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The money trail.

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  • BurntvetBurntvet Baltimore, MDPosts: 2,936Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Wickedjelly
    Originally posted by Karahandras
    Originally posted by Bardus
    Originally posted by Ahnog

    I don't know what the game cost, but it made a lot of money out the gate. 2.2 million boxed versions were sold world wide ($129 million); An unknown number of downloaded copies were sold. The subscriptions were 1.7 million for the first month which addes $27.1 millio1st month is free(comes with the game). Not a bad haul for the first month of the game.

    The disgruntaled employee who was fired said it would be a 300 million dollar development cost.  When you consider what the license must have cost, the cost of development I'll bet was more like 150 million.

    And Lucas Arts didn't want any of that, and the boxes didn't cost anything to print, and they don't have to pay the light bill or salaries, or taxes or many many other things? All profit right?

    You forgot marketing, which would have been quite a high bill in this case.

    I.m guessing but probably around th 20% mark(give or take) went back to clearing the dev costs from box sales.  Not sure how they'd divvy up the monthly subs though.

     Very high actually. I remember when DA came out one of the BW devs spoke about marketing costs. It was rather interesting really because he was so honest and forthcoming about it. Essentially if I remember correctly least for DA that was the bulk of their expenditure was on marketing believe it or not. I should have kept the whole discussion because it is one of the few times I have seen someone be so forthright and detailed about those types of things simply in a forum talking about the subject matter. It was quite the eye opener.

    ...and considering how much heavier this game was marketed god knows what the overall price figure it was before the game even launched.

     

    Also not to forget: the "split" on box price.

    For physical copies, of which about a million were sold, EA/BW do not even get a majority of the box price.

    For most games, the publisher is only going to get 30%-40% of the box price upon sale, based upon the retailer. So that is a LOT less than $60 per box.

    For non-Origin digital sales, (Steam and all the rest) the split is much more generous to the publisher, in the 60-75% range, based on individual agreement, but not 100% there either.

    And even on the Origin ones, it takes a sales commission, as that slice goes into the box for Origin profits (as they have to account for that division, as well).

    Bottom line is that many people greatly over-estimate the revenue back to EA/BW just from box sales...

     

  • smh_alotsmh_alot Area 51Posts: 976Member
    Originally posted by Wickedjelly

    Originally posted by Karahandras
    Originally posted by Bardus
    Originally posted by Ahnog
    I don't know what the game cost, but it made a lot of money out the gate. 2.2 million boxed versions were sold world wide ($129 million); An unknown number of downloaded copies were sold. The subscriptions were 1.7 million for the first month which addes $27.1 millio1st month is free(comes with the game). Not a bad haul for the first month of the game. The disgruntaled employee who was fired said it would be a 300 million dollar development cost.  When you consider what the license must have cost, the cost of development I'll bet was more like 150 million.

    And Lucas Arts didn't want any of that, and the boxes didn't cost anything to print, and they don't have to pay the light bill or salaries, or taxes or many many other things? All profit right?

    You forgot marketing, which would have been quite a high bill in this case.

    I.m guessing but probably around th 20% mark(give or take) went back to clearing the dev costs from box sales.  Not sure how they'd divvy up the monthly subs though.

     Very high actually. I remember when DA came out one of the BW devs spoke about marketing costs. It was rather interesting really because he was so honest and forthcoming about it. Essentially if I remember correctly least for DA that was the bulk of their expenditure was on marketing believe it or not. I should have kept the whole discussion because it is one of the few times I have seen someone be so forthright and detailed about those types of things simply in a forum talking about the subject matter. It was quite the eye opener.

    ...and considering how much heavier this game was marketed god knows what the overall price figure it was before the game even launched.

     

    I find this hard to believe, from what I recall of having read, marketing costs of even the biggest titles was usually not a humongous portion of the total cost, although admittedly that was a long time ago that I read about it. Still, kinda iffy. Would be nice to know how much marketing cost was put into the biggest titles of 2011-2012, from D3 to ME3 to Skyrim to MW3 to BF3 etc. Would give some indication of what amounts we're generally talking about these days.

    Regarding the LA portion, some article said that their percentage only kicks in after the development costs were recouped iirc.
  • SpottyGekkoSpottyGekko RotterdamPosts: 3,845Member Uncommon

    You cannot accurately compare the production cost of a game launched in 2004 with that of one launched in 2011. Salaries (the major part of the production cost) have increased quite a bit in the last 7 years, as has the cost of almost everything else other than computer hardware (which is a small part of the budget anyway).

