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Star Wars: The Old Republic “economics” won’t work for EA, says Kotick

Tuesday, 29 November 2011 07:45 GMT By Johnny Cullen

Activison Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick has questioned EA’s ability to turn profits from Star Wars: The Old Republic, warning only a “small number” of companies have ever succeeded in the MMO space.

Speaking at the Reuters Media Summit yesterday, Kotick said LucasArts license fees would make the project difficult for EA.

“Lucas is going to be the principal beneficiary of the success of Star Wars,” he said. “We’ve been in business with Lucas for a long time and the economics will always accrue to the benefit of Lucas, so I don’t really understand how the economics work for Electronic Arts.

“If you look at the history of the people investing in an MMO and achieving success, it’s a small number.”

EA had previously said the BioWare MMO would make a profit if it reached 500,000 users, while one analyst, quoted by Reuters, has even predicted 3-4 million World of Warcraft players could defect to TOR.

One recent survey said the Blizzard effort could lose 1.6 million subs to the EA title, which has cost a rumoured $100 million to develop.

It’s just the latest chapter in the apparently endless snipe-war between EA and Activision, which has heightened this year as a result of the contest between Modern Warfare 3 and Battlefield 3.

Star Wars: The Old Republic launches on December 20 worldwide.

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20 Comments

  1. Dralen

    At least they have other games Kotick.

    #1 3 years ago
  2. gribb85

    Can’t help but feel Kotick is talking out of his arse on this one. Nothing like a bit of mud slinging to ease investor worries.

    #2 3 years ago
  3. GrimRita

    What is interesting, is that the survey you complete(have emailed) does ask you about F2P and I simply cant see Bioware/EA delivering alot of voice related content going forward as it will be so expensive to do, unless of course they have an actual PAYING subscription base of at least 1.6 million a month.

    Once Guild Wars 2 has been released, it will be interesting to see how both perform.

    #3 3 years ago
  4. viralshag

    Haha, whatever you say Kotick. I’m pretty sure that SWTOR will see success for enough time for EA to make some money.

    #4 3 years ago
  5. BloodSaint

    Haha leave Bobby alone, he does have a right to be extremely nervous after all

    #5 3 years ago
  6. viralshag

    @3, I reckon if Rift can hold down a million, or close to it, subs then SWTOR will have no problem hitting a million plus for at least a year or two.

    #6 3 years ago
  7. GrimRita

    There will be more pressure on this title to be a success because of the licence.

    EA want MMO market share and this is their last attempt at doing that. The only problem is the wider community(NOT the fanboys!)who will determine this game a success or failure.

    If it doesnt get the high numbers, people wont play it because in their eyes, its not worth it. Many MMOs can thrive on much smaller numbers but in headlines, if it doesnt(and this is any triple A MMO)it always deemed a failure which isnt true.

    So long as any MMO returns a profit from its player base, no matter how large or small, thats all the publisher should worry about.

    @6 Rift has managed to carve a niche for itself as its not a massive licence compared to Star Wars, thus probably, the expectations are alot lower and the player base is/will be more forgiving. However, Trion imo have shown how to manage an MMO by offering fast support, daily updates/patches when required and excellent communication to the masses. Something Bioware hopefully will look at and learn from.

    #7 3 years ago
  8. viralshag

    It’s not exactly their last attempt… They still have the Secret World to release.

    I don’t think MMOs have ever lived or died based on the impression people have of how many people are playing it. I don’t play AoC because it’s lacking players, I don’t play it because I just don’t think it’s that good.

    Rift isn’t an exception to the rule. It’s just a good game and that’s why it has retained the numbers. And yes, a well-run company behind that helps a lot.

    I also don’t think GW2 will have any effect on TOR or any other MMO whatsoever. There’s no sub to pay so all that will happen if I’m still happily playing TOR is I will play GW2 for a bit and keep my TOR sub going. It’s just like buying any other game.

