It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!
At least according to this article so thought some folks may enjoy the read. I don't agree with the acticle or his numbers honestly but thought it an interesting attempt...err....read.
Greetings once again, Star Wars fans, and welcome to another edition of Open TOR Policy, where I discuss issues of import and interest to our Star Wars: The Old Republic community. Today, I’m setting my sites on trolls, specifically those that contest our particular brand of spaced-based enjoyment is doomed to fail.
If you go to the SWTOR forums – and I’d advise a strong drink before you do – you’re going to see a whole host of threads aimed at convincing readers that STWOR is crashing – hard. “Subs Down 25%”, “Server Population is Dropping” and “Storm Preparation” are just a few examples. They point to seemingly incontrovertible evidence of a downward spiral, such as the fact that subs are down 25% to around 1.3 million and that while EA executives consider SWTOR to be in the “top 10” of their money-making franchises, it’s not in the top 5. Throw in a few words about the recent SWTOR layoffs, not-here-yet LFG tool, low server populations and PvP problems and you’ve got yourself a perfect sh#@-storm of forum woes.
To put it bluntly: the forums are a scary, scary, place. But are they right?
Let’s crunch some numbers. Most of mine are as real as any you’ll find in the forums – more so in some cases since they come from a place of common sense instead of energy drink and zesty Dorito-fuelled madness, but feel free to disagree (or disbelieve) as you so choose.
The highest reported number of subscribers for SWTOR thus far is 1.7 million, so that’s what I’ll start with, and assume that all 1.7 million of those players bought a legitimate copy for an average of $60 (I’m rolling in CE, DCE and regular boxes all in here) - that means $102 million in BioWare’s pockets at the get-go. We also know that subs have dropped to 1.3 million over the last few months, and so to err on the side of caution I’m going to assume that only 1 million players renewed their subs after the free month in December ran out, meaning four months at $15 per month for BioWare, or another $60 million, totaling $162 million made thus far. My numbers here aren’t perfect – they don’t take into account players who came late to the party or have paid for six-month subs, for example, or the free extra month some players were granted in April, but they’re a good baseline.
This $162 million isn’t pure profit, of course, since the game cost money to develop. BioWare never did release the actual tally, and I’ve heard everything from costs of $100 millon up to $300 million for the entire development cycle. My personal guess is around $150 million but even if the costs hit $200 million, the company has still made almost all of its money back. If subscribers stay steady at 1 million, BioWare makes $15 million a month and quickly heads into profitable territory, even taking into account overhead and the price of developing new content. In other words, the game is a success.
I know, I know – it’s not World of Warcraft. But guess what? Nothing is. WoW is an anomaly, one that showed up at just the right time with the right balance of hard core and casual gameplay and managed to push its way into the mainstream. Other MMOs have actually been successful in making money, both through the sub method and free to play (F2P) but none of them are WoW, and none of them will ever be. Boo-hoo.
It’s also worth noting that “mainstream” is a really loose term here, and while WoW enjoyed 12 million subs at the height of its popularity it’s a far cry from the over 70 million copies of Wii Sports sold when Nintendo’s latest console hit store shelves. One million is a decent number for SWTOR, no matter how high the bar set by WoW.
Right now, SWTOR is profitable, but it’s really no surprise to me that EA doesn’t consider it a top-5 moneymaker. With massive, yearly sports franchises and nearly-yearly FPS games on their ledger it doesn’t make sense to view BioWare’s outing as the best potential money-maker; the strength of an MMO lies in its longevity, not the number of copies it can sell at day one, and so far BioWare seems on the right track for developing desired and timely content.
Trolls will always poke out their heads, bent on convincing forum-goers that SWTOR is in desperate, hopeless trouble and that we should all abandon ship for WoW, Tera, Guild Wars 2 or some other “unnamed, revolutionary, fun, totally awesome MMO.” Don’t get me wrong – there are good threads on the forums, threads that try to address real issues or give credit where credit is due, but there’s also this odd slice of the player-base who are certain in their doomsday convictions, but wobbly on spelling and grammar.
We’ve become spoiled, I think, by the sheer volume of information available about every game out there, about every new IP or idea even before it hits the alpha testing phase. All too often the seeds of our opinions take root not on the basis of engaging gameplay or great story or anything we actually do but because of vitriolic or passionate forum posts, many full of suspect or patently misleading data.
Am I the ultimate authority here? Should you believe me, and no other SWTOR author? Hardly. Play the game, judge for yourself; decide if you want to keep playing, and paying.
Oh, and don’t feed the trolls.