  • smh_alotsmh_alot Area 51Posts: 976Member
    Originally posted by SpottyGekko

    You cannot accurately compare the production cost of a game launched in 2004 with that of one launched in 2011. Salaries (the major part of the production cost) have increased quite a bit in the last 7 years, as has the cost of almost everything else other than computer hardware (which is a small part of the budget anyway).

     

    Ah, true. Inflation correction index should be taken into account too.
  • WickedjellyWickedjelly Yahoo, COPosts: 4,990Member
    Originally posted by smh_alot
    Originally posted by Wickedjelly
    Originally posted by Karahandras
    Originally posted by Bardus
    Originally posted by Ahnog

    I don't know what the game cost, but it made a lot of money out the gate. 2.2 million boxed versions were sold world wide ($129 million); An unknown number of downloaded copies were sold. The subscriptions were 1.7 million for the first month which addes $27.1 millio1st month is free(comes with the game). Not a bad haul for the first month of the game.

    The disgruntaled employee who was fired said it would be a 300 million dollar development cost.  When you consider what the license must have cost, the cost of development I'll bet was more like 150 million.

    And Lucas Arts didn't want any of that, and the boxes didn't cost anything to print, and they don't have to pay the light bill or salaries, or taxes or many many other things? All profit right?

    You forgot marketing, which would have been quite a high bill in this case.

    I.m guessing but probably around th 20% mark(give or take) went back to clearing the dev costs from box sales.  Not sure how they'd divvy up the monthly subs though.

     Very high actually. I remember when DA came out one of the BW devs spoke about marketing costs. It was rather interesting really because he was so honest and forthcoming about it. Essentially if I remember correctly least for DA that was the bulk of their expenditure was on marketing believe it or not. I should have kept the whole discussion because it is one of the few times I have seen someone be so forthright and detailed about those types of things simply in a forum talking about the subject matter. It was quite the eye opener.

    ...and considering how much heavier this game was marketed god knows what the overall price figure it was before the game even launched.

     

    I find this hard to believe, from what I recall of having read, marketing costs of even the biggest titles was usually not a humongous portion of the total cost, although admittedly that was a long time ago that I read about it. Still, kinda iffy. Would be nice to know how much marketing cost was put into the biggest titles of 2011-2012, from D3 to ME3 to Skyrim to MW3 to BF3 etc. Would give some indication of what amounts we're generally talking about these days.

     

    Regarding the LA portion, some article said that their percentage only kicks in after the development costs were recouped iirc.

     You can believe what you want. Like I said wish I kept it although eventually it got locked because honestly I think he may have been a tad too forthcoming for others liking. The figures were staggering. Much higher than I ever would have believed. Main reason it even came up is people were guesstimating how much profit BW had made from DA and he came in to say they hadn't yet and then went into the reasons why. Was pretty cool really to see someone be so honest about it. I think he did it to educate folks a little more and because he was a little irked because the driving force for the profit talk was a lot of the posters were ticked about dlc and thought since DA did so well they should be adding a ton of things for free or chocking out dlcs left and right.

    1. For god's sake mmo gamers, enough with the analogies. They're unnecessary and your comparisons are terrible, dissimilar, and illogical.

    2. To posters feeling the need to state how f2p really isn't f2p: Players understand the concept. You aren't privy to some secret the rest are missing. You're embarrassing yourself.

    3. Yes, Cpt. Obvious, we're not industry experts. Now run along and let the big people use the forums for their purpose.

  • RocketeerRocketeer NachrodtPosts: 1,304Member

    I remember SWTOR had TV ads running for quite a while on many TV stations, even in prime time. If it was like that in all of europe and US aswell ... yeah thats gonna cost a dollar or two.

    Now SWTOR has shown spots on how many stations? Atleast about 20 just in Europe. I can easily see them spending 40 million just for TV advertising in europe over the weeks the spots have run here. Add to that the bribes etc for the gaming mags(sorry i mean the premium coverage they ordered ... ahwell that also sounds bad...), costs for getting the different ratings that are required in some countries etcpp.

    100 mil sounds very reasonable. No other game ever had as much TV coverage afaik, atleast here in old europe ...

  • cutthecrapcutthecrap nobusinessofyoursPosts: 600Member
    Originally posted by Rocketeer

    100 mil sounds very reasonable. No other game ever had as much TV coverage afaik, atleast here in old europe ...

