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QUESTIONS ABOUT THE DEVELOPMENT OF SWTOR I'D LIKE TO KNOW

noncleynoncley LondonPosts: 648Member Uncommon

...BUT TO WHICH I WILL PROBABLY NEVER GET AN ANSWER.

1/. When did the game start development? It is rumoured that LA and BW went into partnership as early as DEC 2005 with the failure of the New Game Enhancement in Star wars Galaxy.

2/. If the game did have such a relatively long lead time, why was the game pushed out in such an apparent rush in 2012? And why were so many features that had been long discussed - and would have made the game much richer - dropped? 

  • What were those features?
  • Why were they dropped?
  • Who decided to drop them?
3/. What were the relationships between the three companies involved in the game's production: Bioware, Electronic Arts and Lucas Arts? What are the terms of LA's licensing of the IP to EA|/LA?

4/. How much did the game cost to develop?

5/. How much did the game cost to develop AND advertise/market?

6/. Why did Gordon Walton, the lead developer, leave just six or so months before launch after steering the project for years?

7/. How many boxes and downloaded versions were sold?

8/. How many paying subscribers are there now? How many were there three months ago? How many in January?

9/. How does EA now see the future of this game after an - assumed -  major drop in subscriber numbers which must mean an associated drop in revenues too?

 

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Comments

  • Lille7Lille7 Ljungskile, AKPosts: 301Member

    You will never get a real answer to this, only speculation.

    Sadly.

  • LatronusLatronus Lexington Park, MDPosts: 692Member
    Originally posted by Lille7

    You will never get a real answer to this, only speculation.Sadly.

     

    ^^^ This

    image
  • SentimeSentime Chicago, ILPosts: 272Member

    Woah all CAPS.  Must be important.  Remind me to read it in 3 years.

     

  • DromedarrDromedarr PraguePosts: 76Member

    1) Spring 2006 - Bioware Austin announcement, so it's safe to say 2006

    2) EA pushed it, Every year of marketing cost a lot more money and they started way too early in oct 2008

    features are/were dropped cos of lack of time obviously

    3) You forgot this number :P

    4) nobody knows, I guess around 100 mill 50% of final number

    5) It's not official, but somewhere around 200 mill (Voiceover in 3 languages for MMO, 3 cinematics and huge marketing for 3 years, Star wars license cost a lot of money, then 800 people worked on the game for years)

    6) wait for post-mortem, they are all under NDA for years, so we won't know for a long time

    7) 2.4 mill at launch and it was also a peak for the game, Most active subs were 2mil

    8) Now - under 1.3mil acoording to EA in April (my guess - under 800k and dropping), 1.7 in Feb, more in Jan, 2mil in Dec

    9) 500k paying subs are profitable for EA. We can only guess what's gonna happen if it drops under that. EA can close MMO in a week, as they did with APB 2 years ago and many more like Sims online etc.

  • DeepfallDeepfall ParisPosts: 34Member
    Originally posted by Dromedarr

    1) Spring 2006 - Bioware Austin announcement, so it's safe to say 2006

    2) EA pushed it, Every year of marketing cost a lot more money and they started way too early in oct 2008

    features are/were dropped cos of lack of time obviously

    3) You forgot this number :P

    4) nobody knows, I guess around 100 mill 50% of final number

    5) It's not official, but somewhere around 200 mill (Voiceover in 3 languages for MMO, 3 cinematics and huge marketing for 3 years, Star wars license cost a lot of money, then 800 people worked on the game for years)

    6) wait for post-mortem, they are all under NDA for years, so we won't know for a long time

    7) 2.4 mill at launch and it was also a peak for the game, Most active subs were 2mil

    8) Now - under 1.3mil acoording to EA in April (my guess - under 800k and dropping), 1.7 in Feb, more in Jan, 2mil in Dec

    9) 500k paying subs are profitable for EA. We can only guess what's gonna happen if it drops under that. EA can close MMO in a week, as they did with APB 2 years ago and many more like Sims online etc.

    Warning: The number of paying subs TOR needed to be considered as profitable by EA is taken out of its context. EA said that only one time, and at that moment they were just starting/ hadn't started to spend money in the last marketing campaign. (feb 2011)

    Also, profitability with only 500.000 subscribers would not be reached before years. EA CFO Scott Brown (the person who gave the number) said himself the game was a 10 years plan. I can't find the original interview report, but still have this indirect source.

  • SpottyGekkoSpottyGekko RotterdamPosts: 3,845Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by noncley

    ...BUT TO WHICH I WILL PROBABLY NEVER GET AN ANSWER.

