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Role Playing (Games) Star Wars Prequels The Almighty Buck Games

Star Wars MMO Estimated To Cost $100M 133

Posted by Soulskill
from the go-big-or-go-home dept.
donniebaseball23 writes "EA's BioWare is developing its first-ever MMORPG in Star Wars: The Old Republic, and the publisher is betting big that the project will be a huge success. Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter says development alone cost an estimated $80 million, with marketing and distribution adding in another $20 million. The good news is it shouldn't take much to break even. 'We estimate that EA will cover its direct operating costs and break even at 500,000 subscribers (this is exceedingly conservative, and the actual figure is probably closer to 350,000), meaning that with 1.5 million paying subscribers, EA will have 1 million profitable subs,' Pachter noted." They're now aiming for a release late this year, but acknowledged the possibility that it could slip to January 2012. If you're curious about the current state of the gameplay, Eurogamer and Rock, Paper, Shotgun (PvE, PvP) both posted write-ups of some recent hands-on time.
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Star Wars MMO Estimated To Cost $100M

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Great, even more people will be camping their parent's basements.

  • This is code for "damn, November 2011 is looking pretty crowded with AAA title games - we might reevaluate the situation and climate - not to mention our customer's wallets - and release at a later date."
     
    Not that I blame them. I can think of at least five AAA games coming out this fall, and I don't even follow gaming news all that closely. Christmas titles are getting as much pre-marketing as presidential candidates these years. After Valve has proven with three titles now (L4D, L4D2, Portal 2), a spring release can still be extremely profitable. Sounds like other studios might start caching in on the developing year-round release cycle.

    • by nbetcher (973062)
      I never have understood why game publishers historically shoot for a Christmas release date. When I was growing up my parents, friends, nor extended family ever bought me a single video game. It's too complicated to shop for games for someone else, especially when it's a PC game; you have a lot of things to look for in what your target audience needs: platform (Windows, Mac, ... Linux?), CPU, memory, GPU, etc. On top of all of that you cannot return any software to any retailer and Steam only makes it sligh
      • I never have understood why game publishers historically shoot for a Christmas release date. When I was growing up my parents, friends, nor extended family ever bought me a single video game. It's too complicated to shop for games for someone else, especially when it's a PC game

        As a kid I usually took a handful of my Christmas money out the day after Christmas and bought myself a game or two. It is hard to buy games for someone else, but game purchases still increase around the holidays.

      • by Dalroth (85450)

        Your family sucks. My family, I'd give my Mom a list of games I wanted in the order I wanted them and my family would work their way down the list.

        • by idontgno (624372)

          No, Mom. I don't have a WII. I have an XBox 360. This is the WII version of the game. See? The list says, quite explicitly, "XBOX 360 VERSIONS ONLY." Now I'll have to exchange this.

          And this is a PC game. The only PC here is your laptop, and you don't want me using that any more than I want to try to play this game on that non-gaming piece of crap.

          You know what, Mom? Just give me cash next year.

    • by Onuma (947856) on Friday May 06, 2011 @08:00AM (#36046010)

      After Valve has proven with three titles now (L4D, L4D2, Portal 2), a spring release can still be extremely profitable.

      FYI: L4D and L4D2 were both Q4 releases (November 2008/2009, respectively). They often have major sales via Steam in the springtime to boost their numbers, as well as various holidays and seasons as well. Perhaps this is where you got mixed up.

      • by Hadlock (143607)

        Whoops! You are correct, sir. My apologies. I think they had a 50% off sale on L4D in early spring and then did a press release about how dropping the price of a game inside of a year can significantly boost overall sales numbers. That's probably what I am thinking of.

  • 100M wtf? (Score:5, Funny)

    by TheCarp (96830) <[ten.tenaprac] [ta] [cjs]> on Friday May 06, 2011 @07:15AM (#36045810) Homepage

    Who is going to play that? Shit, I always balk a bit at $60 for a game, but, that's at least somewhat reasonable. I don't have 100 million burning a hole in my pocket though, good luck to anyone who picks up that title. Not going to be massively multiplayer with a cost like that!

    • by Chrisq (894406)

      Who is going to play that? Shit, I always balk a bit at $60 for a game, but, that's at least somewhat reasonable. I don't have 100 million burning a hole in my pocket though, good luck to anyone who picks up that title. Not going to be massively multiplayer with a cost like that!

      They have inside news that the US dollar is going to go like this [wikimedia.org]. You will see 100 million dollars as good value.

    • by Kvasio (127200)

      who's saying this one would be $60 game?

      With 500000 subs needed to break even the costs of $100M this somehow indicates $200 revenue per customer. Sure, this leaves doubt how this would split between box/download and subscription.

  • I'm not sure I'd that much every month just to play a game.

  • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Friday May 06, 2011 @07:20AM (#36045834)
    $100 million is not really that huge compared with other recent mmos.
    • by DeadboltX (751907)
      Rift, the most recent successful MMO, cost at least 50 million dollars for development.
      http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/30130/Report_Trions_Debut_Game_Costs_Over_50M.php
  • by fadir (522518) on Friday May 06, 2011 @07:32AM (#36045888)

    Considering the rumors that are and were floating around and the many delays this project suffered already it's hard to believe that it will cost "only" 100 mio. incl. marketing. I heard numbers reaching as high as 250 mio. and it would surprise me if they would manage to stay below 100 mio. for development only.

  • But I just read $80M on another website: http://www.the-magicbox.com/gaming.htm [the-magicbox.com] Wait a minute, it's still in development right? So the number changes every day...
  • Hey /.

