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Riccitiello – MMO subscription model in a free-to-play market is “challenging”

Wednesday, 18th July 2012 21:38 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

EA CEO John Riccitiello has told CNBC “there’s a lot of power in free-to-play,” which has proved a tough model to compete with when it comes to MMOs.

“Our conclusion was we had a great product in Star Wars, but that the subscription model in the world of free-to-play was challenging,” he said, adding EA is exploring “different models to bring more users,” to SWTOR but wouldn’t say whether the firm was considering F2P just yet.

Riccitiello also said he suspects if Microsoft and Sony have new consoles in the works, the systems may be shown early next year, stating that it will be important for EA to show “visibility on next-generation consoles.”

Thanks, GameSpot.

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9 Comments

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  1. Talkar

    While it is true that it is difficult to maintain a sub model with so many F2P games around, i really think in SWTOR’s case it would have helped if Bioware was allowed to be more transparent with the community. Since Bioware is using SCRUM as their software development methodology it would be easy to just say “Hey guys, during the SCRUM meeting we had today we planned that for the next sprint we are going to work on this and that”.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. roadkill

    EVE says Hello!

    edit: But I have to agree with him. The subscription model in a free to play market is challenging. Especially if your game is a epic failed copy/paste experiment.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. GrimRita

    I think Talkar thats one of the big issues with SWTOR(amongst a list of others). An arrogant stupid development team.

    Maybe they cant speak for some unknown reason. Or maybe they simply havent planned(probably this) for the epic fail that the game has become.

    The game has been out for many months now and there has yet to be any kind of community events, total lack of support for fan sites – one of the key tools in helping any MMO be a success(hence why Guild Wars 2 supports a few sites) and people just dont have a reason to login.

    Things are SO bad, that there are only around 10 servers for each territory and a HUGE list of locked servers.

    Paying for an MMO, if it has any kind of value isnt a challenge – but your product needs to be good – not a copy and paste of a rival. But this is the defensive approach leading up to the investor call and probably an announcement for F2P by September/October.

    But brace yourself – excluding the influx of trial accounts, I wouldnt be surprised if their ‘active’ subs drop below 1 million. Losing almost 1 million players in under 8 months – no wonder people are leaving!

    The fastest selling MMO in history? Probably
    The fastest drop in subs in history? definitely

    #3 2 years ago
  4. Talkar

    ^When you say community events, do you mean events created by the community for the community? Or events created by the dev team for the community?

    #4 2 years ago
  5. Puggy

    I don’t know. I mean even if it is free to play…. what reasons would I have to log in after hitting 50? Sure I can play another character, going through most missions I already did once again. Not that much fun in my eyes.

    For a Story driven MMO it was too static, too short. Does not offer enough variation. I mean my character looke quite clunky in most scenes, only having like 5-10 animations all togetehr and even recycled sound files.

    I think The Secret World and even Aion has better “story” Sequences. Pitty really I had so much hope for the game. Was thinking of maybe for a change to be able to level purely by doing story quests, not having to light sabre my enemies to death in the hundrets. But Oh no, you have to go there, kill all the red mobs and get back…. yay, go story.
    I could not even listen to the codex entries while mindlessly hacking away at all the evil Critters on the planets. Something I loved doing in DCUO for example. Just have Batman or Superman, Oracle or whoever explain to me why I am there, what I am doing and keeping me up to date, maybe even telling little gossip stories about the area. Actually that was one of the main reasons to play the game for me.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. GrimRita

    @4 I could say both but what I mean are in game live events – like those found in Star Wars Galaxies. They were simply awesome and a lot of fun.

    They included scores of Sand People raiding one of the key cities(we are talking hundreds and hundreds) and all players were called in to defend.

    Visits by key characters such as Darth Vader/Luke handing out special missions

    People could say that SWTOR has too many servers – well it has less than SWG did when it held these events.

    At launch Bioware claimed to have plenty of end game content – so where is it? 1.2 brought some ‘new’ flashpoints and thus far, thats been it.

    All they talk about is ‘coming soon’. However, if EA make some key changes to the management then maybe this has a chance of improving. They should really bring back Jake Nerri who turned SWG NGE around. He was the original producer on this from LucasArts and importantly, when the game really did look good. Until the dark side arrived.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. viralshag

    @Grim, That’s not entirely true at all. The had the live world event only a month or so ago, the Rakghoul Plague thing.

    And as for no support of fan sites, again, that’s not really true considering anyone could download a fan-site development kit which had a crap ton of assets to be used in the design of websites.

    Since the last patch and server merges I think the game has found its stride and even I have been having a great time in game. If it stays busy like it is, I can see myself playing for a good few more months.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. Talkar

    @6
    As Viralshag said there was the Rakghoul event, which took place not that long ago, and there is a new event coming pretty soon-ish.
    But there are also events organized by the community itself, be that openworld PvP against 2 guilds, or a race on Nar Shadaa, or just a good ol’ fashioned dance party. I’ve seen plenty of all of these kinds of events ;)
    Also, i don’t really know what you mean with they don’t support fansites. There are plenty of assets the sites can use, and the developers themselves has been in both interviews and podcasts created by such fansites. I’d say that is some pretty decent support :P

    #8 2 years ago
  9. GrimRita

    Viral that wasnt really a ‘live’ event. It was just another bull shit collecting daily. There was nothing ‘live’ about it.

    Again, regarding fan sites – there is ZERO support. Yes, there is an outdated fan site kit but prior to EA taking over the running of this mess, a friend of mine who ran a SWTOR fan site actually managed to get dev interviews etc.

    Then, once EA took over – all that was stopped. Fan sites were not allowed to attend any hand on events, request interviews etc etc.

    Even now, where are the fan site spotlights? Interviews etc etc that they promised? None. Apart from a crappy Guild summit a few months back.

    There is a big difference to handing out asset kits and actually SUPPORTING fan sites. Just look at Arena with Guild Wars 2. Kinda puts SWTOR to shame.

    Community is key to the success of any online game and this is where Bioware fall flat, despite the size of their community team. All they appear to be are over paid forum moderators.

    #9 2 years ago