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Star Wars: The Old Republic

Star Wars: The Old Republic 

General Discussion  » EA officially determines sub based games are dead.

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257 posts found
  TeknoBug

Novice Member

Joined: 10/13/07
Posts: 2166

8/23/12 11:32:13 AM#201


Originally posted by gervaise1
The TV comparison is interesting. People do subscriber to e.g. HBO and will continue to do so despite "free to watch" television. It is all about value.


 



Kind of, depends on who the cable provider is, HBO has decent shows (I like Boardwalk Empire), but other paid packages are usually garbage, MovieCentral plays horrible movies 95% of the time over and over, but that's part of the package to get HBO. The Video on Demand usually has crap movies and "free" episodes of past TV series, which usually are a year old or older.


Basically on my provider, most of it is garbage, I don't even know why I bother with a HD box when most of it is just crap in HD.


  GeezerGamer

Elite Member

Joined: 4/03/12
Posts: 4735

8/23/12 11:48:25 AM#202

As I understand it, WoW never had 10+ million subscribers.

The players paid differently in Asia.

The subscription model only applied to NA/EU where the numbers were much, much.....MUCH less.

It's the sad state of the genre. The next big title has as many threads discussing issues with it's business model than issues with the game itself.

  Tawn47

Advanced Member

Joined: 7/27/07
Posts: 515

8/23/12 11:56:54 AM#203
Originally posted by Kyleran

They've misunderstood their exit interviews.  They assume that 40% won't pay a subscription, I maintain most of them will (since it really is a small amount of money) if the content is worth the buyers time.

Apparently they failed to deliver on engaging long term content, but don't seem to realize it yet.

Don't worry, when people don't stick around for the F2P version either, they'll understand the real issue.

Exactly.  Which is also completely illogical anyway.  Why would people buy a game that has a subscription model, if they aren;t prepared to pay a subscription.  That would make no sense, unless you really believed these people didn;t know before they purchased the box.

EA is purposefully reading the wrong conclusions from the exit interviews.  Its all investor spin so that they don;t lose confidence in the move to F2P.  "Look Mr Investor, we aren't doing a poor job, this is what players are asking for!"

They treat players and investors alike as if they are stupid.  They should get burnt and I really hope your prediction about F2P is spot on.

  GrumpyMel2

Hard Core Member

Joined: 3/24/09
Posts: 1824

8/23/12 12:03:05 PM#204
Originally posted by lifeordinary
Originally posted by GrumpyMel2
Originally posted by lifeordinary

According to EA's own statement they had around 500K players when they announced F2P model. So their decision to go F2P has more to do with taking advantage of this model than SWTOR not having enough players to support it in P2P category.

EA knows that they can easily hit 1 mill playerbase by going F2P. it has the playerbase who won't mind payign monthly subs at the same time there is huge market of those players who like F2P games.

I would say EA is very clever and companies like Trion too should follow EA and go F2P while keeping monthly sub option on for those who prefer it.

I hate to burst your bubble there, but according to EA's own public statements,  500K subscription sustained was the MINIMUM required for TOR to break even. Outside analysts had placed it even higher (some even more then TWICE that amount). Given that, the trend in thier subscription numbers had been sharply declining and it's unkown where it would have bottomed out...... the decision to go F2P in this case is nothing to do with cleverness....it's simple damage control and desperation.

They are trying to salvage what they can. Furthmore 1 million players at $7.50 per month would put TOR significantly worse off then 500K players at $15 per month.

It's Operations 101 for any service based offering (which is what MMO's are). Each USER/PLAYER you have is a COST to you. It's only when that user is making more PURCHASES each month then they cost to keep, that you gain a proffit. You can gain some economies of scale but a large number of operatings costs are inelastic beyond a certain minimal threshold. Basicaly that means you've got to find a way to cut your COSTS per user, often by cutting/reducing your level or quality of service, and hope you get such a big increase in volume that it more then makes up for the higher markup you would have gotten at $15 per month. Clearly that CAN work (and some supposed "F2P" offerings may even be able to push thier average gross revenue higher then $15 per user) but by no means is it a sure thing.

You haven't burst my bubble because you are saying exactly what i said. EA mentioned before SWTOR release that they need 500K subs to keep things going on profitable rate. But since it is EA they will never be satisfied with this. If any other company was involved they would be veyr happy with that many players and try to improve game further while tryign to make sure that they maintain those numbers.

But i don't blame them going F2P is lot more profitable considering that monthly sub option is still there and they will rake in even more cash through in game item shop. This combo never fails.

I guess Turbine was also desperate when they made LOTRO F2P right? what you call desperaton is what i call 'grabbing the opprtunity when you see it'.

