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Star Wars: The Old Republic

Star Wars: The Old Republic 

General Discussion  » SWTOR over 500K subs as for July 31, 2012.

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207 posts found
  Adiaris

Novice Member

Joined: 10/12/08
Posts: 382

8/01/12 9:54:25 AM#101
One common reason is to avoid a hostile takeover... Very rarely repeated buyback is a good sign. It can be, but it has to be a specific situation. What I see with EAs buybacks given its terrible stock performance is an attempt in the short term to create confidence, coupled with the need to not fragment or disperse shares... At least that's what I'm seeing. Obviously most companies will say, if asked, that "there currently isn't any better investment out there than ourselves." I've said it so often myself I think I used to mutter it in my sleep! edit: bah ipad. i was quoting someone but it didn't like it...
  Tensor25

Novice Member

Joined: 12/11/07
Posts: 72

8/01/12 9:54:53 AM#102

I love it. So many holes in so many arguments.

There has been much moaning and groaning over the past few months that EA wouldn't give subscription figures. Heck, there was even a thread on here using a stastistical comparison between Xfire numbers and SWTOR subscriptions. Now EA gives you an idea (Less than 1MM but greater than 500M) and you STILL don't believe it. What is the magic number that would make you believe them? Is it 0? Would 0 make you feel better? At this point why would they lie? obviously the FTP model was not the plan all along. The plan was to have 10MM people subscribing monthly. So yes, the FTP is some sort of admission that things did not go as well as they had planned. Bravo to all you gumshoes out there who solved this mystery.

You really think this will break EA?  Would a company with this much experience in the industry really rely on one game to "make or break" them. News flash they already "made" it. Sure it stings to have a game of this size fall short of expectations, however as mentioned in a previous post, there are plenty of other titles out there to carry this company. Would a company of this magnitude really not have a contingency plan? Would they not take into consideration that they are getting into a highly competitive industry? No, you're right, they probably over looked all of that and made the assumption they would instantly make billions of dollars.

The "Goldman Sachs" argument about them hinting at fudging numbers is one i really had to laugh at. How's that saying go? Something to do with Pot, kettle, and black. Just go ahead and type Goldman Sachs in google and take a look at all the "fraud" and "insider" trading articles that come up. Not to mention the recent Facebook fiasco where Goldman made a nice profit while the common folk lost their shirts. Credible source? Very questionable. Goldman is notorious for calling something a piece of crap to drive down price only to scoop up again at bargain prices. This is their business. They don't look out for small time investors, they look out for themselves.

Some of you really need to step it up a bit here. This is really just common sense.

I just don't understand how so many of you take the extreme negative side of everything and latch on to these weak arguments

Yes, the subscription numbers are  not going as planned, and they may lose some cash on this one. All I know is i logged in last night and saw 10 "very heavy" server statuses even with this announcement out. To me this means there is a pretty solid core of players still interested in this game, and we may see a few come back now that 1-50 is free.

 

  Ringbus

Novice Member

Joined: 1/15/12
Posts: 32

8/01/12 10:04:37 AM#103
Originally posted by Tensor25

Now EA gives you an idea (Less than 1MM but greater than 500M) and you STILL don't believe it.  

 

Everyone 'believes' that, yes, EA has somewhat more than 500k things they call 'subscriptions'.

EA has never given out actual paying subscribers. The only number that actually matters.

 

  gervaise1

Elite Member

Joined: 1/17/07
Posts: 1227

8/01/12 10:10:42 AM#104
Originally posted by Gdemami

 


Originally posted by gervaise1

 

Doesn't follow.

 


 

Why not? They just did what I said suggested EA is doing.


Or do you have any other explanation why Radioshack sunk 2.4B USD on their shares?

The management believed that their shares were a good bet apparently; lots of great things to come. As it transpires profits etc. have continually declined and all the stock buy backs have not helped the sahre price. Shareholders would have been better off if Radioshack hadn't bothered and had simply paid a dividend.

The point being that just because EA is buying back its shares doesn't mean that the future will be bright. And in the past - and presumably in this case - they have been using bonds (borrowed money) to fund the buy-backs.

