The Old Republic Population Shrinking

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The Old Republic Population Shrinking

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The report may have also let loose an unannounced content package for TOR.

When Star Wars The Old Republic launched during the holidays, there was a lot of hullabaloo over whether it could grab a significant portion of monthly subscribers. Many MMO pundits believed the monthly subscription was an extinct species, although TOR was probably the last great beast of that line. BioWare and its publisher patron Electronic Arts called TOR the "fastest-growing MMO" in history, selling 2 million copies in its first month and holding a 1.7 million population in February. But in an earnings statement released today, EA said the population here in May was 1.3 million.

For those of you who are mathematically challenged, that's a drop of half a million people. Or about as many people who live in a city the size of Las Vegas. Last we heard, World of Warcraft had more than 10 million subscribers, even if some might have tried out TOR.

In addition, the report might have leaked the name of an upcoming patch for The Old Republic. Patch 1.2 went live in April, and expanded the popular "legacy" which allowed multiple characters on the same server to share resources and a family tree, as well as earn abilities and goodies. But what is coming next for TOR?

"Two new content packs - Legacy and Allies, available in Q1," read the report. We know about Legacy, but I hadn't heard anything about Allies. An expanded guild system perhaps? More companions? I suppose we'll find out soon enough.

E3 looms.

Source: EA Earnings Release

Permalink

Greg Tito:
The Old Republic Population Shrinking

image

The report may have also let loose an unannounced content package for TOR.

When Star Wars The Old Republic launched during the holidays, there was a lot of hullabaloo over whether it could grab a significant portion of monthly subscribers. Many MMO pundits believed the monthly subscription was an extinct species, although TOR was probably the last great beast of that line. BioWare and its publisher patron Electronic Arts called TOR the "fastest-growing MMO" in history, selling 2 million copies in its first month and holding a 1.7 million population in February. But in an earnings statement released today, EA said the population here in May was 1.3 million.

For those of you who are mathematically challenged, that's a drop of half a million people. Or about as many people who live in a city the size of Las Vegas. Last we heard, World of Warcraft had more than 10 million subscribers, even if some might have tried out TOR.

In addition, the report might have leaked the name of an upcoming patch for The Old Republic. Patch 1.2 went live in April, and expanded the popular "legacy" which allowed multiple characters on the same server to share resources and a family tree, as well as earn abilities and goodies. But what is coming next for TOR?

"Two new content packs - Legacy and Allies, available in Q1," read the report. We know about Legacy, but I hadn't heard anything about Allies. An expanded guild system perhaps? More companions? I suppose we'll find out soon enough.

E3 looms.

Source: EA Earnings Release

Permalink

Meh, I like the game and I will continue to play it. To hell with the haters.

I imagine EA's stock is going to tank now.
They were already struggling with the recent ill-news and the rumors of SW:TOR being shaky.
A confirmed decline is looking awful especially with Lucasarts taking 35% of TOR's profit.

I'm at least happy Guild Wars 2 is not going to have much competition now. I was worried for a moment when EA shoved TOR out the door and spammed the gaming news with those awesome FMVs.

Capitano Segnaposto:
Meh, I like the game and I will continue to play it. To hell with the haters.

As will I...

I can't say I'm at all surprised by this. I have a couple friends who are diehard Star Wars fans, diehard Bioware fans and diehard MMO fans and yet they didn't even stick with the game for a couple of months. If the game couldn't satisfy players who are essentially the perfect audience for the it, there's something wrong.

Speaking of expensive things sinking, if any fellow Escapists live in the DC area, the Titanic exhibit in the National Geographic museum is definitely worth seeing.

I wonder if that 1.3 million includes all the recipients of the free month they gave away in April. My guess would be yes, it does.*

*Edit: perhaps not, as the report is up to the end of March. That said, losing 400K players in the first 3 months isn't exactly good.

To be fair Blizzard have been gaming WoW's sub figures for years - the oft-quoted 10 million is inflated by their players in the far east, where the payment model is different.