 

 

Lets try a little logic here....

EA's public statement (which BTW would have been low-balled in order to soften the blow to stockholders if the game didn't get as many subs as they hoped) was that 500K was the MINIMUM amount required to break even from an operating standpoint. Anything less then that would have put them in the RED. Breaking even is NOT what you invest 200+ million (largest Development budget of any MMO in history) dollars in to do..... that's a first rate DISASTER. For 200+ million in capital sunk in over that amount of time you need an excellent ROI to justify the opportunity costs to the investors...not something where they could have done better sinking thier money into Government insured T-bills.

A game that had been built with MUCH lower development costs could be quite satisfied with 500K subs...one built with TOR's budget would really want something more like 2 million+ subs to JUSTIFY that level of investment.

I give you $1, 5 years later you give me back $100,001.... I'm extatic. I give you $100,000, 5 years later you give me back $100,001..... I think you are the biggest flop I've ever met.

At the point at which EA announced FTP they had 500K subs....BUT thier trend in subs had been in STEADY and SHARP decline for months. Fast forward a few month's time with the same trends and they are WAY UNDER the 500K minimum they need to break even. Changing pricing models isn't clevernness under that scenerio, it's PANIC.

Turbines case with LOTRO was different. Thier subs weren't in FREE FALL. They weren't exactly what the company hoped for, but they at least were relatively steady. Turbines other MMO, DDO was an absolute celler dweller. They tried switching pricing models with it as an EXPERIMENT...since they had nothing to lose. Kate Paiz (formerly of the flopped there.com) was championing F2P/Freemium....it's how she was trying to stake her reputation as an executive. DDO saw something like a 500 percent increase in revenue as a result of the switch...but again this was a 500 percent increase in next to nothing. Turbine got all excited thinking it could repeat the experiment with LOTRO, which while not a blockbuster, was actualy doing a significant amount of business. At the same time they wanted to sell the company to WB...so they needed a big hook to pitch the businesses future and make it look more exciting to a potential buyer then it actualy was. Thats what drove the decision in LOTRO's case.

As it was, LOTRO got a decent SHORT TERM bump from the move, though nothing like the 500 percent that they were expecting. The bump dropped off over time. What Turbine's actual numbers look like, no one external really knows....but it's not exactly a powerhouse. It's actualy debatable whether the Freemium move has resulted in better long term proffit for the game then sticking with the sub model and using the resources invested in switching pricing models to invest in further development of the game and content to boost subs would have been. We'll never really know. It certainly helped sell Turbine to WB though.

F2P has now become the latest industry buzzword,  just like "social gaming" was a few years ago. Like with other buzzwords in other industry, there is a whole sub-industry involved in pitching the buzzword (pricing model in this case) to the industry itself. Like so many other buzzwords, there is a kernel of truth in there....as there is the POTENTIAL to realize alot of proffit there....same was true of "social gaming" as well....but as with so many other buzzwords, it's built on alot more HYPE then anything else. In the end, SOME companies will make some decent proffit of the model.....but it's hardly the magic bullet recipie for MMO success that the hypsters are pitching it as.  Fast forward a few years and F2P will be yesterdays news (just as "social gaming" is starting to become today) and they'll be on to the next new buzzword that has become the "greatest thing ever invented" and executives will be eating it up....mostly because the are nearly as clueless about what it takes to make an outstanding success as the rest of us....just that they can't afford to be PERCIEVED as clueless in their positions....so they ride the hype-wave in order to try to build the confidence in thier investors and stockholders that they know hold to lead thier companies to outstanding success...whether they do or not.... all you have to do is "trust them".  Same thing happens in most other industries. Once you've been around for awhile and recognize the cycle for what it really is....it's rather humerous to watch.

  gaeanprayer

Novice Member

Joined: 8/06/08
Posts: 2360

8/23/12 12:04:15 PM#205
Originally posted by Kyleran

They've misunderstood their exit interviews.  They assume that 40% won't pay a subscription, I maintain most of them will (since it really is a small amount of money) if the content is worth the buyers time.

Apparently they failed to deliver on engaging long term content, but don't seem to realize it yet.

Don't worry, when people don't stick around for the F2P version either, they'll understand the real issue.

 

I agree and disagree. I found that most people, even if they don't like a sub, will still pay for it if they feel the content of the game is worthwhile. SWTOR wasn't that game, and neither are many of the games coming out these days (in my opinion they're focusing too much on frivolous things like graphics and voice acting and forgetting to add the actual content). So yeah, they're definitely misunderstanding their problems.

