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Star Wars: The Old Republic

Star Wars: The Old Republic 

General Discussion  » ToR A...Success?

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89 posts found
  Zhauric

Apprentice Member

Joined: 7/02/07
Posts: 294

 
OP  5/24/12 10:43:10 AM#1

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.

 

http://torwars.com/2012/05/23/open-t...lled-republic/


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.

 

  Ramanadjinn

Hard Core Member

Joined: 8/08/11
Posts: 1304

5/24/12 10:50:02 AM#2

I would imagine one would have to be pretty dense to think they would spend the kind of money they spent without a solid and sober plan. Many people speak of SWTOR as if Bioware/EA expected it to be as successful as WOW and anything short of that would be a loss.  The fact of the matter is noone would put that kind of money into a project that wasn't going to be profitable on the low end of sales.

  Wickedjelly

Novice Member

Joined: 4/19/09
Posts: 5064

The Dude abides

5/24/12 10:51:34 AM#3

Guy has no idea what he's talking about. The fact he thinks Bioware gets $60 per game they sell pretty much says it all right there. Anyone that doesn't even realize that isn't the case can hardly be taken seriously. Not that I know the exact figure but I know enough to know that isn't how it works. Retailers don't sell a company's game for charity.

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.

  WhiteLantern

Novice Member

Joined: 1/27/10
Posts: 2778

5/24/12 10:52:39 AM#4

Interestingly enough, on a recent boring road-trip I started doing calculations in my head about TOR's income. My conclusions were pretty much the same with only a minor change: I'm pretty sure they said they had sold over 2 million copies at the same time they announced the 1.7m sub number (which, btw, was before the Oceanic launch).

 

I do think they are close to, if not already, making small profit on this one. Not the kind of monies a publisher like EA wants, and probably so small that it facilitated the recent layoffs.

 

So, I may be the only one here that agrees with his numbers, but I do think he's close.

I want a mmorpg where people have gone through misery, have gone through school stuff and actually have had sex even. -sagil

  RodimusPrime

Novice Member

Joined: 4/13/12
Posts: 117

5/24/12 10:53:15 AM#5
Originally posted by Wickedjelly

Guy has no idea what he's talking about. The fact he thinks Bioware gets $60 per game they sell pretty much says it all right there. Anyone that doesn't even realize that isn't the case can hardly be taken seriously. Not I know the exact figure but I know enough to know that isn;t how it works. Retailers don't sell a company's games for charity.

 Well he rolled in the CE and DDE as $60 as well. The DDE was pure profit with no middle men or manufacturing costs.

  Ambros123

Novice Member

Joined: 12/04/11
Posts: 891

5/24/12 10:56:27 AM#6
Originally posted by Ramanadjinn

I would imagine one would have to be pretty dense to think they would spend the kind of money they spent without a solid and sober plan. Many people speak of SWTOR as if Bioware/EA expected it to be as successful as WOW and anything short of that would be a loss.  The fact of the matter is noone would put that kind of money into a project that wasn't going to be profitable on the low end of sales.

It's called risk investment.  There are plenty of other instances in the real world where people shelled out shit tons of money expecting a gigantic profit.  One word describes the people behind SWTOR.... pure ARROGANCE as they were so sure that their games would be the greatest thing since slice bread.

But to address the thread, SWTOR is and will be profitable.  Might not be zounds of profit that they expected but a profit none-the-less.

  Wickedjelly

Novice Member

Joined: 4/19/09
Posts: 5064

The Dude abides

5/24/12 10:57:51 AM#7
Originally posted by RodimusPrime
Originally posted by Wickedjelly

Guy has no idea what he's talking about. The fact he thinks Bioware gets $60 per game they sell pretty much says it all right there. Anyone that doesn't even realize that isn't the case can hardly be taken seriously. Not I know the exact figure but I know enough to know that isn;t how it works. Retailers don't sell a company's games for charity.

