’t.

    There’s not nearly enough content and what there is isn’t that rewarding. I know that attempting to defend something on this blog that comes from EA, who I personally regard as evil incarnate, is flagging yourself for PvP, but I still like this game. I like the IP, the 9 year old boy in me still finds lightsabers exciting and I want it to succeed, but with its current format and under the shadow of EA I can’t see it happening anytime soon.

    Bookies will soon stop taking bets about moving this to a FTP model.

    • I don’t know if FTP is in the cards. They certainly didn’t go there with WAR. And there is always the Lucas aspect to things. He’ll want to know how that will impact his payout at the end of every month.

      I think it will be the WAR model for SWTOR. Neglect if profitability falls below a certain threshold.

      • Dril says:

        I wonder, though, if Lucas might push it into F2P rather than let it languish. Surely someone will tell him that all the cool (read: failing) kids these days are adopting it, so surely SWTOR should join the cool club; unlike, say, WoW, which will languish with its sub base in brilliant but declining profitability.

        Remember, as well, that LOTRO has a provable track record of having consistently super high profit margins due to a constant 400% increase in revenue since it went F2P (sarcasm, for reference) so, hey, imagine what glowsticks could do for a game?

        • The only thing is, free to play requires a new development effort, something EA would have to commit to and which I doubt Lucas could force on them. EA’s track record is WAR and The Sims Online, which seems to indicate something of a philosophy of not throwing good money after bad. They will back a winner but won’t reinforce failure.

          And, of course, we’re starting to see failed free to play conversions. Witness LEGO Universe.

          Time will tell, of course, and I have no special insight. But given EA’s past, that would be my gut feeling.

        • Dril says:

          I was considering it in terms of a scenario where SWTOR still has developers, just not very many of them and far fewer subs than today.

          Considering they have a model they can quite literally copy/paste (LOTRO’s, selling zones but leaving the actual storyline class storyline accessible) I’d think they’d probably gamble on it, if only because they may not have broken even on the initial investment.

        • Cyndre says:

          If it wasn’t fun in the first free month or the free trial, what pray tell is the motivation to offer it to people free and ask them to buy crap.

          FTP only works if the game has some redeeming value like a LOTR or an EQ2 that people might want to mess around with.

          SWTOR is dead. It was doa. Move along people.

  7. Clearly SWTOR is missing the something like the Galactice Dance Off that is in Star Wars Kinect.

    The “I’m Han Solo” song, that is Star Wars canon now, right?

  8. silvertemplar says:

    Surely The Sims must be in EAs top 5, the facebook generation love crap like that ;)

  9. silvertemplar says:

    Oh and you might like this statement more:

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/sns-rt-us-electronicartsbre846104-20120507,0,4395472.story

    [quote]
    “Star Wars’ is a nice role playing game but people are playing through it and leaving,” Mitchell said.
    [/quote]

    • Dril says:

      Heh, this gem will surely fire up people up over SWTOR as well.

      http://massively.joystiq.com/2012/05/08/analyst-swtor-caused-dragon-age-iii-delay/

      I was going to make a comment on that post in the same vein that I always do, i.e. that these analysts are total randoms who have absolutely no insider knowledge and are either guessing or stating the obvious (really, a studio might shift resources from one game to another? That’s a BioWare-esque tip, thanks a lot for that) so they shouldn’t really be acknowledged, but hits are hits, right?

  10. adam says:

    A friend of mine moved to Dallas (I think) to work on SWTOR as a developer. It was his dream job.

    I expect he’ll be back within a year or two.

  11. xXJayeDuBXx says:

    Taking quotes out of context can make any argument valid.

  12. LindaP says:

    Clearly SWTOR is not the Killer MMO.

    I would think this should be on a WoW or GW2 or even a WoT/WoP web site but not EVE. Because I believe EA has said SWTOR is profitable at a half-million subscribers. Due to fixed costs, I’m sure a million would be much more than twice as profitable than a half. I.e., SWTOR is currently more profitable than EVE Online and probably will be so for the foreseeable future. Long term, the subscribers & profitability will drive the funding. But in the short term, EA is a 4.65 billion company so millions of dollars of development is doable if the wished. CCP has already had layoffs and is developing two new franchises while also maintaining EVE. And they are relying of a partnership with Sony for a lot of their success – which makes gamers and business people cringe. In a declining MMO market, CCP & EVE would clearly seem riskier than SWTOR (more upside as well as downside; a great console launch could be big.)

    People who predicted that SWTOR would overwhelm the competition were quite wrong. As were people who predicted it would already be F2P.

    • Rammstein says:

      I’m pretty sure I didn’t see this news item mentioned on eveonline.com. Are you saying that you did see this mentioned there?

  13. Ephemeron says:

    Any comments on WoW finally pulling out of the 2011 death spiral and stabilizing at 10.2 million?

    • SynCaine says:

      Considering 1.2m of those ‘subs’ are Diablo 3 boxes?

      • Rammstein says:

        It’s fair to say somewhere around 2/3’s of those d3 box subs would be subscribed anyway, I think. Nevertheless, I think seeing how much bump MoP gives will be more relevant than analyzing the summer/pre-expansion drop.

        I think there’s a chance MoP reverses the decline. I think with Cataclysm Blizzard may have been stuck in between a somewhat serious game and a cutesy pet collecting game, and with MoP Blizzard is finally making a clear choice towards the latter. If this clear choice drives away millions of young male players I won’t be surprised, and it will indicate that the compromise was working. If making this clear choice attracts more millions of new casual players, then it will mean that the compromise was a kind of ‘uncanny valley’ and that making a clear choice is superior.

        In a game like EVE, where different areas of the sandbox are connected economically, but you can easily focus on one area if that’s all you enjoy, diversity works well. The interaction in WoW where certain pets/items were only available through raiding, raiders were given incentives to do long daily grinds for items, etc…I’m not convinced that this forced diversity works well.

      • Aerynne says:

        I see this comment all the time, and it leaves me puzzled. What kind of dumb ass would pay $129.00 (or whatever an annual sub is) for a $59.00 game, unless they intended to play WoW anyway? Sure, maybe it encouraged some players to commit to a year who otherwise would pay month to month, but if you would not otherwise be playing it, what on god’s green earth would be the point?

        • SynCaine says:

          Most people don’t do the math. They see the promo, and say “Hey I’m going to buy D3, and I might play WoW for a few months, might as well jump at this deal”. Whether they play enough WoW to justify the purchase is one issue.

          The other is that assuming someone was going to play WoW for the full year AND buy D3, Blizzard lost money with that person as well.

          Either way; the latest numbers include the D3 promo, and only stabalized. I would not see that as a huge win, as next quarter Blizzard won’t have another D3-type game to prop up WoW subs.

  14. [...] peak of hubris, when EA was targeting 11 million players, to the CEO of EA saying that SWTOR really isn’t their most interesting property in a mis-guided effort to direct attention away from [...]

  15. [...] the first quarter.  Then after only a few months and some layoffs, EA was claiming that SWTOR was not an important title to their lineup as people seemed to think.  Which, along with the whole conversion to free to [...]

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