    1/. When did the game start development? It is rumoured that LA and BW went into partnership as early as DEC 2005 with the failure of the New Game Enhancement in Star wars Galaxy.

    2/. If the game did have such a relatively long lead time, why was the game pushed out in such an apparent rush in 2012? And why were so many features that had been long discussed - and would have made the game much richer - dropped? 

    • What were those features?
    • Why were they dropped?
    • Who decided to drop them?

    4/. How much did the game cost to develop?

    5/. How much did the game cost to develop AND advertise/market?

    6/. Why did Gordon Walton, the lead developer, leave just six or so months before launch after steering the project for years?

    7/. How many boxes and downloaded versions were sold?

    8/. How many paying subscribers are there now? How many were there three months ago? How many in January?

    9/. How does EA now see the future of this game after an - assumed -  major drop in subscriber numbers which must mean an associated drop in revenues too?

     

    1/. The deal to make SWTOR must have been in the concept stage as early as E3 2005. That's when Gordon Walton told HeroEngine that he wanted to buy (not license) their game engine for a "special project". Judging by the blog, the sale to Bioware was completed late in 2005.

    Source: http://www.heroengine.com/2011/11/heroengine-meets-starwars/

     

    6/. Gordon Walton was not the lead developer, he was Co-studio GM at Bioware. In other words, he was a "suit" who was in charge of SWTOR at a very high level. Before Bioware, he held positions as executive producer at various game companies including SOE, Maxis, Origin and Kesmai*. He left Bioware for another executive producer job at Playdom ("social" games producer), most likely because he saw it as a good career move.

     

    Footnote: *Kesmai was a company that developed one of the earliest online multiplayer games (Air Warrior) which was launched around 1986. That game was eventually bought by EA in 1999, and they canned it 2 years later ! image

  • JoeyMMOJoeyMMO SomewherePosts: 1,326Member
    Originally posted by Dromedarr

    4) nobody knows, I guess around 100 mill 50% of final number

    Development around $230M.

    5) It's not official, but somewhere around 200 mill (Voiceover in 3 languages for MMO, 3 cinematics and huge marketing for 3 years, Star wars license cost a lot of money, then 800 people worked on the game for years)

    Latest marketing campaign around $50M wouldn't be all that surprising, so around $280M total. Nothing official, but they threw a LOT of money at this gold painted turd of an MMO. I think the guys over at EA don't even want to know what this thing cost them.

     

    imageimage
  • noncleynoncley LondonPosts: 648Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Sentime

    Woah all CAPS.  Must be important.  Remind me to read it in 3 years.

     

    Ummm, it's not all in caps. 

  • AethaerynAethaeryn Kitchener, ONPosts: 1,974Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by noncley
    Originally posted by Sentime

    Woah all CAPS.  Must be important.  Remind me to read it in 3 years.

     

    Ummm, it's not all in caps. 

    The subject line. . I almost hate bumping it to tell you.

    Wa min God! Se æx on min heafod is!

  • KarahandrasKarahandras Sible HedinghamPosts: 1,674Member Uncommon

    Like others have said it's best guestimate.  So your's could be as good as anyones.

    number 2 I think is a very good question, especially if u add in the amount spent to the time it took.

    7.  is an aprox 2.5mil i think

    8. is hard to tell as ea/bio aren't being too honest.  I belive they count anyone with time on thier account as a sub, so I don't put any faith in their numbers.  From what I've seen the 1.7mil number came from the end of december and was everyone that bought the game during it's first month.  The 1.3mil number came when they gave out a load of free time.  I think someone at bioware said they were on their way to a mil subs when they were still counting thaose that had paid a 3 month bundle, so I don't believe they ever hit one mil and probably maxed at around the 750k mark(give or take).  As someone said their operating, continued dev costs required 300-500k subs to cover and there seems to be a good possibility they'll be under this after the 6 month subs are up.  A more interesting question could be how many playing subscribers?

    9.  Looks like swtor is going the same was as war atm.  Unless something major happens

  • raistlinmraistlinm new orleans, LAPosts: 673Member
    Originally posted by noncley

    ...BUT TO WHICH I WILL PROBABLY NEVER GET AN ANSWER.

    1/. When did the game start development? It is rumoured that LA and BW went into partnership as early as DEC 2005 with the failure of the New Game Enhancement in Star wars Galaxy.

    2/. If the game did have such a relatively long lead time, why was the game pushed out in such an apparent rush in 2012? And why were so many features that had been long discussed - and would have made the game much richer - dropped? 