    #8 3 years ago
  9. Phoenixblight

    What Kotick doesn’t obviously know about TOR is that EA owns all of it. When Lucas Arts was taking a dive and was right about to can the project with Bioware. EA had came in and took the project entirely and took all the risk. They have also made up most of the development cost from all the reservations and that reservation fee and that’s really why they can turn a profit with just 500k subs.

    Kotick is just getting worried because WOW’s bubble may burst even though its been hemorrhaging subs for the last year.

    “I also don’t think GW2 will have any effect on TOR or any other MMO whatsoever. There’s no sub to pay so all that will happen if I’m still happily playing TOR is I will play GW2 for a bit and keep my TOR sub going. It’s just like buying any other game.”

    I couldn’t agree more based on the fact that the GW2 has no known release date and they stated a beta was going to start this season and so far it hasn’t. I honestly don’t expect GW2 until next summer if not then definitely next winter.

    #9 3 years ago
  10. GrimRita

    @9 totally spot on. After playing beta, I noticed a huge change in the direction of the game since LucasArts were taking the lead. I had several friends working on the project both in PR and development who were laid off by LucasArts.

    EA took over mostly because its *their studio bank rolling this title plus they do have much more marketing muscle than LucasArts. And, lets not forget, ALL(excluding hand held) LucasArts titles are published by…..Activision, outside of the US. So there is no way, EA would let this fall in to the hands of the dark side. haha.

    If TOR is going to be a success it must deliver engaging content early on and on a regular basis otherwise Guild Wars 2 will and could be the one that slaps both WoW and SWTWoW in the face.

    @8 Rift is a decent game, its solid and very well polished. Its just a shame pvp is woeful but I havent played it since they did make changes to pvp, whatever they may be.

    Personally, I am looking forward to End of Nations and given Trions track record, this should be a great Command and Conquer esq title online.

    #10 3 years ago
  11. Phoenixblight

    “If TOR is going to be a success it must deliver engaging content early on and on a regular basis otherwise Guild Wars 2 will and could be the one that slaps both WoW and SWTWoW in the face.”

    I have always treated GW as another game and infact at one point I was playing WOW and GW at the same time. And I will probably be doing so with GW2 and TOR. I honestly feel that TOR and GW2 can work without directly effecting each other.

    I enjoyed TOR over the weekend and it was much more stable than when I had played it on the 3rd beta weekend. The only time I had a single disconnect was when I went to a Flashpoint. Not even Rift’s beta was this smooth and that is saying something because Rift while have a bumpy beta had a really smooth launch. Next Month can’t come soon enough.

    #11 3 years ago
  12. viralshag

    I really don’t think GW2 is going to set the world alight any more than TOR is if I’m totally honest. From what little I have played and more of what I have seen, it looks like just another MMO imo. If people are expecting more than some good’ol action bar fun, they’re going to be in for bit of a shock I think.

    GW2 is as good as F2P, it’s not even really a threat to any sub-based MMOs. People were saying that TOR would be the biggest flop in gaming but right now it wouldn’t surprise me if the same reaction happens with GW2.

    #12 3 years ago
  13. John117

    @12 I’ve been a WoW player for around 6 years now, started from release and have played every expansion from launch. After playing a week of SW:TOR I cant wait for it to release, the game is so much better! I mean, the instances/flashpoints are alot more engaging (not a grind). you get a fricking ship, which works like Mass Effects Normandy! And the combat is awesome, compared to WoW’s rather dull slash animations… The only downside with SW:TOR is that PvP feels terribly unbalanced :/ Oh, and you need to like to follow a story when you play it.

    #13 3 years ago
  14. viralshag

    @13, I find a lot of the game a lot more engaging than most MMOs to be honest. I didn’t play up to the point of getting a ship, I wanted to wait until release for it so I just let my mate that couldn’t resist fill me in with the details. ;)

    I did do a fair bit of PvP which I really enjoyed. I’m glad they decided to go with the same style as WAR and just boost your stats if you go in at say, level 11. Like I did and still managed to pwn some nubs. :P Even got myself a MVP award when I focused on healing as my consular which is currently the path I’m looking to follow.