  Gdemami

Elite Member

Joined: 9/23/08
Posts: 6908

8/01/12 10:11:23 AM#105


Originally posted by Adiaris
One common reason is to avoid a hostile takeover... Very rarely repeated buyback is a good sign. It can be, but it has to be a specific situation. What I see with EAs buybacks given its terrible stock performance is an attempt in the short term to create confidence, coupled with the need to not fragment or disperse shares... At least that's what I'm seeing. Obviously most companies will say, if asked, that "there currently isn't any better investment out there than ourselves." I've said it so often myself I think I used to mutter it in my sleep!

edit: bah ipad. i was quoting someone but it didn't like it...


Yeah. Also it is a good way how to burn your cash if you have nothing better to do with your money.

  tuppe99

Advanced Member

Joined: 12/16/05
Posts: 250

8/01/12 10:17:16 AM#106
Originally posted by Tensor25

 

Yes, the subscription numbers are  not going as planned, and they may lose some cash on this one. All I know is i logged in last night and saw 10 "very heavy" server statuses even with this announcement out. To me this means there is a pretty solid core of players still interested in this game, and we may see a few come back now that 1-50 is free.

 

I am personally happy for the people that do enjoy the game. But for someone like me, that don't like how the game is on rails and does not have decent end-game (again, for me), I am quite happy that it was a failure even in the eyes of the developer.

This will hopefully get  the message out to developers that if they decide to venture into MMO development, that they first make sure that they understand what a MMO actually is.

 

  Atlan99

Advanced Member

Joined: 8/07/08
Posts: 1355

8/01/12 10:19:28 AM#107
Originally posted by Ringbus
 

Nope.

EA will never recover the money wasted on the SWTOR fiasco. Let alone the money they wasted on Bioware.

Unfounded assertion. If you can get some numbers to back this up I would like to see them.

The only way anyone could still be under that delusion are clueless people who still think:

EA profits = shelf price x boxes sold + some absurdly inflated active paying sub number x $15.

This is a boatload of money.( 2.38 million x 50 = 119 million.)+ (7 months x 0.5 million x 15 = 52.5 million) =171.5 million dollars. Which means SWTOR quite possibly could have already turned a profit.

SWTOR peaked at some 640 employees on the team. Even with the 200 or so layoffs so far, the SWTOR team is still absurdly large and costly for a MMORGP that most likely only has some 200k or active paying subs.

Do you have actual numbers for SWTOR employees or are you guessing?

Monthly overhead for the SWTOR team salary alone is roughly:

Team size x average team salary x 1.5 / 12 dollars a month

Average salary is most likely somewhere in the 50-100k a year range,

How many janitors, cleaning ladies and call centre personnel do you know that make this kind of money? Do you have any idea how many employees works on SWTOR? Do you have any facts to prove it? Do you know how mancy people work in their call center? Is it outsourced?

1.5 is the usualy estimate of base salary to actual amount an employee costs a company due to medical benefits, stock options, 401k, management overhead, etc.

Divide everything by 12 to get the monthly burn rate just for employees.

EA is probably still burning 2-3 million a month just on the SWTOR team right now. And then add on the costs to run the data centers, non-development employees like customer service, etc.

If they are spending 3 millions month on SWTOR as you assert. They would still be pulling in 12 million a month after employees are paid for. This is why it's nice to do some basic math before making claims.

The SWTOR team is going to need more drastic cuts to get down to some reasonable skeleton crew size that other F2P games have. 

TLDR. You have no basis for any of your claims. Nor evidence to back it up. From what we do know it looks like SWTOR is likely close to or already making money for EA.

  Gdemami

Elite Member

Joined: 9/23/08
Posts: 6908

8/01/12 10:22:27 AM#108


Originally posted by gervaise1

The management believed that their shares were a good bet apparently; lots of great things to come. As it transpires profits etc. have continually declined and all the stock buy backs have not helped the sahre price. Shareholders would have been better off if Radioshack hadn't bothered and had simply paid a dividend.

The point being that just because EA is buying back its shares doesn't mean that the future will be bright. And in the past - and presumably in this case - they have been using bonds (borrowed money) to fund the buy-backs.


