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SWTOR needs only 500K subs to be "substantially profitable"

Creslin321Creslin321 Baltimore, MDPosts: 5,359Member

Way back in early 2011, John Ricitello claimed that SWTOR would be "substantially proftiable" with only 500K subs (http://www.gamespot.com/news/star-wars-the-old-republic-needs-only-500k-subscribers-ea-6297338).

Now, fast forward to today, and I'm starting to think this was...well, BS.  I think that the game probably still has at least 500K subs, and yet there have been...

1.  Massive layoffs.

2.  F2P considerations.

3.  Substantial price drops from several retailers.

I really don't see how all this translates into a "substantially proftiable."

Thoughts?  Was Ricitello full of it?  Or are they just anticipating further sub losses?

 

Are you team Azeroth, team Tyria, or team Jacob?

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Comments

  • keithiankeithian Los Angeles, CAPosts: 3,042Member Uncommon

    My thoughts:

    a) Sick and tired of reading another number of subs to profit thread to read the same comments already posted throughout these forums.

    b) If they took any thread that had a conversation about subs and profit and moved them into another folder and left the remaining threads for fans to discuss anything about the game, this General Folder would be just about empty.

    There Is Always Hope!

  • Tawn47Tawn47 LincolnPosts: 512Member
    Originally posted by keithian

    My thoughts:

    a) Sick and tired of reading another number of subs to profit thread to read the same comments already posted throughout these forums.

    b) If they took any thread that had a conversation about subs and profit and moved them into another folder and left the remaining threads for fans to discuss anything about the game, this General Folder would be just about empty.

    Based on these two points, the SWTOR forum is probably not the best place to visit. :)

  • MothanosMothanos ArnhemPosts: 1,860Member Uncommon

    They are lucky if they can maintain a 250k subs at the ende of this year.

    GW2 / TSW / Tera / MoP. its a very hard world out there these days and you need to provide decent stuff for your playerbase or they /uninstal instandly.

     

     

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

    They are lucky if they can maintain a 250k subs at the ende of this year.

    GW2 / TSW / Tera / MoP. its a very hard world out there these days and you need to provide decent stuff for your playerbase or they /uninstal instandly.

     

     

     MoP and GW2 are going to make it tough on swtor, that's for sure. It's hard for me to imagine they get through September without annoucing f2p. The layoffs won't make the conversion to f2p any easier either.

  • TatercakeTatercake Auburn, WAPosts: 279Member

    by levell 5 we were bored to hell here at Chaosmachine

  • jeremyjodesjeremyjodes antioch, ORPosts: 679Member

    I think and feel (speculation here) that EA is done funding this game. it will survive with a new smaller staff or it will sink. they don't care about ohlen or erickson or willam wallace. people who championed the 4th pillar during design document time are going to go away. EA is pissed off and they're getting rid of these devs.

    It can run for a pretty good time on 500k but for all the thing's funding wise it might need to be developed to keep players, that tit has dried up.

    It's maintence mode now or free to play. the latter of course will be tried first. if F2P fails then option one will be a undeniable fact.

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  • JoeyMMOJoeyMMO SomewherePosts: 1,326Member

     Odds of them holding on to 500K subscribers long enough to make a profit while remaining P2P are slim. Maybe a Freemium model can help soften the blow.

    imageimage
  • IsturiIsturi Phoenix, AZPosts: 1,509Member

    Anouther TOR is dead thread. Wow they seem to be the latest flavor of the moment for forum posters. I keep telling you people that TOR is not going no were. Why? AOC, Warhammer, Aion, CoX, LotR and the list goes on and on. If you can open your eyes and take note that these other MMO's are still doing great then what does that mean? That TOR will not DIE anytime soon.

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  • William12William12 Saint paul, MNPosts: 680Member

    Some perspective on the industry and layoffs.

     

    When you're developing an MMO or any game the team you use for that is always oversized. 

    Example.  

    While developing you will have say 10 game designers, but after the game is out and released you only have enough work for 4 so what do you do ?  You certainly don't wanna keep paying 10 people who's work load can be done by 4 do you ?   So you move them to new projects or you lay them off its the nature of the business they're in.  

     

    This is just an example, but a pretty good one and it goes down the line from the top to the bottom of that development staff you move the staff you need into the game staff and the ones you don't get layed off.

  • AtheenahAtheenah UddevallaPosts: 58Member

    Last time i checked, there were 25 servers in total. 500k/25 = 20k/per server.

    Are those servers really crowded by now?