    100 mil?? What the... lol

    Yeah, sure, perfectly reasonable image

  • KarahandrasKarahandras Sible HedinghamPosts: 1,673Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Burntvet
    Originally posted by Wickedjelly
    Originally posted by Karahandras
    Originally posted by Bardus
    Originally posted by Ahnog

    I don't know what the game cost, but it made a lot of money out the gate. 2.2 million boxed versions were sold world wide ($129 million); An unknown number of downloaded copies were sold. The subscriptions were 1.7 million for the first month which addes $27.1 millio1st month is free(comes with the game). Not a bad haul for the first month of the game.

    The disgruntaled employee who was fired said it would be a 300 million dollar development cost.  When you consider what the license must have cost, the cost of development I'll bet was more like 150 million.

    And Lucas Arts didn't want any of that, and the boxes didn't cost anything to print, and they don't have to pay the light bill or salaries, or taxes or many many other things? All profit right?

    You forgot marketing, which would have been quite a high bill in this case.

    I.m guessing but probably around th 20% mark(give or take) went back to clearing the dev costs from box sales.  Not sure how they'd divvy up the monthly subs though.

     Very high actually. I remember when DA came out one of the BW devs spoke about marketing costs. It was rather interesting really because he was so honest and forthcoming about it. Essentially if I remember correctly least for DA that was the bulk of their expenditure was on marketing believe it or not. I should have kept the whole discussion because it is one of the few times I have seen someone be so forthright and detailed about those types of things simply in a forum talking about the subject matter. It was quite the eye opener.

    ...and considering how much heavier this game was marketed god knows what the overall price figure it was before the game even launched.

     

    Also not to forget: the "split" on box price.

    For physical copies, of which about a million were sold, EA/BW do not even get a majority of the box price.

    For most games, the publisher is only going to get 30%-40% of the box price upon sale, based upon the retailer. So that is a LOT less than $60 per box.

    For non-Origin digital sales, (Steam and all the rest) the split is much more generous to the publisher, in the 60-75% range, based on individual agreement, but not 100% there either.

    And even on the Origin ones, it takes a sales commission, as that slice goes into the box for Origin profits (as they have to account for that division, as well).

    Bottom line is that many people greatly over-estimate the revenue back to EA/BW just from box sales...

     

    It's also repported that LA takes 35% for the license, if that comes straight of the top......

  • RocketeerRocketeer NachrodtPosts: 1,304Member
    Originally posted by cutthecrap
    Originally posted by Rocketeer

    100 mil sounds very reasonable. No other game ever had as much TV coverage afaik, atleast here in old europe ...

    100 mil?? What the... lol

    Yeah, sure, perfectly reasonable image

    Look up how much 30 sec of time costs on the big TV networks in prime time. 300k - 4mil depending on amount of viewers, and thast a single spot a single time. I have personally seen the SWTOR spot atleast a dozen times(and i rarely watch TV), and i surmise that it was similar in other countries. There is just no way you get alot of TV coverage for cheap, and a couple of million simply won't get you very far.

  • smh_alotsmh_alot Area 51Posts: 976Member
    Originally posted by Karahandras

    It's also repported that LA takes 35% for the license, if that comes straight of the top......

    That's only after EA/BW has recovered their costs, that was the deal that was talked about in 1 of those interview articles iirc.
    Originally posted by Rocketeer

    Originally posted by cutthecrap
    Originally posted by Rocketeer

    100 mil sounds very reasonable. No other game ever had as much TV coverage afaik, atleast here in old europe ...

    100 mil?? What the... lol

    Yeah, sure, perfectly reasonable b>

    Look up how much 30 sec of time costs on the big TV networks in prime time. 300k - 4mil depending on amount of viewers, and thast a single spot a single time. I have personally seen the SWTOR spot atleast a dozen times(and i rarely watch TV), and i surmise that it was similar in other countries. There is just no way you get alot of TV coverage for cheap, and a couple of million simply won't get you very far.

    Heh, whatever you choose to believe in, mate. Rough guessing is a skill everyone can exert, only if I learn about what the marketing of the other biggest titles of the year are, will I take such extravagant guesses seriously. Until then, scepsis is up. But hey, like said, whatever works for you, mate, if that's how you make your calculations, then sure, ok for you I guess :)
  • cutthecrapcutthecrap nobusinessofyoursPosts: 600Member
    Originally posted by Rocketeer
    Originally posted by cutthecrap
    Originally posted by Rocketeer

    100 mil sounds very reasonable. No other game ever had as much TV coverage afaik, atleast here in old europe ...

