At the London Games Conference this past week, the CEO of Bigpoint studios went out on a limb to say that Bioware’s Star Wars: The Old Republic will never be profitable. Bigpoint is currently working on the Battlestar Galactica MMO, which will likely be free-to-play with microtransactions instead of a monthly fee.
â€œIf you look at Star Wars from EA and BioWare, they estimated a development budget of over $100m,â€ he explained.
â€œThis is an online game for many million of subscribers, so the publisher does not understand that a subscription model is not the future.
â€œWith micro-transactions maybe I see the game having a chance but I don’t think that EA or BioWare will ever be profitable with this game.â€
With recent comments like those of Cryptic’s Jack Emmert in Eurogamer regarding subscription MMOs, Bigpoint may have…well, a point.
“I don’t believe that subscriptions are dead,” Emmert expanded, “because there are 10 million or so people subscribing to WOW that beg to differ. What I think is there are simply not as many people willing to pay another subscription in addition to WOW, in addition to their Xbox Gold membership.
“As a result, they’ll pay, but only for games that are worth it. They reserve judgement. They’re not going to go into a store and buy an MMO off the shelf and start committing to a subscription month in month out unless they’re 100 per cent sure that game matches their expectations, and so often times they don’t even try it.
“What free-to-play does is say, ‘Go ahead and try it, there’s nothing at risk here.’ There isn’t this sense that you’re adding a charge onto your monthly Visa bill or what have you; you’re just sampling it, giving it a shot, seeing if it works. If it doesn’t, no harm no foul – you don’t play.
“World of Warcraft has pretty much sucked the oxygen out of the subscription market and kind of devoured it itself,” he added, “and those games that are currently subscription-based are battling for a very, very small market of people who either don’t like WOW or are willing to pay a second subscription.”
It also reinforces the former EA Employee who said something similar:
The rest of the game is a joke. EA knows it and so does George Lucas,theyâ€™re panicking , and so most of Mythic has already been cannibalized to work in Austin on it because they canâ€™t keep pushing back launch.
Old Republic will be one of the greatest failures in the history of MMOs from EA. Probably at the level of the Sims Online. We all know it too â€¦â€¦