    Just curious, since i unsubbed in january.

     

  • gervaise1gervaise1 .Posts: 2,082Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Creslin321

    Way back in early 2011, John Ricitello claimed that SWTOR would be "substantially proftiable" with only 500K subs (http://www.gamespot.com/news/star-wars-the-old-republic-needs-only-500k-subscribers-ea-6297338).

    Now, fast forward to today, and I'm starting to think this was...well, BS.  I think that the game probably still has at least 500K subs, and yet there have been...

    1.  Massive layoffs.

    2.  F2P considerations.

    3.  Substantial price drops from several retailers.

    I really don't see how all this translates into a "substantially proftiable."

    Thoughts?  Was Ricitello full of it?  Or are they just anticipating further sub losses?

     

    Well fast forward and EA (JR) said that they needed 500k to break even and 1M subs to "make a profit but nothing to write home about". So I have always assumed that the 500k to be substantially profitable was on a day-to-day, forget about repaying the investment basis. Write the development costs off as a loss partly off-set by box sales (no EA do not get $60 or whatever per box).

    For something to kick around: 500k subs x $15 would be $7.5M; assume 1/3 to LA, $3M a month to run the game and that would leave $2M. So $2M profit on $3M of costs and that would make SWTOR "substantially profitable" - hitting the 60-70% figure that EA aim for.

    $3 a month @ 100k per employee (to cover salary, taxes, medical, dental and all employee expenses - servers for techs, software licences for developers, phones, electricity etc.) and that would be enough to cover a team of 300. I think they had more than that but now they may have less. Anyway point is I think that with 500k JR could claim that SWTOR would be substantially profitable.

    Don't think they have 500k though .....

  • TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Arkham, VAPosts: 10,910Member


    Originally posted by Creslin321
    Way back in early 2011, John Ricitello claimed that SWTOR would be "substantially proftiable" with only 500K subs (http://www.gamespot.com/news/star-wars-the-old-republic-needs-only-500k-subscribers-ea-6297338).Now, fast forward to today, and I'm starting to think this was...well, BS.  I think that the game probably still has at least 500K subs, and yet there have been...1.  Massive layoffs.2.  F2P considerations.3.  Substantial price drops from several retailers.I really don't see how all this translates into a "substantially proftiable."Thoughts?  Was Ricitello full of it?  Or are they just anticipating further sub losses? 

    They didn't qualify what substantially profitable meant, and they didn't qualify their expectations for the game's performance. If they set their staffing based on two million subs instead of five hundred thousand subs, then they would have to get rid of people.

    I think what they were saying was, "We can be profitable having less than half the subs we're doing to get, so this is going to make tons of money!"

    I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

  • XthosXthos Columbus, OHPosts: 2,628Member

    I thought the number was closer to maybe 250-350k, but havent played in a bit.  I am from the crowd that thinks they have not made their money back yet (with IP fees and such...).

     

    I don't think anyone will know though, unless someone knows what fee they are paying for the Star Wars IP.  Some have it at 30%, others scoff at that as insane....  The IP fee makes all the difference, it was raised enough on SWG to make Sony fold their game (which was not doing great, but was able to function under the old agreement).

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

    I thought the number was closer to maybe 250-350k, but havent played in a bit.  I am from the crowd that thinks they have not made their money back yet (with IP fees and such...).

     I don't think anyone will know though, unless someone knows what fee they are paying for the Star Wars IP.  Some have it at 30%, others scoff at that as insane....  The IP fee makes all the difference, it was raised enough on SWG to make Sony fold their game (which was not doing great, but was able to function under the old agreement).

     The IP fee was 35 cents to the dollar, but that was only after the initial investment was paid off. LA invested in TOR as well. If EA or LA gets paid first isn't clear at all. It's no doubt a complex agreement, and both parties thought they'd make a ton of money from it.

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  • rdrakkenrdrakken Gotham, FLPosts: 426Member
    Originally posted by William12

    Some perspective on the industry and layoffs.

     

    When you're developing an MMO or any game the team you use for that is always oversized. 

    Example.  

    Snip

     Your example is meaningless to anyone that has been playing MMOs for at least 5 years and your perspective is sorely lacking.

    I cannot think of any other game that layed off so many TOP LEVEL PEOPLE that was not in deep trouble...lower level people is one thing but when top level people are being let go left and right it points to only one thing...massive mistakes and a game in trouble. Hell, even HORIZONS, what can be argued is the single worst MMO launch in history did not let the top people go until the company nearly went bankrupt and they were forced to sell the game to another company.