    100 mil?? What the... lol

    Yeah, sure, perfectly reasonable image

    Look up how much 30 sec of time costs on the big TV networks in prime time. 300k - 4mil depending on amount of viewers, and thast a single spot a single time. I have personally seen the SWTOR spot atleast a dozen times(and i rarely watch TV), and i surmise that it was similar in other countries. There is just no way you get alot of TV coverage for cheap, and a couple of million simply won't get you very far.

    Hmm. Sure, commercials aren't cheap, but 100m dollars still sounds kinda high, and weird. For that amount of money you can make 2 MMO's.

  • sonoggisonoggi tdot, ONPosts: 1,119Member

    most bang for the buck hands down goes to Global Agenda. i think the game was fairly cheap to produce, and it provided hundreds of hours of fun when it came out.

  • DromedarrDromedarr PraguePosts: 76Member
    Originally posted by davestr1zl
    Originally posted by Bardus

    105 views so far and not a sole has taken a stab at this. I'm kinda surprised TBH or is TOR the only game we have any numbers for? Maybe they thought they were bragging by leaking it?

    No one knows how much TOR cost, nothing was leaked, only speculated.

    Likewise its very unlikely that anyone knows how much the vast majority of games actually cost, so honestly its impossible to compare as it will be comparing one speculation to another.

    200mill, 800 people working on it, 4 countries, confirmed in LA times. Google for link if you dont trust me.

  • AldersAlders Jack Burton'sPosts: 1,857Member Uncommon

    I'm sure producing those CGI trailers wasn't exactly cheap either.  They should have spend 200mil on a 2 hour long feature which i think would have been a hit.

  • DromedarrDromedarr PraguePosts: 76Member
    Originally posted by Alders

    I'm sure producing those CGI trailers wasn't exactly cheap either.  They should have spend 200mil on a 2 hour long feature which i think would have been a hit.

    Yeah, those 3 cinematics, produced by Blur were expensive as f*ck. Add royalties for Star Wars license, Voice over in 3! languages, and marketing (promo, booths on major expos like E3, friday updates etc.) for more than 3 years!

    Probably cost more than paying 800 people working on the game for years.

     

  • smh_alotsmh_alot Area 51Posts: 976Member
    Originally posted by Dromedarr

    Originally posted by davestr1zl
    Originally posted by Bardus
    105 views so far and not a sole has taken a stab at this. I'm kinda surprised TBH or is TOR the only game we have any numbers for? Maybe they thought they were bragging by leaking it?

    No one knows how much TOR cost, nothing was leaked, only speculated.

    Likewise its very unlikely that anyone knows how much the vast majority of games actually cost, so honestly its impossible to compare as it will be comparing one speculation to another.

    200mill, 800 people working on it, 4 countries, confirmed in LA times. Google for link if you dont trust me.

     

    Those were figures that article writer was throwing around, but there has been no confirmation from EA/BW at all. In fact, there has been no reference or other indication at all in that article - no quote, no 'according to' or 'via' - where he got his figures from or whether it was an estimation, a lazy rounding up, a general guess, another source, even if that was the only place where that figure was mentioned. Without all that, it makes those figures dubious and odd.
  • mikahrmikahr ZagrebPosts: 1,066Member

    EALouses 300m BUDGET (not development costs) dont seem way far fetched now.

    Wouldnt be surprised if development costed 200m and marketing had 100m budget.

    Maybe even development dipped into marketing budget.

  • aesperusaesperus Hamshire, NVPosts: 5,128Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Bardus

    It's widely excepted that TOR is the most expensive game ever, but whenever anyone mentions lack of content and features there's always someone that says we can't compare a new game to one that's been live for a lot longer.

    My question is does anyone have the production cost and/or life span cost of other games so we can see who really has the most bang for the buck?

    Unfortunately no. Every company releases their own figures, and some are more questionable than others. There simply isn't an official figure for TOR publicly available that I know of. There are some ballpark figures, but it's still a best guess.

    However, I don't think you really need to know that to get a decent understanding of which games are providing the best 'bang' for their production cost. There's a general understanding of which games are more expensive / less expensive. And it's pretty easy to see how much content each game has to offer. First off, when talking about content, the top runners are going to be themeparks. They live or die by the amount of content they provide. Of that, I would probably place within that list games like WoW, EQ2, DAoC, GW2. All of which have an overwhelming amount of content, and none of which are topping the charts in terms of development costs.
     