    I still found one of the best moments was playing through the first instance with friends on Vent and laughing at each other for basically trying to pick the opposite convo options. They are very much good Jedi to the bone whereas I’m much more in the morally grey area.

    I played Trooper the most and that’s a class I won’t be in a rush to play in the main game. Consular, Inquisitor and Smuggler and possibly Bounty Hunter is what I’m looking forward to the most.

    #14 3 years ago
  15. GrimRita

    WAR pvp rocked. It was very engaging and alot of fun. And, importantly, outside of pvp, they had pvp areas and your faction gained a bonus if you controlled all the zones – genius!

    Unfortunately Bioware havent been that brave here, from what it seems by keeping pvp strictly to shame holes(Warzones) and planets to travel to. Open world pvp is amazing if done correctly and it will be a shame if Bioware wrap players up in cotton wool.

    If a player doesnt want to take part in pvp, they dont have to unless of course they get involved(like with Galaxies and WAR, you were flagged for pvp)-afterall, this is Star WARS.

    #15 3 years ago
  16. Phoenixblight

    @15

    They do have PVP to entice those type of players but the game is not aimed solely for them unlike WAR which was a game that was pure PVP which made the solo content and instances rather weak and felt tacked on. Right now what Bioware has for PVP is a foundation. Content patches and expansions later can open that more. For what I had played with PVP, I had enjoyed it and liked what they did but I would also like to take the fun aspects of this PVP and open it more to other avenues which they can do easily at a later point.

    #16 3 years ago
  17. viralshag

    @16, Agreed. There is so much they can do with it. I just want a strong stable launch with enough content to get me steadily from 1 to 50 and then some good end game.

    Open PVP only really works if you have enough players and balanced teams otherwise it just becomes a big empty space in the world. And that’s a fact no matter how well you do it. Not to mention that once a large portion of your player base move beyond those levels it becomes almost redundant.

    I love the idea of open world PVP but I have seen in too many games reasons why it fails.

    #17 3 years ago
  18. DarkElfa

    Anything that makes Bobby Kotick cry makes me smile.

    #18 3 years ago
  19. DSB

    Sniping sniper is sniping.

    What I find the funniest about the article is how wet and wild the analysts are getting. Between 1 and 4 million users? Pffff, no major difference there!

    #19 3 years ago
  20. Phoenixblight

    @19

    One is an analyst group stating 3-4 million another is a survey that is based on actual people giving their answers. There is a difference there.

    #20 3 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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    With Heists coming to GTA Online next week, Rockstar has released one of the shortest teaser videos we’ve seen in ages. Hopefully you didn’t blink. Heists, along with Daily Objectives and Adversary Mode, arrive next week on March 10. The PC version of Heists will arrive on April 14 when the PC version of the […]

  • The Division rumors claim Dark Zones support up to 100 players – video

    With the recent leak of older, pre-alpha footage of the The Division, rumors over the game’s contents have been swirling, and today we have a video for you discussing said rumors. Once of the rumors pertain to the game is that it contains 50-100 Player Dark Zones, which are PvP areas. Supposedly, these areas also […]

  • Here’s a look at MGS5: The Phantom Pain emblem creation, limited edition bionic arm

    A look at how to create your own emblems in Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain was demonstrated in the latest Kojima Station broadcast, along with a look at the bionic arm replica included in the limited edition. A Venom Snake emblem will come with the limited edition version of the game, parts of […]

  • Elite: Dangerous coming to PS4 once Xbox One exclusivity period ends

    Elite: Dangerous was announced for Xbox One at GDC 2015 yesterday, and those disappointed over the lack of a PlayStation 4 announcement will be pleased to know it’s in the cards. According to Frontier boss David Braben the space-sim will head to PS4 at some point, once the console exclusivity deal with Microsoft has expired. […]

  • Here’s two new The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt screenshots to salivate over