    • What were those features?
    • Why were they dropped?
    • Who decided to drop them?
    3/. What were the relationships between the three companies involved in the game's production: Bioware, Electronic Arts and Lucas Arts? What are the terms of LA's licensing of the IP to EA|/LA?

    4/. How much did the game cost to develop?

    5/. How much did the game cost to develop AND advertise/market?

    6/. Why did Gordon Walton, the lead developer, leave just six or so months before launch after steering the project for years?

    7/. How many boxes and downloaded versions were sold?

    8/. How many paying subscribers are there now? How many were there three months ago? How many in January?

    9/. How does EA now see the future of this game after an - assumed -  major drop in subscriber numbers which must mean an associated drop in revenues too?

     

    I doubt anyone from any of the companies involved are going to reveal this information so get ready for a bunch of weighted conjecture if an answerer likes the game you may get conservative estimates while the haters are going to skew the information to the oposite end.

    as stated we know no one who knows the answers is going to respond to this post with those answers so why even make this post other than to start a flame war?

  • TheCrow2kTheCrow2k Adelaide, AKPosts: 953Member

    Remember all those interviews where devs & marketting people told us the platform was robust and they could add hundreds of new planets & were intending to..... more empyt wasteland planets with the same boring crap to do.

    I doubt it will happen now, this game was such a huge dissapointment for me. Bioware + Star Wars how could that fail ? I guess now we know.

     

    On Question 6) Generally when that happens its usually because the person involved recognises the project will not succeed, that its in serious trouble or due to disagreement with publishers over game direction. The other possibility is he was dismissed and this was just a nicer way of handling it for all concerned.

  • raistlinmraistlinm new orleans, LAPosts: 673Member
    Originally posted by TheCrow2k

    Remember all those interviews where devs & marketting people told us the platform was robust and they could add hundreds of new planets & were intending to..... more empyt wasteland planets with the same boring crap to do.

    I doubt it will happen now, this game was such a huge dissapointment for me. Bioware + Star Wars how could that fail ? I guess now we know.

     

    On Question 6) Generally when that happens its usually because the person involved recognises the project will not succeed, that its in serious trouble or due to disagreement with publishers over game direction. The other possibility is he was dismissed and this was just a nicer way of handling it for all concerned.

    "I don't like this game" doesn't equate to "fail" atleast not in the english language definition of the word so actually we don't know until they actually shutter..... 

  • GravargGravarg Harker Heights, TXPosts: 3,332Member Uncommon

    I don't get where people say this game fails...It's a good game.  It's not the greatest game I've ever played, but it's still good.  All it really is lacking is an endgame.  I've learned to take my time with MMOs now.  I used to be one of the people who would take a week off work and burn through the content to be "OMGZ I R TEH 1ST 50!" or something like that lol.  It's just not fun to play that way.  I think this is where alot of people go wrong in MMOS, they all want to be level 50 (or the highest level in a game)  They forget that the entire point of any MMO is the journey to endgame.  That's why alot of people think the older games like UO and and EQ (and NWN for us really old farts lol).  It's probably true too, the old MMOS took forever to get to the endgame, and you were forced to focus on the journey to there.  Now you can get to endgame in a week.

  • SuperDonkSuperDonk Vancouver, WAPosts: 781Member Common
    Originally posted by Gravarg

      They forget that the entire point of any MMO is the journey to endgame. 

     This is no longer true. If you are a PVPer, you need to level quickly to get to the good pvp and be on the same level as other PVPers. If your into PVE it probably doesn't matter as much I guess.

     

    This is another reason I'm looking forward to GW2, rushing to get end game PVP gear is not nearly as important as it is with most other MMO's. Even us PVPers will be able to stop and smell the roses along the way.

  • GdemamiGdemami Beau VallonPosts: 7,865Member Uncommon


    Originally posted by Deepfall

    Also, profitability with only 500.000 subscribers would not be reached before years.


    2.4M boxes sold + 500k/month subs = 159M revenue within 3 months(very underestimated calculation).

    No need to fail in math more than article you linked...