    I think there are a couple sandbox games that I would like to include on that list, but in terms of content sandbox games generally have less content, but you get more out of it. Eve is a good example of this.

  • DromedarrDromedarr PraguePosts: 76Member
    Originally posted by smh_alot
    Originally posted by Dromedarr
    Originally posted by davestr1zl
    Originally posted by Bardus

    105 views so far and not a sole has taken a stab at this. I'm kinda surprised TBH or is TOR the only game we have any numbers for? Maybe they thought they were bragging by leaking it?

    No one knows how much TOR cost, nothing was leaked, only speculated.

    Likewise its very unlikely that anyone knows how much the vast majority of games actually cost, so honestly its impossible to compare as it will be comparing one speculation to another.

    200mill, 800 people working on it, 4 countries, confirmed in LA times. Google for link if you dont trust me.

     

    Those were figures that article writer was throwing around, but there has been no confirmation from EA/BW at all. In fact, there has been no reference or other indication at all in that article - no quote, no 'according to' or 'via' - where he got his figures from or whether it was an estimation, a lazy rounding up, a general guess, another source, even if that was the only place where that figure was mentioned. Without all that, it makes those figures dubious and odd.

    I mean, come on... do you honestly think that the game cost only 100mill? that's budget of AAA singleplayer game these days. 2 years of development and marketing. SWTOR got 5 year of development and huge marketing push and biggest voice over porject in history not only games, but entertainment in general!

  • antonatsisantonatsis heraklionPosts: 109Member

    well a lot of random numbers here...so lets speak with acutal ones :P

     

    EA said that with 500.000 subs for over a year they will make a profit,also LA will take 35% of the profi AFTER and ONLY AFTER EA makes the initial investment 

     

    http://www.strategyinformer.com/news/15726/ea-will-make-a-profit-with-star-wars-the-old-republic-lucasarts-take-35

     

    here is the link with the statements so  lets do some basic math

     

    500.000 x 60$ (the box sales)=30.000.000 Millions

    now subs

    500.000 x 15$(subs)=7.500.000/month

    7.500.000 x 12(months)=90.000.000

    so

    90.000.000+30.000.000=120.000.000

    in the first year alone

    since they say that and after that they state about the long term investement in years they expect to make those money in the first year,because they say that a plan for years that will eventually give them aroun 400 million its like a 3-4 year plan with pure profit for them and LA so most probably the game costed around 150.000.000$ thats a 30 million error margin in the numbers :P 

     

    now we know for sure that SWTOR sold 2.1 million copies and it had for 4 months 1.7 million subs so we have the

    (i will not count colectors and such)

    2.100.000*60$=126.000.000$(ops their initial investement

    now we have 

    1.700.000*15(tmonthly income)=25.500.000$

    after that

    25.500.000*4(the months they were taking those money)=102.000.000

    so we have 

    126.000.000+102.000.000=228.000.000

    all of the above not taking the acount of collectors edition and the extra 2 months they have at 1.4million users 

    so its simple

    EA made a shit ton of money and after they made their investment back and saw that the game isnt working and having in mind 35% of EA share they said you know what...not in the top 5 priorities...

     

    They made in 4 months double the money they needed to make in a year to make a profit even if you take working cost and cost of advertising.Now even if their plan was a 2 year and not an one year plan they still made those money (but iam pretty sure they were on a one year plan)

    And its obvious that they gambled on the box sales and it worked...

     

    Also keep in mind that the game was sold more expensive outside of the US so you can add that too since 60 euro are not 60$ :P  and also the digital sales that i really dont know how much they did of that 

     

    (KEEP IN MIND THAT I MIGHT BE TOTALLY FLAWED ON THE NUMBERS BUT ITS THE MOST OFFICIAL WE CAN GET)

     

    EDIT:in the numbers i forgot the free month so its 25 million less BUT i didnt took in acount 2 months so i suppoce it evens up

     

    EDIT 2 : Aslo the number i gave is half they number they were expecting to reach in a multiple year plan(500 million in the quote)So the number they wanted to see OVER MANY YEARS is 500 millions and htey managed to get half that number in 4 months.

  • PyrateLVPyrateLV Las Vegas, NVPosts: 1,096Member Common

    If Trion spent $50 million to make RIFT and half that was marketing. What on earth did Bioware do with the $200+ Million for SWTOR??