    Two new screenshots from The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt have been released, and they are gorgeous as always. The screenshots follow the two released over the weekend. You can look at the new images in full HD glory over on Only Single Player. CD Projekt Red is at PAX East this weekend showing off the latest […]

  • Microsoft looking into streaming PC games to Xbox One

    With Windows 10, Xbox One users will soon be able to stream their games to PC. Microsoft is also looking into streaming PC games to Xbox One, according to news out of GDC. Speaking with Polygon at GDC 2015, Xbox program director Mike Ybarra said the company is also looking into the ability to stream […]

  • Free! Vindictus Lann Revamp codes worth €25

    We have 400 Lann Revamp codes worth €25 to giveaway for free to VG247 readers. All you need to do is enter your details in the box below and you’ll be given a code to redeem in game. The codes are for warrior character Lann and offer a 7 day unlimited Inner Armour pass, battle […]

  • US eShop update: Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars, OlliOlli, more

    Nintendo has updated the North American end of the eShop with Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars, OlliOlli and a demo version of Azure Striker GUNVOL. Your full update is below. eShop Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars – Wii U, 3DS – Cross Buy OlliOlli – Wii U, 3DS – Cross-Buy Proun+ – Proun+ […]

  • Rock Band 4 confirmed for Xbox One and PS4: supports old instruments and 2,168 songs

    Harmonix has lifted the lid on the long-rumoured Rock Band 4, stating it will support 2,168 previously released tracks and last-gen instruments on PS4 and Xbox One. The game will be out this year. Harmonix has yet to reveal specific features for the game, but it has been built with a completely new engine. As […]

  • First run of Rodea the Sky Soldier copies on Wii U come with Wii version

    The first print run of Rodea the Sky Soldier on Wii U will come with the Wii version packed in, NIS America has confirmed. The publisher confirmed today in a press release that anyone who buys the first run of the retail version of Rodea the Sky Soldier on Wii U will find the Wii […]

  • Unreal Tournament 4 lets modders sell cosmetic items to players

    Unreal Tournament 4 is a game built with the help of the modding community. So it’s only natural that it will feature a marketplace where all cosmetic items can be sold. Epic Games has confirmed that it will allow modders from the community to sell the cosmetics items they’ve created on the game’s marketplace. The […]

  • D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die is coming to PC – rumour

    SWERY 65 has shown off D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die running on PC at GDC this week, teasing that a possible port may be on the way. D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die is SWERY 65′s latest project. An episodic detective affair, D4 came out on Xbox One last September and utilised Kinect as its main […]

  • Valve’s Lighthouse, VR controllers and more explained

    Valve’s less-talked about prototype VR controllers and its Lighthouse technology have been shown in more detail. When HTC announced Vive, the VR headset it’s working on with Valve, it mentioned “base stations” and ergonomic controllers. Now we know what they meant by that. The controllers are still in prototype phase, and will look better when […]

  • Listen to two professional Counter-Strike players explain why Dust2 is so popular

    Hear what makes iconic Counter-Strike map Dust2 one of the most popular maps in shooter history from two former eSports players. Sal “Volcano” Garozzo and Shawn “FMPONE” Snelling are both retired professional Counter-Strike players who are currently working as designers. At GDC this year, the pair hosted a panel titled “Community Level Design for Competitive […]

  • Core Morpheus hardware locked in, no plans for wireless version

    Sony has finalised the core hardware for its VR headset Project Morpheus, and does not currently plan on releasing a wireless version. SCE Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida spoke to Gamespot at GDC and confirmed that the core hardware of Morpheus is “pretty much done” but that “lots of tweaks and improvements” are still being […]

  • Watch the full Phil Spencer keynote from GDC 2015

    The full GDC 2015 keynote of Xbox boss Phil Spencer is now available to watch. In case you missed last nights’s Phil Spencer keynote at GDC 2015, the whole thing has been made available to watch on YouTube. The address is titled “The Future of Gaming Across the Microsoft Ecosytem,” and it’s where Spencer announced […]

