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EA Wants Star Wars: TOR To Thrive 10 Years

By - Source: Eurogamer | B 4 comments
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Is it possible for a MMOG to have a ten-year lifespan in a World of WarCraft era?

During the UBS Annual Media and Communications Conference in New York, EA CFO Eric Brown indicated that the company is looking to keep Star Wars: The Old Republic around for at least ten years.

"Our assumptions for break-even and profitability are not seven digit subscribers," he told the audience. "We think we can run and operate a very successful and profitable MMO at different levels. The key thing here is to really perfect the product. We're shooting for an extremely high quality game experience."

"We view this as a 10 year opportunity," he added.

While that sounds like a very long lifespan for a MMOG, just keep in mind that SOE's EverQuest--launched back in March 1999--is still up and running. Funcom's sci-fi-themed MMORPG Anarchy Online still has paying subscribers as well, launched for the PC back in June 2001.

The problem EA will face is publishing a new Star Wars-themed MMOG in a post-World of WarCraft era. Then again, BioWare is highly capable to tackling Blizzard's MMORPG head-on (sorry Tuan, it's true).

Last week Brown announced during the Credit Suisse 2010 Technology Conference that Star Wars: The Old Republic would launch during EA's 2012 fiscal year which begins April 2011. While the new schedule doesn't conflict with a previous forecast of Spring 2011, it does eliminate any rumors that the MMOG will appear in Q1 2011.

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  • 0 Hide
    fjiekie , 9 December 2010 14:21
    and don't forget that the SW universe has already a lot of followers...
    if the price setting is right, i will buy this (it would be my first mmog)
  • 0 Hide
    Silmarunya , 9 December 2010 17:56
    He's certainly right in saying that you don't need a customer base the size of WoW to be profitable. Take a look at some smaller MMO's like LOTRO or Everquest II, that have been highly profitable for years in a row (longer than WoW even in EQ II's case).

    On the other hand, I doubt his 10-year schedule will stand, unless they do something that no MMO in recent history has done: completely redo the graphics after a year or 5, as well as adding a Cataclysm-style overhaul.

    Most MMO's look hopelessly dated after a few years. WoW was clever enough to go for a cartoony style and lots of colour, so the game keeps looking fresh in an era of near photo realistic graphics. TOR went for a cartoony style too, but one that looks more grim and static. I'm concerned that it just won't remain fresh looking. It's not like Crysis, that's still cutting edge, nor is it like WoW, that went for a fresh, cartoony look. Compromises rarely have lasting appeal, and I'm afraid this won't be an exception.
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    makrish , 9 December 2010 18:29
    SilmarunyaOn the other hand, I doubt his 10-year schedule will stand, unless they do something that no MMO in recent history has done: completely redo the graphics after a year or 5, as well as adding a Cataclysm-style overhaul.Most MMO's look hopelessly dated after a few years.


    I assume that you've never played EvE Online... They add features in every expansion pack, normally released twice a year. They've redone the GUI several times, as well as overhauled the ship graphics fairly recently. They also added planetary interaction over the summer, yet more features which completely overhaul the player economy, and hence the gameplay.

    In essence, most MMO's realise that they will be hard pressed to keep gamers interested and will release new features every so often. This means that TOR will probably be subject to new expansion packs, with more planets, weapons, ships, etc. being added every so often. Most MMO's today are in a very different form than they were originally released in.
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    Silmarunya , 9 December 2010 18:45
    makrishI assume that you've never played EvE Online... They add features in every expansion pack, normally released twice a year. They've redone the GUI several times, as well as overhauled the ship graphics fairly recently. They also added planetary interaction over the summer, yet more features which completely overhaul the player economy, and hence the gameplay.In essence, most MMO's realise that they will be hard pressed to keep gamers interested and will release new features every so often. This means that TOR will probably be subject to new expansion packs, with more planets, weapons, ships, etc. being added every so often. Most MMO's today are in a very different form than they were originally released in.


    Okay, EVE indeed received some major overhauls. Forgive me, I was only thinking of the big boys and forgot the little ones for a minute...

    Yes, most if not all MMO's keep adding content, but even that goes stale after a while. I doubt a game will keep gamers intrested for a decade or longer. After a while, a lot of veterans will grow bored an leave the game, which has led to a downward spiral in just about every mmo. Bit by bit, the good old community begins to unravel and the influx of new players rarely manages to reverse that. If you enter a game with a decaying community, you're pretty much demotivated from the start.

    They'll need to do something that very few MMO's manage: attract players and keep a core bunch of them throughout the MMO's entire lifespan. They form the heart of the community, the most loyal beta testers and the most active players. Without them, MMO's enter a downward spiral. It's hugely challenging to keep such people on board. Not adding anything new will make them grow bored, changing too much will make them cry.

    Also, every MMO seems to grow more mainstream and less difficult as it grows. They'll need to walk a thin line that few MMO's manage to follow for a year, never mind a decade...