 Well he rolled in the CE and DDE as $60 as well. The DDE was pure profit with no middle men or manufacturing costs.

 Regardless the hard copies sold weren't nor were any digital downloads sold via other outlets

Don't get me wrong. I would say the same about someone trying to prove the game was a failure with imaginary numbers as well.

He makes a lot of assumptions. Which is fine. Rather dumb though to call the other ones out for it when he does it himself.

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.

  Wolvards

Apprentice Member

Joined: 1/27/12
Posts: 674

5/24/12 11:02:29 AM#8
Originally posted by Wickedjelly
Originally posted by RodimusPrime
Originally posted by Wickedjelly

Guy has no idea what he's talking about. The fact he thinks Bioware gets $60 per game they sell pretty much says it all right there. Anyone that doesn't even realize that isn't the case can hardly be taken seriously. Not I know the exact figure but I know enough to know that isn;t how it works. Retailers don't sell a company's games for charity.

 Well he rolled in the CE and DDE as $60 as well. The DDE was pure profit with no middle men or manufacturing costs.

 Regardless the hard copies sold weren't nor were any digital downloads sold via other outlets

Don't get me wrong. I would say the same about someone trying to prove the game was a failure with imaginary numbers as well.

Completely agree, but i do think $60 on AVERAGE for bioware is a semi-fair number, maybe more around 50-55 but still, with estimated box sales at or aruond 2mill, using 1.7 mill at $60 is fair no?

The "Youtube Pro": Someone who watches video's on said subject, and obviously has a full understanding of what is being said about such subject.

  Wickedjelly

Novice Member

Joined: 4/19/09
Posts: 5064

The Dude abides

5/24/12 11:07:36 AM#9
Originally posted by Wolvards

Completely agree, but i do think $60 on AVERAGE for bioware is a semi-fair number, maybe more around 50-55 but still, with estimated box sales at or aruond 2mill, using 1.7 mill at $60 is fair no?

 Depends on how many were sold via third party versus directly from them. Hard to say.

Anyways, I don't think anyone disputes initial sales for this game were fantastic. I mean how the hell could you? With many I believe the question is in their retention rates and where are those at. We also at this point have no idea if the population has reached a plateau yet. Very debatable as to whether it has or not at this point.

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.

  IPolygon

Advanced Member

Joined: 11/20/11
Posts: 702

5/24/12 11:08:06 AM#10

Some devs refrain from revealing sales figures to avoid such arguments and focus discussions on the actual game and it's quality. Some players refrain from posting on forums, because they are actually busy playing the game. Financially SWTOR will be or is alreay a success. If finances are the only thing the community is worrying about, they have nothing to fear.

  Myria

Apprentice Member

Joined: 5/07/09
Posts: 535

5/24/12 11:09:59 AM#11

It's a fairly well reasoned and reasonable post. Sadly reason does not really have a seat at the table where discussions of ToR are involved. Personally I don't get it, but there is a level of irrational rage against this game that I've never before seen -- has been since well before the game was released. Me, I subbed, leveled a couple of characters, got bored, unsubbed -- just as I have with countless other MMOs. But a lot of people, for reasons that escape me, act as though EA came to their house, raped their sister, killed their dog, and beat them with a baseball bat. The hatred it palpable, personal, and tosses all hint of rationality out the window.

In any event, to the best of anyone's knowledge ToR is currently the second most successful Western AAA MMO out there. Calling it a failure and talking about how it'll be shut down or F2P (the latter, frankly, is plain not going to happen) any minute now is idiocy to the point of being pathological. Will it continue to be successful? Who knows, reading tea leaves has never resulted in very reliable answers and only Bioware/EA has the real numbers.

ToR is the only AAA MMO I know of, aside from WoW, where they are legally bound to release truthful sub numbers -- the ravings of armchair MMORPG.com stock analysts and conspiracy nuts aside. Kind of amusing how with both WoW and ToR good numbers are always disbelieved, but when either releases bad news it's gospel.