But there's no way EA/BW can spin losing a quarter of their subscribers this quickly as a good thing. It's a pity really - any other MMO (that wasn't WoW) would be ecstatic to have these numbers. I suspect they won't be seeing it like that.

Question is: will they knuckle down and work on the game with a view to keeping the subscribers they have (and maybe winning some back) or will they start looking at microtransactions sooner rather than later to squeeze some extra bucks out of the loyalists. Well, it's EA...

Meh, I like the game and I will continue to play it. To hell with the haters.

I am going to continue to play it as well. I think the game is great.

On Topic: I wonder if the allies update will allow guilds to have capital ships. That would be pretty awesome.

Meh, not exactly a surprise. Won't stop me for playing it for a long time, but I'm also a relatively casual player that works it a few times a week, maybe 3 if I'm in a really interesting area.

The fault is on EA for pushing this as a WoW killer, along with everyone else saying it was. There was also just way too much marketing for this game. Really, people who were interested in the game knew it was coming out; you didn't need a TOR commercial on Spike every half hour to remind everyone.

The game does well what Bioware said they were concentrating on: story, co-op, ease-of-use, PvE. End game content trickles in later, like every other MMO in existence. There's always a drop after the first few months, in every MMO made. As long as they plateau at one point, that gives them time to improve and garner more and more subscribers as they improve.

Most MMO devs would kill their firstborn to have 1.3 million subscribers after 3 or 4 months, F2P or not. Galaxies had a WAY worse drop off after release, but they still stuck around a while.

image

Soon... soon...

All I want is for them to drop the subscription fee. I'd gladly buy that game if it wasn't an mmo.

Good, good.....

Now if only EA would shut down Bioware, then it would really be a happy day.

Well, this is what happens when you make a game play just like WoW. Why play a game that plays like WoW, and start over, when you could just play WoW with years of accumulated stuff?

I mean, I'm enjoying the game, and will continue to play it, but it's so stupidly obvious that copying WoW =/= copying WoW's profits. The whole story aspect is new and nice, but people understandably don't play MMO's for the story. That's what I'm playing TOR for, but I'm in the minority.

Doctor Proctor:

Capitano Segnaposto:
Meh, I like the game and I will continue to play it. To hell with the haters.

As will I...

And my axe! Oh wait, wrong situation.

I mean yeah, me too.

While it certainly isn't positive news, it makes me laugh when people see 1.3 million active subscribers and think the game is going down the drain already.

It was launched less than six months ago. That it even has a million subscribers (in that short a time-span no less) in a field which is so thoroughly dominated by a single game, effectively draining player-base from all of its competition, is pretty damn impressive.

It's been the second largest MMO in the world since its launch. It is larger than #3 through #20 something put together.
The game isn't a failure, as much as some would like to claim it is.

Well I hope that 'Allies' content patch comes soon. The Legacy thing was a bit of a letdown. The raid instance, flashpoint and pvp zone were good but the rest was a bit 'meh'.

Congrats EA you made money for the first time in 4 years a whopping $76 million for the year ending 31st march 2012 (year ending 2009 $1.088 billion loss, 2010 $677 million loss, 2011 $276 million loss).

Completely unsurprised by this. The only thing TOR does to differentiate itself from WoW (and thus, 98% of all MMOs) is the story-driven questing/leveling system. And most of the magic of that is gone after you're done leveling a character on each faction. There's just nothing really there to keep your interest at max level that isn't already done, better, elsewhere. If people want to play WoW, they're going to play WoW, not the latest clone.

LiquidGrape:
While it certainly isn't positive news, it makes me laugh when people see 1.3 million active subscribers and think the game is going down the drain already.

It was launched less than six months ago. That it even has a million subscribers in a field which is so thoroughly dominated by a single game, effectively draining player-base from all of its competition, is pretty damn impressive.

It's been the second largest MMO in the world since its launch. It is larger than #3 through #20 something put together.
The game isn't a failure, as much as some would like to claim it is.