     

    I know...

    Tried: EQ2 - AC - EU - HZ - TR - MxO - TTO - WURM - SL - VG:SoH - PotBS - PS - AoC - WAR - DDO - SWTOR
    Played: UO - EQ1 - AO - DAoC - NC - CoH/CoV - SWG - WoW - EVE - AA - LotRO - DFO - STO - FE - MO - RIFT
    Playing: Skyrim
    Following: The Repopulation
    I want a Virtual World, not just a Game.
    ITS TOO HARD! - Matt Firor (ZeniMax)

  • RocketeerRocketeer NachrodtPosts: 1,304Member
    Originally posted by antonatsis

    well a lot of random numbers here...so lets speak with acutal ones :P

     

    EA said that with 500.000 subs for over a year they will make a profit,also LA will take 35% of the profi AFTER and ONLY AFTER EA makes the initial investment 

     

    http://www.strategyinformer.com/news/15726/ea-will-make-a-profit-with-star-wars-the-old-republic-lucasarts-take-35

     

    here is the link with the statements so  lets do some basic math

     

    500.000 x 60$ (the box sales)=30.000.000 Millions

    now subs

    500.000 x 15$(subs)=7.500.000/month

    7.500.000 x 12(months)=90.000.000

    so

    90.000.000+30.000.000=120.000.000

    in the first year alone

    since they say that and after that they state about the long term investement in years they expect to make those money in the first year,because they say that a plan for years that will eventually give them aroun 400 million its like a 3-4 year plan with pure profit for them and LA so most probably the game costed around 150.000.000$ thats a 30 million error margin in the numbers :P 

     

    now we know for sure that SWTOR sold 2.1 million copies and it had for 4 months 1.7 million subs so we have the

    (i will not count colectors and such)

    2.100.000*60$=126.000.000$(ops their initial investement

    now we have 

    1.700.000*15(tmonthly income)=25.500.000$

    after that

    25.500.000*4(the months they were taking those money)=102.000.000

    so we have 

    126.000.000+102.000.000=228.000.000

    all of the above not taking the acount of collectors edition and the extra 2 months they have at 1.4million users 

    so its simple

    EA made a shit ton of money and after they made their investment back and saw that the game isnt working and having in mind 35% of EA share they said you know what...not in the top 5 priorities...

     

    They made in 4 months double the money they needed to make in a year to make a profit even if you take working cost and cost of advertising.Now even if their plan was a 2 year and not an one year plan they still made those money (but iam pretty sure they were on a one year plan)

    And its obvious that they gambled on the box sales and it worked...

     

    Also keep in mind that the game was sold more expensive outside of the US so you can add that too since 60 euro are not 60$ :P  and also the digital sales that i really dont know how much they did of that 

     

    (KEEP IN MIND THAT I MIGHT BE TOTALLY FLAWED ON THE NUMBERS BUT ITS THE MOST OFFICIAL WE CAN GET)

     

    EDIT:in the numbers i forgot the free month so its 25 million less BUT i didnt took in acount 2 months so i suppoce it evens up

     

    EDIT 2 : Aslo the number i gave is half they number they were expecting to reach in a multiple year plan(500 million in the quote)So the number they wanted to see OVER MANY YEARS is 500 millions and htey managed to get half that number in 4 months.

    They said they needed 500k subs, they didn't say for how long and neither did they include how many box sales they needed. The way i took that was to mean that 500k subs would cover the running costs + continued developement of the game + some profit for EA. I mean you have to take into account taxes, running costs of hundreds of servers, continued wages of the people working on the game, rent for buildings for people and serverfarms etc.

    Also there might be other licensing fees included we know nothing about, for codecs and libraries used in the game, also they have to pay for bandwith and a big priority connection to the net. Factor in bills for electricity and other departments of EA wanting their share(Origin sales etc still don't count for 100% since they need to take atleast their operational costs out) you very quickly can reach pretty big numbers pretty fast.

    I think your numbers are very, very optimistic in almost every regard. For example the 1.7 mil subs always included the people in their free 30 days, and with the bad retention they have ... its safe to assume they never had 1.7 paying subs. Probably not much more thab 1 million. Also many of those that are actually on a paying sub(as in beyond the free 30 days) are on plans for less than 15$ per month.

     

    The analyst you linked said he estimates they will need 400k subs just to cover the running costs(after they made back their investment!), thats pretty realistic imho considering 250k-300k subs appears to be edge of survival for MMOs these days.

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