  • raistlinmraistlinm new orleans, LAPosts: 673Member
    Originally posted by Gravarg

    I don't get where people say this game fails...It's a good game.  It's not the greatest game I've ever played, but it's still good.  All it really is lacking is an endgame.  I've learned to take my time with MMOs now.  I used to be one of the people who would take a week off work and burn through the content to be "OMGZ I R TEH 1ST 50!" or something like that lol.  It's just not fun to play that way.  I think this is where alot of people go wrong in MMOS, they all want to be level 50 (or the highest level in a game)  They forget that the entire point of any MMO is the journey to endgame.  That's why alot of people think the older games like UO and and EQ (and NWN for us really old farts lol).  It's probably true too, the old MMOS took forever to get to the endgame, and you were forced to focus on the journey to there.  Now you can get to endgame in a week.

    As stated in my reply "fail" to this internet generation doesn't actually mean the real definition it means "I don't like it" and only my opinion matters.

    I totally agree with you theres nothing fail about the game or even anything bad about it it simply isn't spectacular to alot of the people who have tried it *shrugs* but of course lately for some reason people can't seem to just deal with the fact that everything isn't made or able to appease them and move on.

    My problem also is the ability to actually hide how much in game time these people spend in the game before hitting that wall.  From wow to lotro to swtor I constantly hear people speak of the ease in having consumed all the content there is to see and it always seems they get to that point like twenty times faster than me which leads me to believe that there may be a great difference in the playstyles of lot's of gamers that devs need to get a handle on after having played the game since launch I haven't even seen ten percent of the flashpoints so i have to wonder how or why these people ravenously gobble up all the content so quickly to then go and act as if they didn't even enjoy it while going through it.

    Maybe it's another new fangled concept I'm too old to understand but in my day if you played a game to max it meant you liked it because if you didn't like it you sure as hell didn't play it til there was nothing else new to do.

  • BardusBardus Cornet, ALPosts: 460Member
    Originally posted by Gravarg

    I don't get where people say this game fails...It's a good game.  It's not the greatest game I've ever played, but it's still good.  All it really is lacking is an endgame.  I've learned to take my time with MMOs now.  I used to be one of the people who would take a week off work and burn through the content to be "OMGZ I R TEH 1ST 50!" or something like that lol.  It's just not fun to play that way.  I think this is where alot of people go wrong in MMOS, they all want to be level 50 (or the highest level in a game)  They forget that the entire point of any MMO is the journey to endgame.  That's why alot of people think the older games like UO and and EQ (and NWN for us really old farts lol).  It's probably true too, the old MMOS took forever to get to the endgame, and you were forced to focus on the journey to there.  Now you can get to endgame in a week.

    For me the whole point of an MMO is to never find that "end game". End game to me means end of game. Who started this end game crap? That's for single player games when we cleared it and the credits roll.

    Am I wrong to think MMOs are about a journey with no destination? Once I got to a destination then what do I do? Start over? Is there to be nothing else? I'm expected to spend months and years going in circles?

    What I found in those older games was leveling was nothing but the tutorial so I can get a feel for the game. I didn't think the game was suppose to even start until after I leveled. Leveling was like a right of passage before I got to play with the big boys. Now it's the whole game because after I level I have to go in circles or start over.

    These new games all have a one way sign and how far it is to the end. Thanks but no thanks, I rather pick my own direction and how and where I want to end it.

    Wonder how many of you are sitting there trying to figure out what the hell I just said. I guess philosophy can be like counting subscriptions. A tricky thing sometimes

    image

  • fadisfadis funkg, GAPosts: 469Member
    Originally posted by Gdemami

     


    Originally posted by Deepfall

     

    Also, profitability with only 500.000 subscribers would not be reached before years.


     

    2.4M boxes sold + 500k/month subs = 159M revenue within 3 months(very underestimated calculation).

    No need to fail in math more than article you linked...

    But when all is said and done - EA probably sees less than 2/3 of the box revenue and who knows how much of the monthly sub revenue. 

    And then there are the continuing monthly costs to run the game... additional development and marketing... are those > monthly revenue?  Beyond just that... is it worth their time to involve X number of talented inviduals in a project that isn't making a substantial profit.. not just keeping its head above water.

    Also... how do you factor the $860 million EA paid for Bioware.... oh yeah.  Sure they have Dragon Age... and Mass Effect... but surely a good portion of that money was intended to be recouped by some TOR profitability?

    Despite some that don't understand the business stating otherwise... SWTOR is on its way to being a pretty epic financial failure.  That's really indisputable.

     

    It's kind of like the company that invested millions in some great new HD CD technology... right as MP3's became the standard. 

  • Don-QuixoteDon-Quixote Sant Pol de MarPosts: 87Member
    Originally posted by Bardus

    Wonder how many of you are sitting there trying to figure out what the hell I just said. I guess philosophy can be like counting subscriptions. A tricky thing sometimes

    Why would anybody consider "philosophy" what you just said. Now, that is tricky.

