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Star Wars: The Old Republic business model change

August 1, 2012

It was a bit of a surprise to see that Star Wars: The Old Republic is changing business model so soon as in November this year. On the other hand, the amount of money that and customers the game seems to be bleeding now they will need to do something fast. Competition later this year in the mass-market from Guild Wars 2 is probably not going to help.

Given the amount of subscribers they have seem to lost according to Massively they have lost more subscribers than most games have had at all in the first place. It is still not quite as bad as Age of Conan, but there are still a few months left of this first year of the game. Age of Conan sold about 1 million copies in the first year and retained on average 280K subscribers during that time. SWTOR is still better percentage-wise, but presumably the cost to develop the game was substantially higher than for Age of Conan. Business-wise maybe Age of Conan was a better deal even.

Given the numbers Funcom provided in the earnings report they will be quite profitable with The Secret World even with numbers similar to Age of Conan. Now that about a month has passed since launch we may see some subscriber numbers soon – if they have been doing well and are able to retain players. if not sooner then their earnings report at the end of August should have some indication possibly – at least for pre-launch sales.

  1. August 2, 2012 at 08:38

    I always thought that AOC was a good game. It was a bit too solo-play oriented. It was probably also the first MMO flooded by tourists and butterflies. (locusts weren’t invented yet.) The idea that an MMO peaks at launch, and then plummets was something new at that time, and poor AOC got the bad reputation. No MMO released after AOC has managed to hold my attention as long as AOC did (6 months). Most players that tried AOC left in anger after 6 weeks complaining there was nothing to do. But still a quite substantial group (280k) stayed around for quite a while. AOC was a financial success. Maybe not as big as they hoped, but (apparently) still more than enough to fund a third MMO.

    SWTOR on the other hand lost most of its players long before their first month was over. Of course there are still plenty people that like the game, but my guess it would have gone below 280k. We will never know for sure since the announcement for F2P has already been made. SWTOR is a financial disaster. And more important, unfortunately also a gaming disaster.

    But TSW shows not all is doom and gloom. A whole lot of people are enjoying it. There is only limited doom talk. Probably a lot of tourists and butterflies and locusts have just avoided the game altogether. So the numbers of players won’t drop as dramatic after the first month is over. Instead new people will want to try it out. The good thing about TSW is that you can join any time and not feel you missed the boat completely.

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