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SWTOR boss: gamers are wary of subscription “commitment”

Thursday, 16th August 2012 00:57 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Star Wars: The Old Republic is apparently going free-to-play because gamers are scared of commitment – just like your last significant other kept saying.

“The market is clearly becoming a free-to-play market in the MMO space. It appears that’s the direction the whole industry is going,” BioWare Austin general manager Matthew Bromberg said, as reported by IGN.

“Our own research told us that a significant percentage of the folks who have left the game, left because of the commitment to the subscription model. It’s not that surprising if you think about it because the dynamic in an MMO is essentially one in which you subscribe and then you’re waiting for new content, and people don’t feel good about waiting.”

Producing new content is a serious issue for SWTOR because BioWare set the bar so high with its initial offering, but BioWare hopes to remedy this issue by focusing on improved multiplayer aspects.

“It’s hugely expensive. It’s cinematic, it’s lush, there’s voice over, it’s unbelievable. The amount of content available at launch was extraordinary,” Bromberg said.

“You have folks who’ve played through the levels, and what an online service has to provide is grouping. All of our research shows that people who have friends in game and play with people in social content, love the game and stay.

“If you remain a single player, you won’t stay. Our focus, in addition to extending the story which we will continue doing, is giving those players who want to play in groups with other people something fresh and new to do all the time.”

EA announced SWTOR’s free-to-play transition earlier this month.

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9 Comments

  1. sleaker

    Producing new content is a serious issue for SWTOR because BioWare set the bar so high with its initial offering, but BioWare hopes to remedy this issue by focusing on improved multiplayer aspects.

    Editor bias much? No quotes on this so you must be writing it. Pretty sure the initial content offering wasn’t that great otherwise they would have kept more subs.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Giskard

    @1 The leveling experience was the best of any launch day MMO to date. There was nothing that even compared to it. And that is a majority of the content in a game at launch.

    The end game was lacking somewhat, but that’s a matter of too easy bosses / too many drops. There was loads of more content than any of the big MMOs had at launch, even dungeons and raids.

    It was decent. But then you finished it, and there was nothing to draw you in anymore.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. Phoenixblight

    @1

    The F2P movement was planned from the get go. THey were just using subs to recoup the cost of development. My friends and teacher who work on TOR kept talking about a huge change in the fall but they would never go in detail about it. I had asked if it was an expansion and they said even bigger change than that. Obviously they were talking about the F2P change. They were talking about this stuff in January when the game was at 2 million subs so they knew they were going to F2P just waiting until the system was fully ready in the Fall.

    @2
    “It was decent. But then you finished it, and there was nothing to draw you in anymore.”

    Still subbing now. My friends and I get together for Game night and usually go at it with PVP or operations. I am not playing as much as I did at the beginning but I still play it at least 4 hours a week.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. DSB

    @1 Ultimately how “great” the offering was is pretty subjective, but that’s still more than enough reason to add an “EA claims…” to the front of it.

    I love the “last significant other” bit though. Classic Steph :P

    @3 EAs stock was plummeting since November, so that would make sense.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. Dargoth

    “you subscribe and then you’re waiting for new content” – that’s one major reason. You pay money each month and get new content at a very irregular pace, and that makes you think things like “What the hell, I’ve been giving them my money for three months already, and there’s still nothing new in the game. What am I even paying so much for?”.

    Another one is – you give your money in exchange for a LIMITED play time. Which means it makes you play not because it’s fun or anything but just because you’ve paid for it. Making it look kinda like a chore, a job… And that makes you think “Wait, it’s becoming more like a job, but why am I paying for doing it? Is it some trick, like from a Tom Sawyer book?”

    I think all those issues can be easily solved by just cutting the price of the subscription. Paying 12 euros each month for a hope of getting a content expansion sometime within the next half year is too expensive. Paying somewhere around 4 dollars for the same thing – well, why not? It’s cheap and totally affordable, and I’m sure it’s more than enough to pay for servers and staff expenses.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. GrimRita

    F2P options were there a couple of years ago – I saw them with a few hands on events.

    But lack of content in such a linear game is the reason why SWTOR bombed. 1 actual content update within 9 months is just a poor show. Sure, Bioware can go on about costs for voice acting etc but that is not an excuse.

    If you search VG247 – theres lots of posts where Bioware claim they have end game nailed – so where is that content?

    People WILL pay for an MMO if they deemed its worth it – SWTOR is not worth it

    #6 2 years ago
  7. Joe_Gamer

    Their research is way off, none of the people I know left because they didn’t want a subscription. No end game, unbalanced PVP, faction imbalance, Ugly fucking graphics, Piss poor character creator(human, blue human, red human, green human, tentacle human, and uh cyborg human? WTF) and finally the low population caps on their server became a game destroyer once people started leaving. Hell all I wanted was a five o’clock shadow that didn’t look like cat shit superglued to my toons face….

    #7 2 years ago
  8. viralshag

    Let’s face it, they’re just trying to blame the one thing that’s easiest to change. Going from a sub to F2P… everyone is doing it!

    As I said before, they’re just digging themselves into a deeper hole the more they blame the subs. If shareholders aren’t happy now, how do you think they’re going to feel after they drop the sub and nothing improves?

    #8 2 years ago
  9. TheWulf

    Eh. More like they’re growing up, becoming savvy, and realising just how much of a tremendous rip off subscriptions have always been. Not to mention that if you’re subscribing, you feel you have to ‘put the time in’ to get your money’s worth. And then the developer capitalises on that to make the game incredibly grindy. No thanks.

    I’m glad that the industry seems to be moving away from that sort of thing, to be honest.

    #9 2 years ago

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