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Bigpoint CEO: The Old Republic Won't Ever Be Profitable


JediAthos
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When it came to discussing the ambitious massively multiplayer collaboration between BioWare, Electronic Arts, and LucasArts, Bigpoint CEO Heiko Hubertz didn't mince words.

 

During his keynote at the London Games Conference, Hubertz explained his skepticism regarding the upcoming Star Wars MMO, saying "A big publisher does not understand that a subscription model is not the future. With micro-transactions and longer lifetime, maybe I see a chance for this game, but I don't think that EA or BioWare will be profitable with this game. Ever."

 

These are strong words from a rival MMO developer, but they certainly shouldn't come as a surprise considering two of the MMOs Bigpoint has in development, Battlestar Galactica and The Mummy, adopt the free-to-play model. Many recent games like Lord of the Rings Online and Champions Online have switched to free-to-play after running into budget problems using the subscription model. Internet rumors pin the budget for Star Wars: The Old Republic anywhere between $100 million and $300 million.

 

Regardless of the budget, given the size of the rabid Star Wars fan base and BioWare's RPG pedigree, I'm not so quick to dismiss The Old Republic as an inevitable failure. Only time will tell if Hubertz's hunch proves correct.

 

source: http://gameinformer.com/b/news/archive/2010/11/05/bigpoint-ceo-the-old-republic-won-t-ever-be-profitable.aspx

 

 

Interesting comments...and as GI pointed out from a rival MMO developer. Thoughts?

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I believe it will be actually good with some minor issues which players or reviews wish were different and they will get slightly attacked for using concepts from WOW.

 

The biggest question is...the end game and the amount of content since players will be large chunks of hours playing and you don't want your player to play through all of it to fast or some will leave.

 

It will be interesting to see at release what this will play like from start to finish..or to endgame actually

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The Problem is, the people who generally Pay to Play MMO's for 6 years at a time 7 days a week aren't being catered to (From what we've seen) and the people who enjoy Story and RP dont want to pay more than once for their game. I think they have got the concept all wrong, they have massive amounts of Talent working on this and they have put so much effort in to it... but I still think it would be better as either a straight up farm mobs and PVP MMO, or a better looking off-line RPG not as Hybrid.

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The Problem is, the people who generally Pay to Play MMO's for 6 years at a time 7 days a week aren't being catered to (From what we've seen) and the people who enjoy Story and RP dont want to pay more than once for their game. I think they have got the concept all wrong, they have massive amounts of Talent working on this and they have put so much effort in to it... but I still think it would be better as either a straight up farm mobs and PVP MMO, or a better looking off-line RPG not as Hybrid.

QFT. TOR may have impressed a lot of people in a good way but it also managed to rile a good deal of fans.

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This game I think has the potential to draw in a unique group of players as you will have some people as has been mentioned here that have never touched an MMO that will want to play the game simply because it is Star Wars. Then you'll get MMO players who are SW fans, as well as RPG players that are SW fans.

 

Truth be told I think they'll end up turning a profit as long as they can make the game viable over the long term which is where Blizzard has really been successful with WoW. They continue to make their game interesting and engaging to their subscriber base hence the reason people continue to pay for it and the reason they draw in new subscribers.

 

If Bioware can do that then TOR will be successful and profitable, if they can't it will likely fail within a few years like many other now defunct MMOs.

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  • 2 weeks later...
I believe it will be actually good with some minor issues which players or reviews wish were different and they will get slightly attacked for using concepts from WOW.

 

I hear this again & again, and I don't quite understand. Logan is right, people seem anxious to make attacks for developers using aspects of WoW in their games. I think this is silly. WoW has been #1 for years as far as MMOs go. I have often wondered why no company has COMPLETELY ripped WoW and made a new game that uses all the beloved features of WoW but in a new format with fresh ideas. Seems like good business. Besides it's not like Blizz invented all the nice features we love in WoW... I saw almost the whole game in a sci-fi format years before, it was a game called Earth & Beyond.