If ToR fails, if subs continue to drop, you'll know it, simple as that. It'd be nice if people were smart enough to wait until then to have their "told ya' so" rants, rather than risk being seen as the mental midgets they are if the game continues to do well.

  lizardbones

Elite Member

Joined: 6/11/08
Posts: 10575

I've become dependent upon spell check. My apologies for stupid grammatical errors.

5/24/12 11:41:53 AM#12

Makes sense. As long as the game is profitable, it's successful.

What I consider 'really succesful' is where the game causes more stuff to be developed or the game finances additional development on new games. WoW, Rift, AoC and Champions Online fall into this category. A strange group to be sure. WoW created a template for future MMORPG and also financed SCII and D3. Rift financed two additional games, an RTS and an MMOFPS. AoC financed the development of TSW and Champions Online made STO possible. I will allow that CO's success is dubious at best, but it's been really successful by making money and financing future development. STO might even fall in this category when NeverWinter releases, though I'd bet the bulk of that is Champions Online. Eve is just successful for now, until WoD releases, then it'll be really successful.

I don't see SWToR creating a template for future games, and given the amount of money spent on it, I don't think it's going to finance development of future games directly. So they are successful (making money), but not really successful.

For every large, complex problem, there is a simple, clear solution that also happens to be absolutely wrong.

  tordurbar

Advanced Member

Joined: 5/02/10
Posts: 398

5/24/12 11:50:50 AM#13

The OP forgets one very important thing - Bioware only gets a PORTION of the profits. I wish I could find the link to the article where they mention that LucasArts takes up to 40% of the profit from SWTOR. This is why the game is only in the top 10 and not top 5. Compare that to WOW where Blizzard takes ALL of profits. From my experience with paper rpg's I can believe that LucasArts is demanding a hefty price for SWTOR. I watched  two paper rpg companies go broke after they got the Star Wars license (West End and Wizards of the Coast). [Yes Star Wars was not the only factor but it was a big one against profit.]

  superniceguy

Elite Member

Joined: 2/17/07
Posts: 2277

NGE, LOTRO, STO, KOTOR, Lego Star Wars > NGE 2 (SWTOR). SWG>ALL. Above hopefully subject to change.

5/24/12 11:57:59 AM#14
Originally posted by Myria

It's a fairly well reasoned and reasonable post. Sadly reason does not really have a seat at the table where discussions of ToR are involved. Personally I don't get it, but there is a level of irrational rage against this game that I've never before seen -- has been since well before the game was released. Me, I subbed, leveled a couple of characters, got bored, unsubbed -- just as I have with countless other MMOs. But a lot of people, for reasons that escape me, act as though EA came to their house, raped their sister, killed their dog, and beat them with a baseball bat. The hatred it palpable, personal, and tosses all hint of rationality out the window.

In any event, to the best of anyone's knowledge ToR is currently the second most successful Western AAA MMO out there. Calling it a failure and talking about how it'll be shut down or F2P (the latter, frankly, is plain not going to happen) any minute now is idiocy to the point of being pathological. Will it continue to be successful? Who knows, reading tea leaves has never resulted in very reliable answers and only Bioware/EA has the real numbers.

ToR is the only AAA MMO I know of, aside from WoW, where they are legally bound to release truthful sub numbers -- the ravings of armchair MMORPG.com stock analysts and conspiracy nuts aside. Kind of amusing how with both WoW and ToR good numbers are always disbelieved, but when either releases bad news it's gospel.

If ToR fails, if subs continue to drop, you'll know it, simple as that. It'd be nice if people were smart enough to wait until then to have their "told ya' so" rants, rather than risk being seen as the mental midgets they are if the game continues to do well.

With SWG closing down the way it did -replaced by SWTOR as opposed to beng dead and died off naturally, I hold more resentment to LA for that, although EA is a bit due to rumours that they had a contract which did not allow SWG to run alonside SWTOR.