That still offer no other explanation for their move as I expressed so I do not see the your point.

  Valua

Apprentice Member

Joined: 8/08/11
Posts: 521

8/01/12 10:23:59 AM#109
Originally posted by jacklo

Funny... the feedback on most forums is people wouldn't play it EVEN if it was free to play.

Personally I wouldn't give it room on my hard drive now.

 

Everyone says "I wouldn't even play if it was free" or "I wouldn't even play if someone paid me" etc but when it comes to it they will play.

 

The Old Republic isn't a great game, but it's definitely not a terrible game, it's average. I wouldn't be so dramatic as to say "I wouldn't give it room on my hard drive."

 

This game will BLOOM in players when it goes F2P, trust me. If Aion / AoC / Lotro / DnD / DCUO / CoH/V can do it, then The Old Republic can, like those games The Old Republic isn't good enough to warrant a sub fee, but it's still better than those games in my opinion.

  gervaise1

Elite Member

Joined: 1/17/07
Posts: 1227

8/01/12 10:27:59 AM#110

From reading the transcript Goldman Sachs were not talking about the SW sub numbers but about EA's projected revenue.

Revenue projections were reduced by between $50M to $200M of which $75 was attributed to exchange rate changes and the rest primarily to SWTOR not doing as well as expected.

So SWTOR may "underperform" the projection made 3 months ago by as much as $125M - say $10M a month or around 700k subscribers worst that assumed 3 months ago.

They were also asked about whether there would be any upside to the numbers from the f2p revenue. Answer: "we anticipate that the mix between subscription and free-to-play will be balanced. But we don't see free-to-play revenues as incremental to anything that we currently discussed on call". Which I take as: they have assumed a figure for how much they are going to get from f2p - will it be as good as there guess 3 months ago?

 

  Gdemami

Elite Member

Joined: 9/23/08
Posts: 6908

8/01/12 10:28:49 AM#111


Originally posted by Valua

The Old Republic isn't a great game, but it's definitely not a terrible game, it's average.


Average, yet better than Aion/AoC/Lotro/DnD/DCUO/CoH/V (almost entire comparable selection)?

You have odd way to use term "average" :)

  Robsolf

Hard Core Member

Joined: 4/21/06
Posts: 4013

Let go of my ears, I know what I'm doing!

8/01/12 10:35:11 AM#112
Originally posted by thekid1

I love EA double speak. According to EA slipped below one million is the same as well above 500.000.

How is that doublespeak?   Their sub numbers are anywhere from 1-100% higher than 500k.  Split the difference, and JUST THAT DIFFERENCE is more subs than most NA MMOs have.

Or are you saying that there's not much difference between 500k and 1 million?  Do you keep that opinion when you go shopping?

I'd say that probably puts the number at around 600-850k.  Any higher than that, and they'd probably say "nearly a million" subs. 

  WhiteLantern

Novice Member

Joined: 1/27/10
Posts: 2778

8/01/12 10:38:28 AM#113
Originally posted by Robsolf
Originally posted by thekid1

I love EA double speak. According to EA slipped below one million is the same as well above 500.000.

How is that doublespeak?   Their sub numbers are anywhere from 1-100% higher than 500k.  Split the difference, and JUST THAT DIFFERENCE is more subs than most NA MMOs have.

Or are you saying that there's not much difference between 500k and 1 million?  Do you keep that opinion when you go shopping?

I'd say that probably puts the number at around 600-850k.  Any higher than that, and they'd probably say "nearly a million" subs. 

Yes, and whatever the number is, it is 1.5 to 2 times the size of Eve's population, but the majority of posters here don't want to accept that.

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

  Tensor25

Novice Member

Joined: 12/11/07
Posts: 72

8/01/12 10:38:40 AM#114
Originally posted by Robsolf
Originally posted by thekid1

I love EA double speak. According to EA slipped below one million is the same as well above 500.000.

How is that doublespeak?   Their sub numbers are anywhere from 1-100% higher than 500k.  Split the difference, and JUST THAT DIFFERENCE is more subs than most NA MMOs have.

