Activision CEO Not So Sure Star Wars: TOR Can be A Success for EA

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sarkli

The term "WoW killer" has been over used and abused. WoW is killing itself, Blizzard doesnt need the help of another game to do that. As has been posted in a couple reply below me games like Aion, Rift and Warhammer were said to be this "WoW killer" and yet they had small success and WoW shrugged it off and kept trucking along. There will be no one specific WoW killer.. except age. But i left WoW close to a year ago and that was when they still had 14million players and now i see commercials boasting that they have 10million. Losing 4million players in a years time is pretty huge imo. My guess is that between the games age, the fact that Blizzard turned off alot of core players(including myself) with the easiness of Wrath, that alot of casual players thought it was 'too hard' once the over due changes were made in Cata and left, the fact that you can only fight, use and wear the same recycled graphics so many times w/o becoming bored all adds up to WoWs slow demise. 

The player base both hardcore and casual players alike are looking for something new and different to tingle that special spot behind the eyes again. Could it be SWToR? Who knows but with the way the game looks and plays it very well could be the next big MMO to carry us on in a digital world for at least the next few years. Everyone ive talked to who has played the beta has said that it is a very solid and decent game but how they do no one knows and only the first 6months will tell. I personally think it will become the dominant MMO until Blizzard releases the 'secret' MMO they've been working on for the past couple years.

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QuadraQ

Basically he's telling the shareholders: "You know that huge competitor over there? Don't worry about them since all the money will go to the IP holder. You want to keep our stock in your portfolio." Yet he wouldn't need to say anything if there wasn't any concern. WOW is vulnerable, and if you've played the beta you know that they're on to something. Bottom line: He's full of crap.

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zaphodbeeblebrox 42

id would look into it IF it wasnt by EA. u know the comapny with HORIBLE drm.

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bling581

The fact that it's Star Wars will itself draw in a huge number of people. I haven't been following the game that closely myself but I know I will at least try it because I'm a huge Star Wars fan and have been looking for another SW MMO since they doused SWG with the "Combat Upgrade" 6-7 years ago.

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Archangel1976

As for SWTOR....

History kinda proves Kotick, however much you dislike him and/or Blizzard/Activision, to be kinda right. Consider the "success" of Aion, Rift, Warhammer....

Of course, it depends on what you define as "success". Does that mean "de-throning" WoW? Or does it mean developing a solid fanbase, creating a product that is able to consistently operate in the black, brining in a profit for the company?

I always read these and get a bit of a chuckle because of the various responses. There's always a VERY vocal and emotionally charged crowd that seems to just hate WoW. Funnier yet, reading how many of these people PLAY that game. Or reading how people will utter that dammit, their $15 is special and they should get a free something or other instead of paying for it as others are.

Right there... I think that is the root of what EA has to worried about. They WILL get those people, but at the same time.... look at their attitude. How the hell are you supposed to keep these people as fans? With this part of the fan base, you're walking a minefield. A BUNCH of them will run to SWTOR and declare it the most awesome thing ever in the first month and crow about it "killing WoW".... but then, as these people did with Rift, Aion, and others... they will leave because nothing can ever meet their expectations.

WoW didn't have 10 million subscribers out the gate. They had to compete with EQ and DAOC. They slowly built that up over time. People forget that. People forget the history, that WoW was NOT like this when it first came out.

EA has fight ahead of itself, and a large part of their success will boil down to patience. If they are looking to dethrone instantaneously.... I think they will fail. If they are willing to eat losses, and go for a long term win.... different story. EA's history with that isn't very good. They've always been after the quick score.

And please consider.... when they spend $100mil on a game.... and then spend $100 mil on MARKETING.... what does that really tell you about priorities? (Going off of Ars Technica and other sites I've read as to the $ thrown at this).

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bling581

People also forget that WoW is starting to lose steam and is losing subscribers. It's old, period. I started playing back in 2005 I believe and recently quit early this year because I was tired of the same old stuff with a new coat of paint. It still may be pretty popular but I think they will start to see real competition with keeping subscribers.

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Archangel1976

I'd agree with some of that. I think they'll struggle to keep subs mainly due to their own failings in making a major upgrade. Other MMO's keep exposing the weakness of customization in WoW. Also, it has grown stale. I'd say its biggest problem is end-game "burnout". It's a HUGE world, but how much of it MATTERS? A very small fraction. It bottlenecks HARD at the end-game.

Everyone is aching for something new. Problem is.... no one is delivering something truly NEW.

Except maybe the people who made EVE. They have a new idea with their upcoming FPS that I think actually breaks new ground.

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ApathyCurve

He's probably right; Lucas the Hutt is notoriously tight-fisted with his IP.  It's understandable, since that's how he negotiated to make the movie in the first place, and it's made him richer than a Rockefeller. Let's just say there's room for doubt that EA can make up for a $300M initial investment with George's multiple chins hanging over their collective head.  The game would have to be successful at the level of WoW to make EA any real cash, and I just don't see that happnening.  It's possible, mind you -- just not very likely.  This is the main reason Sony dumped SWG:  the financial numbers simply didn't work any more.

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Archangel1976

Sony dumped SWG but, at the same time, keeps EQ up and running. Reason why? $$$

EQ is easy to maintain. The fanbase is small, but solid. Amount of $$$ in.... small. Amount of money out? Small... but bigger than what they put into it.

SWTOR CAN be as successful as WoW, but in my opinion, it'll take the following: 1) Time. Lots of it.    2) Patience. Lots of it.     3) Dedication.... EA will have to put considerable manpower into developing the game out/forward and nuturing it.

