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

Tuesday, 29th 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

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  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