Or are you saying that there's not much difference between 500k and 1 million?  Do you keep that opinion when you go shopping?

I'd say that probably puts the number at around 600-850k.  Any higher than that, and they'd probably say "nearly a million" subs. 

 I LOL's at this claim too. I don't see doublespeak.

Less than 1MM and greater than 500M.

The fact that they used the terminology of "slipped below 1 million" and "well above 500M" to me means in the 750M-900M range. Pretty health by any NA MMO standards.

  tuppe99

Advanced Member

Joined: 12/16/05
Posts: 250

8/01/12 10:40:03 AM#115
Originally posted by Robsolf
Originally posted by thekid1

I love EA double speak. According to EA slipped below one million is the same as well above 500.000.

How is that doublespeak?   Their sub numbers are anywhere from 1-100% higher than 500k.  Split the difference, and JUST THAT DIFFERENCE is more subs than most NA MMOs have.

Or are you saying that there's not much difference between 500k and 1 million?  Do you keep that opinion when you go shopping?

I'd say that probably puts the number at around 600-850k.  Any higher than that, and they'd probably say "nearly a million" subs. 

But wouldn't they say between 600k and 1 million if it was in the range you mentioned? Or if it is close to 850k, why not say it is more than 800k? Surely that sounds a bit better than "more than 500k"?

  WhiteLantern

Novice Member

Joined: 1/27/10
Posts: 2778

8/01/12 10:41:57 AM#116
Originally posted by tuppe99
Originally posted by Robsolf
Originally posted by thekid1

I love EA double speak. According to EA slipped below one million is the same as well above 500.000.

How is that doublespeak?   Their sub numbers are anywhere from 1-100% higher than 500k.  Split the difference, and JUST THAT DIFFERENCE is more subs than most NA MMOs have.

Or are you saying that there's not much difference between 500k and 1 million?  Do you keep that opinion when you go shopping?

I'd say that probably puts the number at around 600-850k.  Any higher than that, and they'd probably say "nearly a million" subs. 

But wouldn't they say between 600k and 1 million if it was in the range you mentioned? Or if it is close to 850k, why not say it is more than 800k? Surely that sounds a bit better than "more than 500k"?

Reference points. They specifically used the 500k number because that is significant (break even number).

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

  gervaise1

Elite Member

Joined: 1/17/07
Posts: 1227

8/01/12 10:42:53 AM#117
Originally posted by Atlan99
Originally posted by Ringbus
 

Nope.

EA will never recover the money wasted on the SWTOR fiasco. Let alone the money they wasted on Bioware.

Unfounded assertion. If you can get some numbers to back this up I would like to see them.

The only way anyone could still be under that delusion are clueless people who still think:

EA profits = shelf price x boxes sold + some absurdly inflated active paying sub number x $15.

This is a boatload of money.( 2.38 million x 50 = 119 million.)+ (7 months x 0.5 million x 15 = 52.5 million) =171.5 million dollars. Which means SWTOR quite possibly could have already turned a profit.

SWTOR peaked at some 640 employees on the team. Even with the 200 or so layoffs so far, the SWTOR team is still absurdly large and costly for a MMORGP that most likely only has some 200k or active paying subs.

Do you have actual numbers for SWTOR employees or are you guessing?

Monthly overhead for the SWTOR team salary alone is roughly:

Team size x average team salary x 1.5 / 12 dollars a month

Average salary is most likely somewhere in the 50-100k a year range,

How many janitors, cleaning ladies and call centre personnel do you know that make this kind of money? Do you have any idea how many employees works on SWTOR? Do you have any facts to prove it? Do you know how mancy people work in their call center? Is it outsourced?

1.5 is the usualy estimate of base salary to actual amount an employee costs a company due to medical benefits, stock options, 401k, management overhead, etc.

Divide everything by 12 to get the monthly burn rate just for employees.

EA is probably still burning 2-3 million a month just on the SWTOR team right now. And then add on the costs to run the data centers, non-development employees like customer service, etc.

If they are spending 3 millions month on SWTOR as you assert. They would still be pulling in 12 million a month after employees are paid for. This is why it's nice to do some basic math before making claims.