The game was still being updated, and the GCW space update came in after the shut down announcement. If SOE knew the game was being shut down in 2012, they would have put it into maintenance mode, and moved staff over to other games like Vanguard which only had 2 servers and no updates in a year or two, and SWG would survive quite a long time in maintenance mode, and  better than SWTOR, as the game provides many systems for the players to create their own content. 

In 8 years I dumped over $10,000 into SWG and I created loads of characters, and with the closure, they all got killed. I suppose virtual characters is better than a breathing animal, but to think of all the other stuff I could have done instead or invested my money in. So with that I do have negativity towards SWTOR. But this reason is not the main reason why the majority are quitting or not having anything to do with it.

I am a Star Wars fan, a Bioware Fan, I have gotten an addiction to MMOs, and SOE have annoyed me to no end. so SWTOR would be the perfect game? No

The fact that it is restrictive and not at all as open as any MMO out there, including WOW itself, and especially SWG. I really do not like SWTOR as P2P MMO, and with SWG closing and SWTOR being a cash cow, companies are now taking the cake, and taking people for a ride, and making monkeys out of people, and stealing their money.

Only the intelligent people realise that this game is a failure, as it can easily be seen by all the dead servers. The fact that people are quitting is because there is not much to do when you hit 50. Even if they reduced servers, I bet they would have to reduce servers again within a few months time.

If the game was profitting, I do not see them giving out free trials constantly every (other) weekend. The point of giving away free weekends, is they have nothing to lose by it, and hope that people will like the game and sub to it, to replace those who are quitting. If it was a success / profitting people would not be losing their jobs over it and it dropping down in priority. Actions are speaking louder than figures (which are not even known accurately)

The game is great for a few months, it is not great for long term enjoyment, which is pretty much like an above average single player game lifespan, but rock bottom for a P2P MMO supposedly said to last 10 years.

As I said in another post, SWTORs current success is only superficial. It has been advertised for 3 years, and that is a long time to get peoples interest, and attract a lot of people into buying it. It is made by Bioware with almost 100% success rate, with the exception of DA2, and KOTOR was the last best Star Wars game, and won many awards in 2003. Also with the knowledge of $300 million to make, it was going to be a guaranteed success.

The only sucess that SWTOR has had so far, is in fooling 2 million people that it was going to be the perfect MMO before anyone had the chance to play it. Most people are stiill playing because they have bought the game, and want to get the most out of it. Myself included. It still does not change the fact that it is pathetic for a P2P MMO. The rest have just cut their losses

If the game started off with 300k subs and rose to 2 million, or sustained the 2 million then I would call it the 2nd most succesfull MMO

  Dkompoze

Elite Member

Joined: 2/01/06
Posts: 221

5/24/12 12:02:53 PM#15

I thought a game succeeding would consist of  growth and exspansion. Not downsizing.  Is their an active pop? Sure. Is it slowly dwindiling?Sure. Will it take a really hard hit with upcoming releases of WOW exp,TSW,and GW2? You bet.

This game is going to lose so many people when the new games come out i think it will have trouble staying afloat. No one has anything else to play atm,so they are staying in SWTOR, but when these new games arrive its gonna hurt SWTOR badly.

 Someone has to put info out trying to convince the public they are doing good,sounds sketchy to me.

  David_Lopan

Novice Member

Joined: 9/07/10
Posts: 815

"There is no progress. Everything is the same as it was. Form changes. The essence does not." RLS

5/24/12 12:06:58 PM#16

I think EA/BW is making money on this, just not as much as they planned, which may be a good thing. Maybe they will have to drastically make it better to substain a decent sub count.

  superniceguy

Elite Member

Joined: 2/17/07
Posts: 2277

NGE, LOTRO, STO, KOTOR, Lego Star Wars > NGE 2 (SWTOR). SWG>ALL. Above hopefully subject to change.

5/24/12 12:14:23 PM#17
Originally posted by Aquazen

I think EA/BW is making money on this, just not as much as they planned, which may be a good thing. Maybe they will have to drastically make it better to substain a decent sub count.

