Star Wars: The Old Republic doesn't need WoW-level subscriptions in order to make money, says EA's CFO, it just needs to run for a decade.
BioWare's The Old Republic is easily one of the biggest names on the horizon as far as videogames are concerned - if only for the monumental financial figures that publisher EA is putting behind it. Even ignoring the EA Louse's dubious claims that the game has a $300m price tag, we know for certain that it is the most expensive project in the publishing giant's history.
And yet, according to EA's chief financial officer Eric Brown, BioWare's MMO doesn't need ridiculous multi-million subscription numbers in order to turn a profit. The publisher is viewing the game as a long-term investment, he said at the UBS Annual Media and Communications Conference in New York, reports Eurogamer. "We view this as a 10 year opportunity," said Brown.
"Our assumptions for break-even and profitability are not seven digit subscribers. We think we can run and operate a very successful and profitable MMO at different levels ... the key thing here is to really perfect the product. We're shooting for an extremely high quality game experience."
While I have no doubt that BioWare's The Old Republic will see itself with rather impressive subscriber numbers out of the gate, the test of the game will be whether or not it can keep levels high - or even grow them. Other games like Age of Conan and Warhammer Online launched strong but quickly dwindled, whereas titles like EVE Online or industry kingpin World of Warcraft have been growing steadily since release.
TOR needs to be the latter, and not the former. Playing the long game is probably a wise move for EA, but it's still not without risk.