The SWTOR team is going to need more drastic cuts to get down to some reasonable skeleton crew size that other F2P games have. 

TLDR. You have no basis for any of your claims. Nor evidence to back it up. From what we do know it looks like SWTOR is likely close to or already making money for EA.

No we have been told. In May JR said that they needed 1M recurring subscribers to "make a profit but nothng to write home about". And in Feb EA said that they had about 850k subs (50% of 1.7M). At no time have they announced 1M subs - subs as in paying over and above the 30-days included. And in the discussions they were talking about long term subs - put at 1 to 2 years by the analysts depending on free months, marketing, actual sales etc.

So by inference based on what EA have said they have not made a profit.

And whoever posted in green about EA getting 2.38M x $50 please will they sell some goods for me. They get to pay all the cost of manufacture and distribution, and all taxes and then give me all the money they get from the sale - none for seller (Amazon, Wal-mart etc.).  Pweeeze. 

  Gdemami

Elite Member

Joined: 9/23/08
Posts: 6908

8/01/12 10:44:25 AM#118


Originally posted by tuppe99

But wouldn't they say between 600k and 1 million if it was in the range you mentioned? Or if it is close to 850k, why not say it is more than 800k? Surely that sounds a bit better than "more than 500k"?

1) Usual fold times by 5.
2) 500k was the number discussed in context of minimal subs.
3) In terms of EA and investors, sub numbers are not a crucial information - what matters is revenue.

  gervaise1

Elite Member

Joined: 1/17/07
Posts: 1227

8/01/12 10:56:14 AM#119
Originally posted by Tensor25
Originally posted by Robsolf
Originally posted by thekid1

snip.

snip

 I LOL's at this claim too. I don't see doublespeak.

Less than 1MM and greater than 500M.

The fact that they used the terminology of "slipped below 1 million" and "well above 500M" to me means in the 750M-900M range. Pretty health by any NA MMO standards.

In May though they said that they were expecting 1.2M at the time they bought Bioware (JR responding to a question about the 1.3M number back then). So the numbers are not good.

The number today also includes those people with a 6 month sub - and they will have projections (based on retention rates  etc.) how many of those they expect to hold. This is a part of the reduction in expected revenue that they mention - as much as $125M less. We also don't know how many trial players are in the number; maybe none are - but EA did not choose to define how they arrived at the 500k - 1M number.

As mentioned the 500k is significant as they have said that this is the number of subscriptions the the game needs to be profitable on an on-going basis. So they are still suggesting that "all is well". No evidence yet though of long term retention in my opinion. Clearly their estimates of 3 and 6 months ago missed the mark so why should this be better? I believe they could be preparing people for an "around 500k" number later as well; if the news is bad try and announce it all at once.

  SpottyGekko

Elite Member

Joined: 9/26/04
Posts: 2874

8/01/12 11:15:05 AM#120
Originally posted by Gdemami

 


Originally posted by tuppe99

But wouldn't they say between 600k and 1 million if it was in the range you mentioned? Or if it is close to 850k, why not say it is more than 800k? Surely that sounds a bit better than "more than 500k"?

 

1) Usual fold times by 5.
2) 500k was the number discussed in context of minimal subs.
3) In terms of EA and investors, sub numbers are not a crucial information - what matters is revenue.

Yes, revenue is the most important number to investors, but sub numbers help to determine where that revenue is derived from. The fact that sub number are "irrelevant to investors" did not stop EA from announcing a definitive sub number in previous conference calls.

 

In the previous conference call, EA did not hesitate to mention the 1.3M sub number. Why now switch to: "below 1M but well above 500K" ? Is that because losing 500K subs per quarter could have panicked investors ?

 

EA are clearly trying to hide the real numbers, because those numbers look pretty bad. I wonder if the new $15 box price (with 30 days free play) will still require players to register a credit card to be able to access the game ? That would allow EA to count everyone in the 30 days free play as "subscribers", further muddying the waters. They are looking at any and all possible ways to hide the real numbers, it seems.

 

Looks like EA better start hyping BF4 soon... oh, they already are (http://www.medalofhonor.com/bf4-beta

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