BioWare’s Emmanuel Lusinchi has said there are many variables and metrics when it comes to figuring out how many players an MMO such as Star Wars: The Old Republic has; therefore, when a number is provided by the company or a retailer, it’s not the full picture.
Speaking with Spong at MCM London Comic Con, Lusinchi said that while he is no expert when it comes to subscriber numbers, he is given feedback when it comes to gameplay events, such as the Rakghoul Plague.
“Subscriber numbers are funny things. How you count them – the math you use – really matters, and there are lots of variables to consider,” he said. “Such as, people that simply subscribe compared to people that actually buy the box. There are very different numbers out there, and you should be smart about which one you use when you talk to the press.
“All games of this nature, have a set of variables that are constantly changing. You will have a certain number of people that buy the box and never install it. I know it sounds strange, but it happens. There are people that play it, and then decide after ten minutes that it’s not for them – that’s a small percentage, but every game has them. Finally you have people who play for a couple of months, finish the story, and then be done with it.
“All of those are natural things to be expected, and they will all impact the subscriber numbers, depending on how you’re counting them in the first place.
“I do get really good feedback – what we call metrics, or telemetry – that allow me to actually do my job. So it’s more interesting for me to get feedback on how many people played the Rakghoul Plague event, something that happened a few weeks ago. To know if people who hadn’t played for a while came back just to play that… was it so that we had a surge in subscriptions so that maybe people that lapsed came back… I get to know how many people – what percentage of people – participated in it, and how many people finished it. And that’s a number I can work with.”
There have been many analyst reports over the last few months citing drops in subscription numbers for SWTOR. Recently, a SWTOR player took it upon himself to do some server population figuring, and found that the average game server has 344 players online at a given time.