You do realize that TOR is built on the single largest (in terms of fan base and rabid interest) IP in existence right? It has a larger subscriber base than everything but its primary competitor yes, but none of those competitors are backed by almost 40 years of fandom and the hundreds of millions (if not billions after advertising is accounted for) of dollars pumped into it by EA. The fact that they only have 1.3 million subs is rather damning.

Beyond that, the fact that they lost 25% of their subscriber base in 3 months is a sign that something is wrong with the game. The biggest flaws in it are fundamental design flaws too, which means it's nigh impossible to fix without starting over again.

TOR is an excellent game, if you view it as KOTOR 3, but an utter failure as an MMO. If you enjoy it, by all means, continue to enjoy it, but that doesn't change the fact that it's fundamentally flawed.

i like the game and will play it till it dies which i hope won't be for a long while. hoping they shut down bioware you two must control your hatred its just an ending ;)

Agayek:

You do realize that TOR is built on the single largest (in terms of fan base and rabid interest) IP in existence right? It has a larger subscriber base than everything but its primary competitor yes, but none of those competitors are backed by almost 40 years of fandom and the hundreds of millions (if not billions after advertising is accounted for) of dollars pumped into it by EA. The fact that they only have 1.3 million subs is rather damning.

Beyond that, the fact that they lost 25% of their subscriber base in 3 months is a sign that something is wrong with the game. The biggest flaws in it are fundamental design flaws too, which means it's nigh impossible to fix without starting over again.

TOR is an excellent game, if you view it as KOTOR 3, but an utter failure as an MMO. If you enjoy it, by all means, continue to enjoy it, but that doesn't change the fact that it's fundamentally flawed.

Oh, I never claimed the game was perfect. Far from it. I merely wished to point out that, in spite of what people's confirmation bias might tell them, this information isn't quite the funeral march they would like to think it is.

Indicative of issues which need addressing? Certainly.
The proverbial nail in the coffin? Nope.

P.S

Some people in here seem perversely tickled by the idea of people losing their jobs. How very sympathetic of them.

D.S

Irridium:

Doctor Proctor:

Capitano Segnaposto:
Meh, I like the game and I will continue to play it. To hell with the haters.

As will I...

And my axe! Oh wait, wrong situation.

I mean yeah, me too.

Glad I wasn't the only one who was thinking of this...

I feel slightly less crazy

So I wonder when it'll go F2P.

LiquidGrape:

Agayek:

You do realize that TOR is built on the single largest (in terms of fan base and rabid interest) IP in existence right? It has a larger subscriber base than everything but its primary competitor yes, but none of those competitors are backed by almost 40 years of fandom and the hundreds of millions (if not billions after advertising is accounted for) of dollars pumped into it by EA. The fact that they only have 1.3 million subs is rather damning.

Beyond that, the fact that they lost 25% of their subscriber base in 3 months is a sign that something is wrong with the game. The biggest flaws in it are fundamental design flaws too, which means it's nigh impossible to fix without starting over again.

TOR is an excellent game, if you view it as KOTOR 3, but an utter failure as an MMO. If you enjoy it, by all means, continue to enjoy it, but that doesn't change the fact that it's fundamentally flawed.

Oh, I never claimed the game was perfect. Far from it. I merely wished to point out that, in spite of what people's confirmation bias might tell them, this information isn't quite the funeral march they would like to think it is.

Indicative of issues which need addressing? Certainly.
The proverbial nail in the coffin? Nope.

P.S

Some people in here seem perversely tickled by the idea of people losing their jobs. How very sympathetic of them.

D.S

sympathy like common sense is dead or damn close

LiquidGrape:
Some people in here seem perversely tickled by the idea of people losing their jobs. How very sympathetic of them.

That's one of the laziest responses around. Do you feel the same sympathy for milkmen or telegraph operators?

Fr]anc[is:

LiquidGrape:
Some people in here seem perversely tickled by the idea of people losing their jobs. How very sympathetic of them.

That's one of the laziest responses around. Do you feel the same sympathy for milkmen or telegraph operators?