    This isnt a case of, oh well this managing director was offered a better position someplace else, or hey that guy is going to retire...this is a large group of top level people GONE in a short time and no game in good condition is going to have some many people in CHARGE of the game leaving...this is an MMORPG, the people in charge of the game are the only ones that know WTF is going on in all parts of the design and its future...so losing all those people is going to do nothing but hurt the game even more.

    Perspective, gain some.

  • AirtaeeAirtaee Santa CruzPosts: 84Member
    Originally posted by JoeyMMO
    Originally posted by Xthos

    I thought the number was closer to maybe 250-350k, but havent played in a bit.  I am from the crowd that thinks they have not made their money back yet (with IP fees and such...).

     I don't think anyone will know though, unless someone knows what fee they are paying for the Star Wars IP.  Some have it at 30%, others scoff at that as insane....  The IP fee makes all the difference, it was raised enough on SWG to make Sony fold their game (which was not doing great, but was able to function under the old agreement).

     The IP fee was 35 cents to the dollar, but that was only after the initial investment was paid off. LA invested in TOR as well. If EA or LA gets paid first isn't clear at all. It's no doubt a complex agreement, and both parties thought they'd make a ton of money from it.

    Joey...Can you tell us where the 35% comes from? As i know, SOE and LA negotiated the license as a fixed pay every 3 years. they didnt renew it at 6 months of the next renewal.

    I'm pretty sure LA assured their part of the bussiness as a fixed ammount despite the profit from the game, is what they do with Wizards of the coast, what they do with SOE and pretty sure with EA. If you can provide a link about % of benefits i will be really grateful. 

     

  • OzimandeusOzimandeus Milton KeynesPosts: 84Member Common

    As an Ex Earth and Beyonder... I am always nervous of EA and its 'comitment' to MMORPG.. unless it is very profitable they will look to can it as quickly as possible.

    I'd expect either the game will be lost at some stage in the next couple of years, or will get sold on to someone less focused on mega profits.

    TSW people be warned... EA are not to be trusted!!

     

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  • erictlewiserictlewis Cottondale, ALPosts: 3,026Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Creslin321

    Way back in early 2011, John Ricitello claimed that SWTOR would be "substantially proftiable" with only 500K subs (http://www.gamespot.com/news/star-wars-the-old-republic-needs-only-500k-subscribers-ea-6297338).

    Now, fast forward to today, and I'm starting to think this was...well, BS.  I think that the game probably still has at least 500K subs, and yet there have been...

    1.  Massive layoffs.

    2.  F2P considerations.

    3.  Substantial price drops from several retailers.

    I really don't see how all this translates into a "substantially proftiable."

    Thoughts?  Was Ricitello full of it?  Or are they just anticipating further sub losses?

     

    I don't even think that number is real enough to pay the bills.  They spent 200-300 million making the game.  Even if they did sale 2.4 million copies we know the box was going for 49.95 x 2.4m = 119 million.  That is still far short of paying for the cost of it. Not to mention you only get a certain % of box and mortar sales, and employee salaries and overhead.

    I have to look at the massive layoff, the price drops, the free week ends, now the free to play to level 15, and a possible free to play model in the works points at one thing.  They are not making enough, and they need more folks to come in and get their money. 

    I seen this same thing happen to LOTRO, who actually after they went free to play they stabilized the bleed off from Moria, and turned it around.  Now you see the same kind of warning indicators with swtor.

    Just saying I think they are in trouble all the evidence points to that.

     

  • SovrathSovrath Boston Area, MAPosts: 18,462Member Uncommon

    Well, my thought was that SWToR was never going to have more than 500k or so subs. And that's a good thing.

    Maybe not for EA but there's this idea that if your game doesn't have millions then it's a failure. Of course companies would love millions but outside of WoW and a few f2p asian games, most mmo's don't have millions or even a million.

    Then there is the idea that if the game sold x amount of copies it's a failure if it doesn't retain most of them. Which is also ridiculous as the mmo-scape is dotted with many players who game hop, many players who are looking for "their perfect home", WoW players who are looking for WoW 2.0 and even regular gamers/players who are just looking to try something like an mmo.

    Top that with, in this case, Star Wars Fans who may or may not be gamers and you get a lot of people trying a game that really can only be attractive to a specific audience.

     

  • tawesstawess LkpgPosts: 2,536Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Creslin321

    Way back in early 2011, John Ricitello claimed that SWTOR would be "substantially proftiable" with only 500K subs (http://www.gamespot.com/news/star-wars-the-old-republic-needs-only-500k-subscribers-ea-6297338).

