Star Wars: The Old Republic is the subject makings the rounds. We have the speculative “It took 300 bazillion dollars to make” and the “We need 1 million subs to break even” statements turning heads and attracting the obligatory responses. I figure, why not throw in my own obligatory commentary on the subject?
Looking at it from a matter of fact perspective, the game has a healthy pool from which it will draw subscribers:
Star Wars fans
Lucas Arts game fans
bandwagon “this is the next big thing” fans
They’ll breach 1 mill easy. If that’s all they need to break even, they’ll crush it. But I have a different perspective to look at this from.
It’s a bit disconcerting that they’ve had to spend so much to accomplish the projected/expected ease of obtaining those numbers. It doesn’t bode well for anyone else wanting to break in and have a hit — they’ll think they have to spend on this level. I really wish that I had some factual numbers to work with, but as in many industries where they aren’t available I will just have to work with what I understand. DAOC had a very solid number of subscribers for its time. Proportional to how many people now play MMOs today, I feel it could easily be similar to saying that it controlled a share of the market equal to what we would categorize as a million subs.
Launch a game today with the budgets of yesterday and you won’t break 100k — at least that’s what I’m afraid will happen. I really, really want SWTOR to be a great game but part of me (perhaps a little devil inside) wants to see some sort of backlash for such a high budget just to prove a point.
The gameplay of SWTOR will not justify the price. It just won’t. It’ll be the name, the new technological stunts, the marketing, and the ability to claim these amazing feats that brings about the price tag. What I want to see is gameplay that justifies the cost. You could cut the price more than half and achieve superior gameplay without question, then spend that money actually innovating or improving upon/reviving the virtual world feel.
Without straying off the subject, I’ll just end it by saying that I don’t get what all the anti-hype is about given that I don’t see the reason for the hype (nor any actual hype yet). I see a game with a huge natural following making the appropriate noise given its size. I’m more worried about the collateral damage (false perceptions) from this launch than anything else.
(I’m reserving “The Numbers Strike Back” and “Return of the Numbers” for future SWTOR posts.)