  • Elite: Dangerous won’t be “dumbed down” for Xbox One

    The Xbox One version of Elite: Dangerous will in fact be the same as the PC one. Elite: Dangerous developer Frontier came out on stage last night at GDC to announce the game making its console debut on Xbox One. Some have feared that the port would not provide the same experience as the PC […]

  • Virtual reality: by gum, it’s really happening

    Virtual reality has exited the realm of peripheral gimmick and turned into something that just might go mainstream. VR has an uphill battle ahead of it. The tech is going to be expensive, and there are a number of problems that need to be solved before it could be considered an inclusive technology (motion sickness, […]

  • Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor takes Game of the Year at GDC Awards 2015

    And the winner is: Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor. Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor beat out Alien: Isolation, Bayonetta 2, Destiny, and Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft to win Game of the Year at the Game Developer’s Choice Awards 2015. Elsewhere in the awards, Ustwo’s mobile hit Monument Valley was a stand-out favourite, with wins in the Innovation, […]

  • Alien: Isolation was prototyped in third-person – video

    Alien: Isolation is one of the most effectively scary triple-A games in years, but it didn’t start off a perfect creation of pure terror. Creative Assembly prototyped Alien: Isolation in third-person perspective before they nailed down the final approach. The developer revealed this during a GDC 2015 presentation, and it’s a good reminder that games […]

  • Madden 15 added to EA Vault

    Madden 15 is now included in EA’s all-you-can-eat subscriber service. Madden 15 is the ninth game to be added to the EA Vault, a stash of games available on demand for EA Access subscribers. It's still Madden Season for EA Access members – Madden NFL 15 is now in The Vault for all members. Go […]

  • Source Engine 2 doesn’t have hidden costs or royalties – but is Steam exclusive

    Three major engines went free at GDC 2015, and each of them is monetising in a different way. There’s been a heck of a lot of discussion about development tools and the costs associated with them during GDC 2015. First Epic announced that Unreal Engine 4 would be free, bar royalities on successful releases. Then […]

  • Final Fantasy creator hates sequels

    Final Fantasy, a byword in prolific franchises, was created by a man who hates sequel. Final Fantasy games are famous for being reinvented with each core release, and it was not until series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi began to withdraw from the franchise after Final Fantasy 9 that we started seeing regular sequels and spin-offs. Speaking […]

  • Guardian complaints led to the closure of Destiny’s Loot Cave

    Destiny players are to blame for the shuttering of the much loved Loot Cave. Early in Destiny‘s history, many players got hugely excited about the “Loot Cave”. Accessible shortly after starting the game for the first time, this high-volume spawn point allowed players to stand in one place, taking out waves and waves of low-level […]

  • Xbox and PC games boss Phil Harrison to leave Microsoft – rumour

    Microsoft Interactive Entertainment Business VP and EMEA head of games Phil Harrison is rumoured to have thrown in the towel. Microsoft has not issued a statement on Harrison’s alleged departure, despite repeated questioning by press at GDC 2015. Instead, word comes via multiple sources speaking to GamesIndustry at the show. According to the rumours, Harrison […]

  • Metal Gear Online commentated trailer explains stuffed dog – but not invisibility

    Metal Gear Online developer Kojima Productions has provided significantly more insight into how the multiplayer side of The Phantom Pain works. Metal Gear Online is the online multiplayer component of Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain. Konami hasn’t shared a great deal about it yet, but we did see a very cool Metal Gear […]

  • Elite: Dangerous Xbox One trailer shows off space MMO

    If Elite: Dangerous looks this good on Xbox One we have nothing to complain about. Microsoft revealed Elite: Dangerous is coming to Xbox One this year during its GDC presentations today. We don’t know very much about the port, but I suppose we ought to have expected it; Frontier Developments has a very close relationship […]

  • Battletoads to appear in Shovel Knight Xbox One

    A Battletoads remake must be on the horizon. Right? Right?? The Battletoads will appear in the upcoming Xbox One version of Shovel Knight, Yacht Club Games revealed today. The Battletoads drop in for a fight! Shovel Knight is headed to Xbox One and meets up with @RareLtd brawling trio! pic.twitter.com/OCQIuWbH3W — Yacht Club Games (@YachtClubGames) […]