    Now, fast forward to today, and I'm starting to think this was...well, BS.  I think that the game probably still has at least 500K subs, and yet there have been...

    1.  Massive layoffs.

    (this is not uncommon in this day and age with the current economy, and in the gaming industry layoff after a project is done is very common)

    2.  F2P considerations.

    (This is not unexpected as F2P have show to generate more money then subscriptions)

    3.  Substantial price drops from several retailers.

    (Again not uncommon, altho this does indicate that the box sales have dropped of quicker then expected, but that has nothing to do with the game but rather that the retailers might have overstocked on the product in question and need to move the product. Ofc i have not checked if the price is down on Origin too.)

    I really don't see how all this translates into a "substantially proftiable."

    Thoughts?  Was Ricitello full of it?  Or are they just anticipating further sub losses?

     

    How it translates to "substantially proftiable."... Pretty simple, it cost X to produce and maintain the game and Y people paying Z will be enough to pay that and provide a profit. I fail to see what is so hard to understand about it. I think you missed the point. If the people in charge say they need 500K subs to stay afloat then that is what they need. These 500k might be based on a specific size of the live-team and a break point in profit per box sold.

     

    As for free to play... that is just EA's new way of doing things. They have pretty much all of their on-line gaming set in to a F2P model, and SW:ToR does fit very well in to the whole design of F2P so it is not all that strange to me.

  • AwDiddumsAwDiddums Great YarmouthPosts: 397Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by SuperDonk
    Originally posted by Mothanos

    They are lucky if they can maintain a 250k subs at the ende of this year.

    GW2 / TSW / Tera / MoP. its a very hard world out there these days and you need to provide decent stuff for your playerbase or they /uninstal instandly.

     

     

     MoP and GW2 are going to make it tough on swtor, that's for sure. It's hard for me to imagine they get through September without annoucing f2p. The layoffs won't make the conversion to f2p any easier either.

    WoW isn't suddenly going to go up hugely in subs because of MoP, it didn't with the other expansions so why now.

    Totally new MMO's are more likely to impact on those who have grown tired of SWTOR.

    The layoffs, well the company was top heavy, sad to see the talent being sacked but not unexpected.

    I left SWTOR to play other games, TERA and recently TSW, I'm now sticking with just TSW and have now come back to SWTOR, TSW is definately a game I don't have to invest crap loads of time to get anyway in, with it so story driven, just as SWTOR is, and thats the way I like them  =)

  • hikaru77hikaru77 buenos airesPosts: 1,035Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Creslin321

    Way back in early 2011, John Ricitello claimed that SWTOR would be "substantially proftiable" with only 500K subs (http://www.gamespot.com/news/star-wars-the-old-republic-needs-only-500k-subscribers-ea-6297338).

    Now, fast forward to today, and I'm starting to think this was...well, BS.  I think that the game probably still has at least 500K subs, and yet there have been...

    1.  Massive layoffs.

    2.  F2P considerations.

    3.  Substantial price drops from several retailers.

    I really don't see how all this translates into a "substantially proftiable."

    Thoughts?  Was Ricitello full of it?  Or are they just anticipating further sub losses?

     

    Since you know more than EA, LA and BW about how to make money in the game industry, you should make your own game company.  If you dont like the game is ok, but if you really want to see the game fail, sry it wont happen, live with it. or wait till gw2 till you get bored after a week, then come back here to keep talking about swtor is a fail. 

  • ktanner3ktanner3 lakeland, FLPosts: 4,074Member Common
    Originally posted by AwDiddums
     

    WoW isn't suddenly going to go up hugely in subs because of MoP, it didn't with the other expansions so why now.

    Totally new MMO's are more likely to impact on those who have grown tired of SWTOR.

    The layoffs, well the company was top heavy, sad to see the talent being sacked but not unexpected.

    I left SWTOR to play other games, TERA and recently TSW, I'm now sticking with just TSW and have now come back to SWTOR, TSW is definately a game I don't have to invest crap loads of time to get anyway in, with it so story driven, just as SWTOR is, and thats the way I like them 

    Me too. I'm glad that there are at least a few companies willing to take a chance on appeasing this part of the gaming public. 

    TSW is the only game I thought would give TOR troubles seeing as how both are story centric gamnes. FOr me TSW has the edge in atmosphere,AI and the abilities wheel. I love not being forced into any role and can play with all the abiities without having to roll an alt. In TOR, NPcs just stand there waiting to be attacked. In TSW, they move around and even chase you for many blocks. The game is much more difficult which turns off the majority who like everything handed to them on a silver platter. The world just feels so much more alive and dynamic. 