Actually they probably are making money now that they have laid off staff - no salaries to be paid!

To make it drastically better they will have to invest more money into it, and if what they do is not good enough, and subs continue to decline, then will be more money down the drain.

  Valentina

Apprentice Member

Joined: 5/28/06
Posts: 1661

5/24/12 12:20:34 PM#18

The game's a success, it's a good article with a couple of small oversights but overall it doesn't amount to much of a difference. EA/BioWare stated if they launched the game, and maintained 500k subscribers they would be well within the profitable territory for the game. They said this years ago, and they said this recently. The game has 1.3 million subscribers right now, probably a little less for the time being all things considered although I doubt within 1 month they lost 300k, it's safe to say they're well over 1 million paying customers. The game's been out for several months now, combine those monthly earnings and you'd be silly and flat out wrong to think they weren't successful from a commercial and financial standpoint.

 

On the note of layoffs, which surprisingly doesn't seem to concern most people and rightfully it shouldn't. They had hundreds of people on the development team world-wide that they don't need anymore now that the game is launched. I know that they've pretty much kept almost everybody that both develops and programs content for the game. They mostly laid off QA people, I know because one of my friends was one of them, but they didn't lose many people outside of those departments and the reason they did that was because with MMO's, the players pretty much do QA for the company after release, so they actually kept them on far longer than necessary, not all QA is gone but an entire team in that department is. Outside of QA they got rid of people that handled pre-launch details that they no longer need and many other positions that are pretty much void for a launched MMO. This happens with every single studio that launches every single MMO, I've got 1 friend left at BioWare and the other which I just mentioned was laid off and both told me that the layoffs are not significant like the some of the headlines on the subject would lead you to believe, considering an enormously substantial % of the development team is still intact and secure for the games ongoing development. You have to consider that they've developed many things for this game well into, and a little bit past 2013. Many of those people are not needed anymore, and were hired specifically for SW:TOR. The rest of the people who worked on things such as story development are people from the Dragon Age and Mass Effect teams, who's jobs were pretty much finished long before launch and were sent back to their respective teams and locations before SW:TOR even launched.

  Mishakai

Novice Member

Joined: 4/27/12
Posts: 106

5/24/12 12:21:05 PM#19

Seems like the person who wrote this is confused in the difference between a financial success for the publishing company, and success in the context of a long term playable game that is either growing or stabilized in subsription numbers.

Yeah, EA/BioWare has most likely recouped a majority of their money, good for them, however that doesn't mean that SWTOR is now all of a sudden a long term winner so to speak.

And I love the people who claim the layoffs are either good, or nothing to be worried about as it is normal practice in the software industry... cough.. yeah right.. cough.. Everybody knows that had they been able to retain the ~2 million or so who purchased the game, they would be hiring more developers to get working on expansions.

  Excession

Hard Core Member

Joined: 11/16/06
Posts: 351

Political correctness is tyranny with manners

5/24/12 12:23:34 PM#20

Is SW:ToR a success, well, that depends on your definition of success.

If you define it by purely financial means, before ToR launched, EA claimed they only needed 500k subs to be profitable, so 500k subs or more would be seen as a success.

If you base it solely on how you personally like the game, well, what you think is true for you, but not for the game.

If you base it on the people still playing the game, then people are still playing the game, so it must be a success, right?

The thing is, success, or lack thereof, is such a hard thing to define, sure, we can all give our own individual reason as to why the game is a success, or a failure, for us, but that is just for us.

On the whole, while the game may not have sold as many box's as some people hoped it would, or thought it would, and while it may not have as many subs as some hoped it would, or thought it would, and even though for many it is the game they love to hate, the fact is people are still playing it, the servers have not been shut down, they are still adding content, which I think makes the game a success (even though I am not playing it).

A creative person is motivated by the desire to achieve, not the desire to beat others.

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