However, I don't think they'll have trouble keeping people around for the F2P version. When DCUO when F2P it had even less content than SWTOR. I was level capped in 3 days and aside from raiding for gear, really didn't have much to do, considering I don't care for PvP and those achievements were boring as hell. Yet DCUO took off like a rocket. It's free, so people are evidently willing to put up with a lot more just because they can log in, if only to dick around, and not have to pay that monthly sub. It's not a waste of anything but time. People seem to respond well to that. I actually think F2P SWTOR will do really well, though it'll still be a while before they get to the point where EA gives a damn about them, just because they spent so much on dev.

"Forums aren't for intelligent discussion; they're for blow-hards with unwavering opinions."

  GrumpyMel2

Hard Core Member

Joined: 3/24/09
Posts: 1824

8/23/12 12:24:45 PM#206
Originally posted by lifeordinary
Originally posted by tiefighter25
Originally posted by lifeordinary
 

Population of LOTRO is still quite healthy considering how old it is now. So yes in long run F2P model does work. Ioreover SW IP also helps and game is still new so i am quite sure that they will double or tripple their profits with F2P model.

No way a 200, 000 + player base for a game like LOTRO is considered as a 'trouble'. That is a very decent player base for P2P title.

But since Turbine saw the jump in profits with DDO, they decided to go with same model for LOTRO.

Ok, everyone is entitled to their opinion. Opinions come in many flavors, as does Kool-Aid.

Yes it is my opinion that 250 000 player base is very decent for P2P. How many P2P titles hit 10 mill like WOW anyways? or even get to be at 1 million or 500K and stay stable there for many years? FF MMO was the only exception and even there too majority of subs came from Asian players. so it frequeted between 300K to 400K subs for many years.

So yes i completely disagree tha LOTRO went F2P because 250, 000 player base spelled doomed for the game. Majority of P2P titles would kill to have that many players.

If you don't have anything better to say atleast don't try to undermine my opinion by using words like 'kool aid'. That is very low.

LOTRO was doing OK before the F2P move....not stellar by any stretch of the imagination....but ok. At least thier subs were relatively steady/slow decline when they made the switch...not like TOR's which were in free fall. LOTRO could easly afford to run on 200K subs because THEY DIDN'T RACK UP $200+ MILLION IN DEBT TO BUILD THE GAME.  If you count any portion of what EA spent to buy BIOWARE into that...it's a heckuva alot more then that. That's why 500K subs and dropping was an unmitigated DISASTER for TOR.

LOTRO went F2P for 3 reasons....

- They got blinded by what happened with DDO.

- They needed something to make the companies future look brighter then it's present in order to boost the sale to WB.

- It's how Kate Paiz built her reputation...and she was the new hand at the helm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  jmcdermottuk

Hard Core Member

Joined: 6/10/06
Posts: 786

8/23/12 12:26:09 PM#207
Originally posted by tiefighter25

http://massively.joystiq.com/2012/08/22/ea-coo-maintains-confidence-in-bioware/

According to EA the sub based model is dead. Perhaps this occured on Feb. 29th of 2012? In which case leap years are bad for sub based MMO's? I'm not sure, EA didn't go into details but they have exit surveys which definitively proove their assertion.

In all seriousness, it's spin statements like this, and their subsequent industry media bylines and articles that keep an unhealthy ammount of ire and discussion going about this title.

Well we all know that EA are the font of all wisdom and knowledge, right?

  tixylix

Novice Member

Joined: 12/02/11
Posts: 1110

8/23/12 12:27:34 PM#208
No, shit games are dead.
  Kyleran

Bitter Vet™

Joined: 9/13/06
Posts: 19068

Fools find no pleasure in understanding, but delight in airing their own opinions. Pvbs 18:2, NIV

8/23/12 12:33:57 PM#209
Originally posted by gaeanprayer
Originally posted by Kyleran

They've misunderstood their exit interviews.  They assume that 40% won't pay a subscription, I maintain most of them will (since it really is a small amount of money) if the content is worth the buyers time.

Apparently they failed to deliver on engaging long term content, but don't seem to realize it yet.

Don't worry, when people don't stick around for the F2P version either, they'll understand the real issue.

 

I agree and disagree. I found that most people, even if they don't like a sub, will still pay for it if they feel the content of the game is worthwhile. SWTOR wasn't that game, and neither are many of the games coming out these days (in my opinion they're focusing too much on frivolous things like graphics and voice acting and forgetting to add the actual content). So yeah, they're definitely misunderstanding their problems.