If you A) think that's an honest comparison and B) think it alters my fundamental sentiment of considering it rather unseemly to be actively wishing people out of their employment for no discernible reason, I don't know how to respond.

LiquidGrape:
Oh, I never claimed the game was perfect. Far from it. I merely wished to point out that, in spite of what people's confirmation bias might tell them, this information isn't quite the funeral march they would like to think it is.

Indicative of issues which need addressing? Certainly.
The proverbial nail in the coffin? Nope.

Oh absolutely, the game is not nearly dead yet. It certainly appears to be headed that direction at a decent clip though. I give it another 3-6 months before it goes F2P, and depending on how they implement that, another year afterwards before the servers are shut down.

They could always turn it around, but not without a massive amount of effort and a retooling of a good portion of the entire game, which they are unlikely to do.

LiquidGrape:
If you A) think that's an honest comparison and B) think it alters my fundamental sentiment of considering it rather unseemly to be actively wishing people out of their employment for no discernible reason, I don't know how to respond.

Nobody is wishing anyone out of a job. Your statement is an argumentative fallacy meant to make people feel guilty for something unrelated. You might as well have said "Do you guys hate America?" and it would have had the same effect.

Fr]anc[is:

LiquidGrape:
If you A) think that's an honest comparison and B) think it alters my fundamental sentiment of considering it rather unseemly to be actively wishing people out of their employment for no discernible reason, I don't know how to respond.

Nobody is wishing anyone out of a job. Your statement is an argumentative fallacy meant to make people feel guilty for something unrelated. You might as well have said "Do you guys hate America?" and it would have had the same effect.

i don't think there is any way to spin it where it doesn't make you look like your wishing people out of a job. some people hate companies so much they fail to think about the people who work for them

Fr]anc[is:

LiquidGrape:
If you A) think that's an honest comparison and B) think it alters my fundamental sentiment of considering it rather unseemly to be actively wishing people out of their employment for no discernible reason, I don't know how to respond.

Nobody is wishing anyone out of a job. Your statement is an argumentative fallacy meant to make people feel guilty for something unrelated. You might as well have said "Do you guys hate America?" and it would have had the same effect.

Perhaps I should clarify. You were never the target of my comment, but the two people who've have expressed the explicit wish to see the developer being dismantled, were.

Now, while I don't buy into the notion of corporations being people, I sure as hell realise they are comprised by people.
And I'm pretty sure the aforementioned posters would concede that point.

I wish I could say I was surprised, but they're just going back to WoW like we all knew they would.

LiquidGrape:
Perhaps I should clarify. You were never the target of my comment, but the two people who've have expressed the explicit wish to see the developer being dismantled, were.

Now, while I don't buy into the notion of corporations being people, I sure as hell realise they are comprised by people.
And I'm pretty sure the aforementioned posters would concede that point.

Ok that is fair. I was trying to say there is a difference between actively wishing malice on someone, and simply not wanting to buy/support a product they don't want. I assumed you were attacking the latter group.

LiquidGrape:

Agayek:

You do realize that TOR is built on the single largest (in terms of fan base and rabid interest) IP in existence right? It has a larger subscriber base than everything but its primary competitor yes, but none of those competitors are backed by almost 40 years of fandom and the hundreds of millions (if not billions after advertising is accounted for) of dollars pumped into it by EA. The fact that they only have 1.3 million subs is rather damning.

Beyond that, the fact that they lost 25% of their subscriber base in 3 months is a sign that something is wrong with the game. The biggest flaws in it are fundamental design flaws too, which means it's nigh impossible to fix without starting over again.

TOR is an excellent game, if you view it as KOTOR 3, but an utter failure as an MMO. If you enjoy it, by all means, continue to enjoy it, but that doesn't change the fact that it's fundamentally flawed.

Oh, I never claimed the game was perfect. Far from it. I merely wished to point out that, in spite of what people's confirmation bias might tell them, this information isn't quite the funeral march they would like to think it is.