    TOR has the edge in the cutsecenes and dialogue choices. In TSW, your character just stands there while someone is yacking. In TOR, your character can have an actual conversation and you can choose  how to respond.I prefer crafting with my companions plus I just love having one with me when I get in a jam.Plus TOR is much more stable. I've encountered more bugs in my three weeks of playing TSW than I ever had in  six months of playing TOR. I like the combat in TOR better too. TSW combat just doesn't feel right. I'll definetly be coming back when 1.4 hits with the new planet. 

    TERA was a joke and GW2 is going to be the biggest letdown for the folks hoping it to be the next game changer. There's already discontent over on those boards and the game hasn't been released yet. It hasn't stopped their rabid fanatics from taking a dump in other forums which is the only reason I'm looking forward to that game's release. 

    Currently Playing: Star Wars The Old Republic

  • Creslin321Creslin321 Baltimore, MDPosts: 5,359Member
    Originally posted by rdrakken
    Originally posted by William12

    Some perspective on the industry and layoffs.

     

    When you're developing an MMO or any game the team you use for that is always oversized. 

    Example.  

    Snip

     Your example is meaningless to anyone that has been playing MMOs for at least 5 years and your perspective is sorely lacking.

    I cannot think of any other game that layed off so many TOP LEVEL PEOPLE that was not in deep trouble...lower level people is one thing but when top level people are being let go left and right it points to only one thing...massive mistakes and a game in trouble. Hell, even HORIZONS, what can be argued is the single worst MMO launch in history did not let the top people go until the company nearly went bankrupt and they were forced to sell the game to another company.

    This isnt a case of, oh well this managing director was offered a better position someplace else, or hey that guy is going to retire...this is a large group of top level people GONE in a short time and no game in good condition is going to have some many people in CHARGE of the game leaving...this is an MMORPG, the people in charge of the game are the only ones that know WTF is going on in all parts of the design and its future...so losing all those people is going to do nothing but hurt the game even more.

    Perspective, gain some.

    Pretty much...I think that anyone who believe that SWTOR isn't in dire straits is in denial.  That said, I'm not trying to make the game fail or anything, from my perspective, the game has already failed to the point where other devs won't be following its example.  So at this point, I would be fine with the game actually gaining some subs.

    All I was trying to say with this post was that I felt like Ricitello and friends sold us a false bill of goods with their BS marketing prior to release.  The 500K subs was one thing, and the "200 unique hours of gameplay per class" was another.  These two "facts" were constantly brought up prior to SWTOR's release to indicate how great the game would be, and how it would be fine even with a low number of subs.

    I always thought they were BS, and now, well it's more or less proven.  Basically, I don't like being lied to, and I wanted to take this opportunity to point our Ricitello's BS.

    Are you team Azeroth, team Tyria, or team Jacob?

  • gervaise1gervaise1 .Posts: 2,082Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by lizardbones

     


    Originally posted by Creslin321
    Way back in early 2011, John Ricitello claimed that SWTOR would be "substantially proftiable" with only 500K subs (http://www.gamespot.com/news/star-wars-the-old-republic-needs-only-500k-subscribers-ea-6297338).

     

    Now, fast forward to today, and I'm starting to think this was...well, BS.  I think that the game probably still has at least 500K subs, and yet there have been...

    1.  Massive layoffs.

    2.  F2P considerations.

    3.  Substantial price drops from several retailers.

    I really don't see how all this translates into a "substantially proftiable."

    Thoughts?  Was Ricitello full of it?  Or are they just anticipating further sub losses?

     

     



    They didn't qualify what substantially profitable meant, and they didn't qualify their expectations for the game's performance. If they set their staffing based on two million subs instead of five hundred thousand subs, then they would have to get rid of people.

    I think what they were saying was, "We can be profitable having less than half the subs we're doing to get, so this is going to make tons of money!"

     

    Agree about them not qualifying what substantially profitable meant - although  in the context of their reporting EA are implying 60-70%.

    JR did however give some insight into what EA expected after they announced 1.3M subs. In an interview after the results conference he said that they had planned on 1.2M when they bought "Bioware" and hence the 1.3M was better than planned. My take would be 1.2M sustained but he didn't say for how long for so .. shrug. 

    And as 1M was "to make a profit but nothing to write home about" then the planned figure would have to be higher than 1M. 

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