However, I don't think they'll have trouble keeping people around for the F2P version. When DCUO when F2P it had even less content than SWTOR. I was level capped in 3 days and aside from raiding for gear, really didn't have much to do, considering I don't care for PvP and those achievements were boring as hell. Yet DCUO took off like a rocket. It's free, so people are evidently willing to put up with a lot more just because they can log in, if only to dick around, and not have to pay that monthly sub. It's not a waste of anything but time. People seem to respond well to that. I actually think F2P SWTOR will do really well, though it'll still be a while before they get to the point where EA gives a damn about them, just because they spent so much on dev.

Yeah, you're probably right, too often I base my assumptions on my personal playing habits which definitely aren't mainstream in any way.  I would never log on a game just to "dick around", I'm always trying to achieve some goal or form of progression, but I can see where most others (with perhaps more free time) would enjoy doing so.

Let's see if EA can get the F2P model right..that still remains the question.

 

"Someone once told me, there is always someone more powerful than you." - Nicola [Bunraku]
Kyleran - Bitter Vet ™ since 2006
"This is the most intelligent, well qualified and articulate response to a post I have ever seen on these forums. It's a shame most people here won't have the attention span to read past the second line." - Anon

  ShakyMo

Apprentice Member

Joined: 11/21/11
Posts: 7246

8/23/12 12:36:41 PM#210
Any chance if uo and daoc going free to play then ea?

Honestly this thread, u wouldn't take anything ea say seriously, they built their empire years ago, now like all empires they are at that senile stage, making bad decision after bad decision and being an inverse midas on everything they touch - e.g. how the hell are popcap looking money, their games are cheap to make, they are on just about every platform and they sold umpteen millions.
  ShakyMo

Apprentice Member

Joined: 11/21/11
Posts: 7246

8/23/12 12:39:42 PM#211
Grumpy:

I agree, good post.

If you work in the games industry F2P is just another box to put on your bullshit bingo card for those meetings with the marketing drones.
  travamars

Novice Member

Joined: 11/14/10
Posts: 452

8/23/12 12:40:17 PM#212

Who cares what EA says. I'll remind myself of this thread when i pay my next sub fee to another company besides EA.

 

  Ambros123

Novice Member

Joined: 12/04/11
Posts: 891

8/23/12 12:45:13 PM#213
Originally posted by travamars

Who cares what EA says. I'll remind myself of this thread when i pay my next sub fee to another company besides EA.

 

Becasue of EA's stance can have serious ramifications?  GW2 is non sub and many speculated that it will start a trend of deviating from P2P games or at least change it up a bit.  EA is a major company who is following suite which can be the start of the P2P buisness model change with major compnaies.  Neverwinter and Mechwarrior Online, both games likely to be sub worthy, are also going F2P (granted this is old news).  Things are getting changed up, like it or not.

  mmoski

Novice Member

Joined: 6/27/08
Posts: 263

8/23/12 1:01:37 PM#214

I think this really started with GW1, buy to play is the best best business model for AAA titles, but what needs to be realised is that when games do have cash shops and they sell "power" or "access" to content, they have already failed.

  Iselin

The Listener

Joined: 3/04/08
Posts: 3794

8/23/12 1:04:57 PM#215
Originally posted by GrumpyMel2

EA's public statement (which BTW would have been low-balled in order to soften the blow to stockholders if the game didn't get as many subs as they hoped) was that 500K was the MINIMUM amount required to break even from an operating standpoint. Anything less then that would have put them in the RED. Breaking even is NOT what you invest 200+ million (largest Development budget of any MMO in history) dollars in to do..... that's a first rate DISASTER. For 200+ million in capital sunk in over that amount of time you need an excellent ROI to justify the opportunity costs to the investors...not something where they could have done better sinking thier money into Government insured T-bills.

 

I seriously doubt that SWTOR needed 500K subs to break even for operations month to month. That number has a large chunk of revenue apportioned to ROI. I would believe a number in the 50K range, not 10 times that.

  gervaise1

Elite Member

Joined: 1/17/07
Posts: 1259

8/23/12 1:13:34 PM#216

Yes it has to be appreciated that GW1 was not more B2P than F2P. You paid for the content. There were slots etc. you could buy but fundamentally you paid for the content if you wanted it. Hardly a surprise then that each xpac was slick and polished.

With a subscription based game you paid - in advance - on a shaky promise that the developer might release some content and you might like the content.

I have said before I would sell the story lines post-level 15; something like $10 for the first, $7 for the second and $5 for each of the other 6 (or whatever).

 

F2P should give a boost to sub numbers - although a relaunch will cost money and marketing costs is one of the problems that Zynga has to grapple with but I can#t see it turning the game around. And it will need a lot of new players to increase revenue. As for profit - well. There is no evidence that going F2P increased DDO's profit - revenue was all that was ever talked about not profit. And I agree that LotR going F2P may have damaged the profitability of LotR over time.