Indicative of issues which need addressing? Certainly.
The proverbial nail in the coffin? Nope.

P.S

Some people in here seem perversely tickled by the idea of people losing their jobs. How very sympathetic of them.

D.S

You're forgettin the important part about ToR. The astronomical costs associated with their MMO. Those other MMOs that would kill to have 1.3 million subs? They have about 10 servers. ToR has upwards of 50. Other MMO's don't need to pay for the VO work and cinematic work that ToR is goin to have to pay for in every single content update if they want to stay true to their "story based" gimmick. Other MMO's didn't spend half as much on the lead up to their game that Bioware did for ToR.

All things bein equal, this would still be great news because they have such a large amount of subscribers for such a new MMO. However everythin isn't equal. ToR spent more before the game was launched. ToR spends more on every single content update than an equally sized content update for another game would cost (I have no figures to back that up). ToR has way more servers than they could possibly use. Hell, ToR has enough servers for WoW and the US population in WoW is 4 times the size of ToRs now.

Anyway. Here's my take. If Bioware had waited to release the game instead of tryin to get it out for Christmas, maybe they'd still have those 400k subscribers. As it is, I doubt many people liked to be glorified beta testers for the game that also had to pay a subscription fee.

The bigger threats to SWTOR (and the subscription model in general) is Guild Wars2, and Diablo 3 coming out. I like the game and I'm enjoying pvp for the most part. Secret World looks interesting as well. But I don't think it'll be worth 14 a month if there are good non-sub options out there.

In retrospect, they're single-player RPG roots might have handicapped them by leading them to focus on elements, like story, voice, and character flavor (legacy), instead of elements that lead to persistent and vibrant online communities.

Not many tools to help guilds form and thrive, no server forums and no achievements for people strive for, and no easy way for guilds to recruit and broadcast their achievements. No looking for group tool to facilitate grouping.

I think SWTOR will be around for while, it's not going to die a quick death. But unless significant additions are made on a frequent basis, they may have to go to strong measures, i.e. F2P or major changes to the game.

Imbechile:
Good, good.....

Now if only EA would shut down Bioware, then it would really be a happy day.

Which would mean that the former Bioware employees could start up a new studio and make a spiritual sequel to Jade Empire. A happier ending would be if CDPeojekt Red bought Bioware from EA.

On Topic: If The Old Republic is ever shut down I would like to see it re-made as a single player game with each class story made available. I doubt it could ever be done.

TOR was probably the last great beast of that line.

I'd wait till' we see how The Secret World turns out before you jump to THAT conclusion...

To all the people who repeatedly and earnestly told me TOR would kill WoW: Hey, how you doin'? You doin' okay? Yeah, don't worry about it. I know how it feels to get invested in a game like this. Trust me, I understand. Let's hug it out.

The Zenimax team behind Elder Scrolls should be taking a very keen interest in this and learning from mistakes that were made. From what I've heard, the Elder Scrolls MMO is gonna be using the same hotkey system which WoW popularised and made standard. TOR also used it from what I know. The key to bringing people into your MMOs is to do something new. A strong IP, evidently, is not enough. Not enough to justify the money spent on TOR, anyway. Bear in mind that WoW, despite bleeding off some subscribers during Cataclysm is still a juggernaut to be reckoned with. WoW players are gonna be the primary people looking for something fresh and new on the MMO scene, but they've also invested months if not years into their accounts. They don't wanna drop that for something mostly similar. Why bother? They can scratch that itch with WoW.

EVE scratches different itches, and has had a steady subscriber base for a long time. Planetside scratched a different itch, but sadly died. Hopefully Sony will impress with Planetside Next and CCP will impress with Dust 514. From what I've seen of gameplay footage, Tera has a decidedly different gameplay mechanic behind it.

People need to learn the lessons of failed MMOs (which may or may not include TOR, it remains to be seen) if they hope to enter the market.

Back in December 2011 I predicted that TOR wouldn't last a year before going F2P. It still has just over 7 months. We'll see how things go from here.

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