  • The Division pre-alpha footage leaks, Ubisoft says it’s well out of date

    The Division fans finally got a look at Ubisoft’s MMO this week, but the publisher has said the footage is not in any way representative. Pre-alpha footage of the The Division was leaked this week, but has since been thoroughly smacked down by takedown notices. All that remains are a few screenshots and a GIF: […]

  • Microsoft HoloLens designer killed in hit and run accident

    Very sad news out of Redmond this week, as Mike Ey was killed in a tragic accident. Ey, 30, was one of the key project designers on Microsoft’s HoloLens AR headset. He was killed on Saturday morning in a rear-end collision. The driver of the second vehicle fled the scene but was tracked down by […]

  • AMD throws support behind VR with new low-latency anti-nausea tech

    GPU manufacturer AMD has released a new SDK compatible with “a broad set of VR devices”. Called LiquidVR, the tech is designed to “bring better content, comfort, and compatibility to VR applications” including games, simulation, entertainment, education, social media, travel, medicine, real estate and ecommerce, apparently. AMD said maintaining comfort and realism in VR environments […]

  • Danganronpa 3 in the works, but a long way off yet

    A new Danganronpa is happening. Danganronpa 3 is in the very, very early production stages, writer Kodaka Kazutaka has confirmed. Nothing about the project is “set in stone”, Kazutaka told Polygon, so there are no details to share yet; the characters and story may change several times before being finalised. The writer said he’s weighing […]

  • Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare MLG Pro League 2015 schedule announced

    Major League Gaming has announced the full schedule for the 2015 Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare MLG Pro League. The eSpots firm revealed two more seasons of Pro League, a live Relegation tournament for Season Three, and a season ending World Championship with $250,000 up for grabs You can watch all the action on MLG.tv […]

  • Happy Birthday PlayStation 2, you are almost old enough to drive

    Amidst all the GDC 2015 hoopla today, we forgot to wish PlayStation 2 a Happy Birthday. The system turned 15 years old today, going by its March 4, 2000 launch date in Japan. It was released in the west that autumn, and had shipped 100 million units in less than six years post launch. PS2 […]

  • Here’s what the final version of Valve’s Steam Controller looks like

    A look at the updated Steam Controller has surfaced via a hands-on post from Polygon. Valve said what you see in the images below is the final version of the controller. The controller has gone through numerous revisions since it was first revealed, but it seems Valve has decided on two touch pads which work […]

  • The Sims, SimCity developer closed down

    The Sims 4 developer Maxis has been shuttered, EA has confirmed. The Sims, SimCity and the rest of the Sim franchise has traditionally been helmed by Maxis, which had its flagship studio in Emeryville, California. Now EA has confirmed with Kotaku that this studio is being closed. “Today we are consolidating Maxis IP development to […]

  • Gigantic MOBA coming to Windows 10 and Xbox One with cross-play

    Today during GDC 2015, Microsoft announced that the new IP from Motiga called Gigantic will be cross-play enabled. Slated for Windows 10 and Xbox One, the five-on-five third-person battle arena game allows the player to select from an array of heroes with distinctive powers and play styles. Players will then make their way through areas […]

  • Here’s a look at Unreal Tournament DirectX 12 gameplay

    Epic Games is creating Unreal Tournament using Unreal Engine 4 running on DirectX 12, which Microsoft says “sets a new bar for visual fidelity.” DirectX 12 is a single API developers can access across Windows devices, which can result in a 20% improvement in performance over DX11 running on the same machine. The Unreal Tournament […]

  • Wireless adapter for Xbox One controllers out later this year

    Microsoft announced at GDC 2015 today it will that all wireless Xbox gaming accessories will be designed for and supported on both Xbox One consoles and Windows 10 PCs moving forward. Later this year, a wireless adapter will be released, allowing current Xbox controllers and future devices to be used wirelessly on PCs. This will […]