Blizzard was so successful with WoW because.... well... what else were they working on? They focused a LOT of energy into the game between Vanilla and WotLK's release. They lived, ate, breathed, slept WoW. EA.... needs to let Bioware do the same. Problem is, EA's track record does not support this. EA's biggest successes have been on..... what? Madden. Same game every year with little tweaks. Big $$$ off a licensed product sold to a sheep-like group. Their major releases are the same thing re-packaged with new shiny. Spoiler Alert: the diehards who will stick with Star Wars are not the jock crowd who are going to be wowed with new rosters. They are very discerning sheep.... and pay attention to details. They CARE.

Bioware, on the other hand.... has done better for itself. The question is: will Bioware run the show on SWTOR, with big daddy EA lending finanical backing?

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Straegen

The game is going to be a hit IMO and probably won't have any problems making a pile of cash for everyone involved. While it is old school and feels it the game is already very stable, very well written with lots to do. They even have pretty decent balance and the game can be solo'd or grouped effectively day one. The game also is hitting at a time when no other significant MMO is on the radar. Rift was early this year and GW2 will be lucky to make it in late 2012. Much like WoW it is an improvement over existing titles but isn't revolutionary. Due to its older tech and feel it probably doesn't have the legs of WoW but if it can get 5 good years of subscriptions which at this point is almost a forgone conclusion I think everyone involved will consider it a success... maybe not WoW or Mass Effect success but a win nonetheless.

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wolfing

Depends how you define success.

If success means dethroning WoW, no it won't.

But if success means making money, then it absolutely will.

Say the game cost $50 million to make...

At an average of $30 per box (taking out store's share and what not), they'll break even if 500k people buy it (which it most definitely will)

That's $15 million there

My estimate is that people will play the game for an average of 6 months, since the box comes with 1 month, that's about...

500,000 * $14 (average) a month * 5 months = $35 million

So it breaks even at the minimum of 500k people. 

Now, my guess is that a lot more people than 500k will buy it, probably more like 1.5 million people (still way below WoW), which means they'll be making  $100 million profit in the first 6 months.

The issue I see is, what happens after that. Once the initial rush of people leaves after 6 or so months, will it still be profitable?  That depends on how fast they can churn new content, and on a story heavy with full voice MMO like TOR, that's not so fast as in other games. And they still have to pay the full 'Lucas fee'. 

So it will be successful, it will make a lot of money (enough to recover the investment and make a lot more) the first year. After that? I'm not so sure.

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JointStrike

This is a terrible comment. Did you read the article? It clearly states 300 million as the game development costs, not 50 million. Second thing, the argument being made is that of the$30 per box that EA could be making, Lucas will get most of it. As such, your estimates are way off. Im actually in doubt of you're reading comprehension skills???

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wolfing

yes I read it, and it clearly states that it was a rumor, and I know they laughed about it when they were asked if it was true. They said it wasn't even close, a fraction of that actually.

Also, the $30 per box already takes out Lucas' share. The game sells for $60 the cheapest version, and up to like $160 for collector's editions

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philipa25

I spent a little time in the beta and I don't see it being that successful unless the license carries it.  It's not a bad game, it was just more fun when it was WoW, which was actually fun when it was Everquest.  It's the same old stuff with a different coat of paint.  I do like the addition of the personalized cut scenes though.

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Holly Golightly

Yes, it will benefit Lucas, but it will help give EA more exposure as a triple A title developer. Not sure which company is better. I prefer EA because they have The Sims and Alice: Madness Returns. Activision has yet to produce one game for the female audience... At least, not that I am aware of at the moment.

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Archangel1976

Not to sound like an ogre Holly, but that's a really really tricky market. And with games like SWTOR costing anywhere from $100mil (cost of dev I read) to $300mil (I'd assume cost of dev plus the rumored $100mil marketing campaign), that's a lot of money to throw at something. Even with Star Wars' (uh oh... I used it.... Lucas might sue me for trademark infringement) massive popularity, EA is probably watching nervously.

Imagine now, that you're trying to target that smaller, specific fanbase. What would be the "right" title to dev? Worse yet, imagine the hate and discontent if you spent say.... $50mil developing the title. I can already imagine the backlash of "omg... see? this is how much they really value women.... they spent X on SWTOR but are not spending even half that on Y". And even if it IS successful, they'll be hounded with "Imagine if they spent the money on Y like they did X! This company failed to do the right thing."

Of course, on the flip side of that, if the game BOMBS..... it'll be howls of "OMG HOW CAN U BE SO STUPID TO SPEND X ON Y!?!?!?!"

Best bet? Develop a generic title that can appeal to the WHOLE fanbase, and make sure your female fanbase gets fair treatment. That would begin with ACTUALLY LISTENING...... which... most companies seem to really struggle with.

Anyhow...... my 2 cents there.

 

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Holly Golightly

That is some very good input you gave. Of course they should target a larger demographic instead of just the Star Wars fans. To be honest with you, I have never seen a Star Wars movie. So when I see Star Wars jokes on Robot Chicken or Family Guy, I am usually confused. Activision offers less the the larger demographic. All they produce are just military games. They do have a few super hero games, but none that I am interested in. The only ereason why I have liked EA all along was because of the Sims and Need For Speed. Alice was the newest game of their I fell in love with. So naturally I am going to side for EA instead Activision. i would have liked to see EA invest more money on Alice like they did with Battlefield 3 and Star Wars... But not everything is treated equal. Sadly...

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