 

  Sleepyfish

Hard Core Member

Joined: 8/25/09
Posts: 362

8/23/12 1:56:51 PM#217
Originally posted by Creslin321

Denial.

SWTOR couldn't have possibly failed because it wasn't a very good game...it HAD to be the business model, that's the ticket!

If the sub model were dead, WoW would not still have like 8 million active players.

Or EVE or L2, most older and successful mmorpgs.

I thing EA will have to make an mmo WORTH a monthly fee before handing out their Expert assessment.

  AmbrosiaAmor

Elite Member

Joined: 11/24/10
Posts: 821

8/23/12 2:15:02 PM#218
Originally posted by Sleepyfish
Originally posted by Creslin321

Denial.

SWTOR couldn't have possibly failed because it wasn't a very good game...it HAD to be the business model, that's the ticket!

If the sub model were dead, WoW would not still have like 8 million active players.

Or EVE or L2, most older and successful mmorpgs.

I thing EA will have to make an mmo WORTH a monthly fee before handing out their Expert assessment.

 

Yeah but that is part of the problem. A good portion of the triple A MMORPGs from 1997-2004 or those with enough funding/large enough company were able to come out with some original ideas. Some were awesome, some not so much, and others were wacky. Now look at all the P2P (or those that used to be) MMORPGs from 2005-present. The majority of the Western developers copied EQ1/EQ2/WOW while Eastern developers copied Lineage/LineageII/WOW.

 

Look at it this way (and something I've asked quite a few times before)... look at all of the P2P MMORPGs released from 2005 till now. Besides RIFT can you name me one or two other MMORPGs that are strictly running as a P2P business model with a healthy community?

 

Everyone else that released their product strictly as a P2P model from 2005-present has either closed shop, gone F2P, or has had severe server merges. There are many reasons why which I have discussed before, but this whole copy pasta as well as having 600 online games are key components as to why these games don't last very long and have a massive exodus in less than 6 months.

 

Hell, look at my earlier post in this very thread in regards to future titles.

  User Deleted
8/23/12 2:18:12 PM#219

That statement is pure arrogance.  Blame the monetization model and not the game.

Cronie: Sir, people won't pay $15 bucks a month for OUR game.

CEO: Well, there's nothing wrong with the game so the problem must be the pricing model.

Cronie: Well, people pay $15 bucks for other mmo's.

CEO: But we can't admit that our game failed, so let's say sub fees are dead.

Cronie: Whatever you say boss :D

  theAsna

Advanced Member

Joined: 7/16/09
Posts: 303

8/23/12 2:24:22 PM#220
EA needs to deliver their version of F2P first.

Even if the whole gaming market (e.g. MMOs, Social Games, etc.) indicates that overall spending on F2P titles has overtaken the earnings of subscription based titles [1] this may not necessarily be true for individual titles.

With the social games (e.g. Farmville) and their cash shops it's rather that only a small percentage of players become paying customers. And those few players are literally paying for all other players.

With the "freemium model" like DDO & Lotro there is a higher incentive to unlock content once without paying a subscription. In the long term (e.g. if you stick for several years to a game and keep coming back) the subscription doesn't offer many benefits and you are paying more. That's almost similar to having a lifetime account. Most other things that can be bought are a waste of money (e.g. consumable, mediocre items, cosmetic items (especially if the game offers a crafting system where you can get the equipment designs you like), etc.).

The only thing f2p or any similar model offers is kind of a free access to basic stuff. It's true that the playerbase will be increased, but from a business standpoint paying customers are better. But it's also a chicken-egg dilemma. If there are too few players an online game doesn't have that much appeal. If you can attract or keep a lot of players you need to expand your infrastructure which costs money. At best it's a gamble for an individual title. It may pay off. It may not pay off.

SWTOR will still have the stigma of a failed P2P MMO. If Bioware's / EA's marketing department might change that they'd have some chance. Personally I doubt it. They'll have to lurk along for some time. Even new content will be delivered without their #1 marketing ploy. Namely full VO storytelling. Additionally the transition to a F2P model will bind development resources. The question is whther they can keep their current player base until they can launch the payment changes. This means features that lots of players requested will be implemented later. But EA / Bioware were in a very delicate position. If they don't say anything people will get upset and possibly leave. If they announce the F2P change too early (the question is if Bioware / EA can keep an announced date) a lot of players might cancel their subscriptions to maybe come back later. After the transition.



[1] http://www.mediabuzz.com.sg/asian-emarketing/game-based-marketing/1663-free-to-play-f2p-games-from-a-business-perspective
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