 

I hope that if this MMO does NOT do just that, (take the good things in WoW and add more good things) that someone else soon does. I have played WoW for a long time now and as a player that talks to other players, many are sick of the pandering to non-gamers. When WoW began for instance it most definitely did not pander to non-gamers. It was tough and you had to pay attention and many of us liked that, and would like to see it again. Still, it gathered a following and it is my opinion that a game MUST be for gamers. If you build it ... we will come.

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Since it does have story and I'm assuming the Sith Emperor or whatever is the final boss. So I'm wondering as well how much content it in between the Start to the Final Boss.

 

Well, maybe or maybe not. I hear it actually depends on what character class and how you choose to evolve through the game that will determine what role your character has in the overall storyline.

 

We'll see.

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Since it does have story and I'm assuming the Sith Emperor or whatever is the final boss. So I'm wondering as well how much content it in between the Start to the Final Boss.

 

I doubt this.

Each class will have its own boss and what we will see is something happen that complicates things and these complications will be in part related to the boss in the game depending on the factions etc

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Well, maybe or maybe not. I hear it actually depends on what character class and how you choose to evolve through the game that will determine what role your character has in the overall storyline.

 

We'll see.

 

I'm with GTA on this.

This game has potential and I'm fairly positive. We'll have to wait and see though. We've only seen small action gameplay, how does it feel if you play it three-four hours straight? Is it like WoW with side quests and cool stuff on every didigtal street corner? Capable of doing many interesting stuff besides battling?

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Mmm--sounds like the Bigpoint CEO has a bad case of sour grapes. The pre-release lifetime subscription sales paid for Star Trek Online's entire game development costs. Granted, those were lower than what TOR's are, but I suspect if Bioware/EA sells pre-release lifetime subs, they'll sell a ton of those. Any subscription fees after that will be gravy for keeping the game running.

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I can see the Bigpoint CEO's position. The development costs of TOR are so high that the game has to literally fly off the shelves at an alarming rate. In order to be popular enough to make the dev costs worth it, it has to beat WoW. Then again, maybe not. If they offer free to play main story, with optional pay to play extras, then we could see initial sales making up the bulk of costs, as those RPG fans who refuse to pay a sub lose their main argument. Then there are the options of lifetime subs for pre-purchase. Microtransactions, and a number of things I personally dislike would be other ways to get additional revenue. Heck they could even go so far as one character per license. Each additional character requires another purchase. Expansion packs released regularly that give some new feature, race, story or whatever is how WoW keeps bringing in new players and old players. And of course something that SW:Galaxies didn't do... ADVERTISE THE GAME!

 

And I'm pretty sick of people saying "X MMO is a WoW clone" because it has Y feature. If that's the case we could say that WoW is an Everquest clone. WoW used features from many existing MMO's and just refined them into an enjoyable game. I can't think of a single feature that WoW has that was not done in an MMO before it.

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The fan boys won't be able to resist. It will make profit, but not beyond a year or two.

 

That's what they said about Galaxies. Of course this game has more going for it than Galaxies did.

1) Story

2) CONTENT

3) TONS of attention

4) Not SOE

5) Jedi from the start(and they actually make sense in this era)

6) BioWare

7) NOT SOE

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I don't necessarily think it has to "beat" WoW to turn a profit. What they do have to do is something that Blizzard consistently does which is keep the game fresh with new content, and updates for their subscriber base.

 

I don't think Bioware will go the micro-transaction but I could see it given the popularity of that particular model these days.

 

@LordoftheFish: So you would agree with Mr. Hubertz then? Personally I think the game will draw more than just fanboys. You'll have some of those yes, but I think with this game you will get people who like Star Wars, people who like MMOs, people who will play it based on the fact that its a Bioware game etc...and as with any game there will be those who play it and like it, those who won't and leave, and those who won't and stay to see if it gets better.

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oh. i heard somewhere it would be a microtransaction thing. the base is that you can play after buying the game, and then if you want extra gear or equipment, you have to pay for them.

 

I hope so, especially for the lower income or younger players, But I dont think a game of this size and Cost can survive on a "Clone Wars adventures" payment system.

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