  • BardusBardus Cornet, ALPosts: 460Member
    Originally posted by Don-Quixote
    Originally posted by Bardus

    Wonder how many of you are sitting there trying to figure out what the hell I just said. I guess philosophy can be like counting subscriptions. A tricky thing sometimes

    Why would anybody consider "philosophy" what you just said. Now, that is tricky.

    Haha, could be.

    image

  • darker70darker70 stokePosts: 813Member


    Originally posted by Bardus

    Originally posted by Gravarg I don't get where people say this game fails...It's a good game.  It's not the greatest game I've ever played, but it's still good.  All it really is lacking is an endgame.  I've learned to take my time with MMOs now.  I used to be one of the people who would take a week off work and burn through the content to be "OMGZ I R TEH 1ST 50!" or something like that lol.  It's just not fun to play that way.  I think this is where alot of people go wrong in MMOS, they all want to be level 50 (or the highest level in a game)  They forget that the entire point of any MMO is the journey to endgame.  That's why alot of people think the older games like UO and and EQ (and NWN for us really old farts lol).  It's probably true too, the old MMOS took forever to get to the endgame, and you were forced to focus on the journey to there.  Now you can get to endgame in a week.
    For me the whole point of an MMO is to never find that "end game". End game to me means end of game. Who started this end game crap? That's for single player games when we cleared it and the credits roll.

    Am I wrong to think MMOs are about a journey with no destination? Once I got to a destination then what do I do? Start over? Is there to be nothing else? I'm expected to spend months and years going in circles?

    What I found in those older games was leveling was nothing but the tutorial so I can get a feel for the game. I didn't think the game was suppose to even start until after I leveled. Leveling was like a right of passage before I got to play with the big boys. Now it's the whole game because after I level I have to go in circles or start over.

    These new games all have a one way sign and how far it is to the end. Thanks but no thanks, I rather pick my own direction and how and where I want to end it.

    Wonder how many of you are sitting there trying to figure out what the hell I just said. I guess philosophy can be like counting subscriptions. A tricky thing sometimes


    Hiya Bardus,funnily enough that is something that bugs the hell out of me in modern games the devs seem to want u to level faster than a bullet train,in the days of yore a humble noob would look up to a higher level player and stare in awe at this godly pixelated vision and wonder how many months even years it would take to achieve perfection.

    But now it's more like grab a noob group up get stupid amounts of XP,and before they know it they are at endgame ala SWTOR,it would be great to invest time in a game and feel that sense of achievement and not be on a fast track themepark ride going in circles for evermore.

    image

  • XAPKenXAPKen Northwest, INPosts: 4,919Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by TheCrow2k

    On Question 6) Generally when that happens its usually because the person involved recognises the project will not succeed, that its in serious trouble or due to disagreement with publishers over game direction. The other possibility is he was dismissed and this was just a nicer way of handling it for all concerned.

     

    That would be my take on it also.  Executive management usually doesn't normally leave that close to project release.  Bioware statement reports the reason as "personal"... a polite way of saying "we're not going to talk about it".


    Ken Fisher - Semi retired old fart Network Administrator, now turned Amateur Game Developer.  I don't Forum PVP.  If you feel I've attacked you, it was probably by accident.  Realm Lords 2 on MMORPG.com
  • darker70darker70 stokePosts: 813Member


    Originally posted by XAPGames
    Originally posted by TheCrow2k On Question 6) Generally when that happens its usually because the person involved recognises the project will not succeed, that its in serious trouble or due to disagreement with publishers over game direction. The other possibility is he was dismissed and this was just a nicer way of handling it for all concerned.
     

    That would be my take on it also.  Executive management usually doesn't normally leave that close to project release.  Bioware statement reports the reason as "personal"... a polite way of saying "we're not going to talk about it".


    Well we have a guy on The Repopulation official forums,he's been ill but he is back and apparently he worked closely with the Bioware devs,he submitted a list of what he and the player base would like to see,now suprise suprise not one feature made it onto the list,also a feature that the testers loved,was canned even though it may have given SWTOR A lifeline,so somewhere something went badly wrong maybe the head guy knew what was comeing and just got out of dodge city,his post makes a great read.

    image

  • MMO_REVIEWERMMO_REVIEWER Harker Heights, TXPosts: 371Member

    HEY I THINK YOU LEFT YOUR CAPS LOCK ON....

    MMO's are the ark of the gaming world. Let it take us in new directions.

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