    So lets quickly look at some MMOS

    Eve-online: Great MMO supported by a company that loves it (to a degree) and really tries to make the game better. Driving 80% by player actions and the developers give the tools to the players to create their own content, this is a sandbox game

    WoW: They got it right here, the first real user friendly pretty MMO, with a simple mission system and great back story supported by an existing legion of fans who already played blizzard games. Remember that it took 2
    • by Wyatt Earp (1029)

      When WoW launched it had plenty of competition, remember Everquest II? Launched at the same time as WoW. Guild Wars launched in April 2005 when WoW was really struggling with hardware issues and over subscription. Matrix Online, same spring '05 time frame.

      What content in Eve is created by players?

      • by nschubach (922175)

        What content in Eve is created by players?

        Form 35A-2. The Frigate Spreadsheet

        This is closely followed up by Form 38B, How to Fly more ore to Station B for Corporation X sheet

        </badpun>

    • by nschubach (922175)

      TOR i am not sure about, they are spending huge amounts of money on Voice overs, getting actors in, what i believe they are trying to create is an amazing storyline in an MMO.

      Sounds to me like they are trying to make a massive multiplayer single player game.

    • Eve-online: Great MMO supported by a company that loves it (to a degree) and really tries to make the game better. Driving 80% by player actions and the developers give the tools to the players to create their own content, this is a sandbox game

      (laughs hysterically) Unless CCP has changed their tune in the last year, they're probably still rolling out new content while failing to fix the glaring bugs in the old content. Way too much time spent on the eternal "next year" tech of ambulation and new shinie
    • One of WoW's main competitor at launch was EQ1, not to mention 2 and Guild Wars, which in all seriousness wasn't a real threat. EQ1 was because there were fully established raiding guilds in it and it was a real gamble at the time to jump ships to something else. Even EQ2 had to compete with EQ1, and lost to a large degree. EQ2 is free to play and EQ1 people are still willing to pay for 12 years later. MMOs are about raids and that's it. Maybe for friendship for a brief period of time, but other than that y
  • Its a pity this game looks fucking terrible. That $100M could have been used to make several new Dark Forces games.

    • by kamapuaa (555446)

      Dark Forces boils down to walking around pressing "a" over and over and over. That and some bullshit Mario 3D style jumping is the entire game.

      KotOR on the other hand is a fucking classic.

  • Personally, I hope the game does great. I think more choices for MMORPGs is great. However, I would like to point out a problem that exists with the industry, and that's that any problem that occurs right from the start can doom a project forever. An MMO has pretty much one chance to make it, and if it doesn't succeed right out of the gate, it's going to move at a snail pace until the owners finally cancel it. Bioware has a lot riding on this because they're taking an intellectual property that failed miser
    • by Caraig (186934) *

      You petty much nailed it on the head. An MMO has to make a great first impression. STO is struggling after a mediocre release and poor reception. (On the other hand, the devs there are really into the community interaction; other companies could do worse than do that, even if most of it is putting out fires and damage control.)

  • ugh (Score:1, Interesting)

    by JulianDraak (1918564)
    Great. . . another crappy Star Wars game. I miss when Lucasarts was responsible for good games. X-Wing, TIE Figher, Rebel Assault, Dark Forces I & II, Sam & Max, Outlaws, Full Throttle, Indiana Jones & The Fate of Atlantis, etc.
    • by TimeElf1 (781120)
      How could you of forgotten The Secret Of Monkey Island?
    • KOTOR I and II were 2 of the best RPGs I have played. True that KOTOR 2's ending was botched up, but then it wasn't released by Bioware. I am really excited about this game - I haven't found a really good RPG recently after Witcher. Mass Effect and Dragon Age wasn't that good in my opinion.
  • Really another one, in a market that is saturated with MMOs? Couldn't they of used that $100 million for something useful like giving us a finished version of KotOR 2?
    • Yes, because as everyone knows only one game can ever be released at a time.
    • by synapse7 (1075571)
      As much as I like things Star Wars(particularly legos) I don't think I could get into a Star Wars MMO. As a "veteran of WoW" the thought of a sci-fi MMO is neat but needs to be something new and fresh IMO.
      • by idontgno (624372)

        A couple of fine candidates:

        MMO based on some stage of the Battletech universe. There's a lot of scope there for some interesting stuff. Almost everyone would probably roll mech pilot, but still, it'd be way too cool.

        MMO based on Starcraft. The usual joke I make is that if the public announcement system in your current town starts screaming "Nuclear Launch Detected", it would be a much more personal experience.

  • How much of this 'cost' is Lucas getting in licensing fees?

  • I am really hoping this will be good as a star wars fan and an Ex-Wow addict. However, and take this with the requisite grain of salt, I've heard from two different people working on this project that it's got alot of issues and they don't have alot of hope it will turn out great. They complain there is way too much focus on things like voice acting for every single character and not enough on gameplay and combat. It's supposedly not even in alpha testing internally so I doubt we'll see it this year, unless
  • by Gavin Scott (15916) on Friday May 06, 2011 @01:17PM (#36049404)

    I watched a couple videos of this game. Honestly it's going to fail for one reason:

    Lightsabers don't actually cut through stuff.

    Who wants to play a game where you have to beat someone about the head a dozen times with your lightsaber before they die of a concussion?

    G.

    • by DarthVain (724186)

      The problem I see is that I am sure they will have a bunch of races and classes to be, but seriously its going to be like 99% Jedi ratio.

      I mean who the fuck wants to be a Bothen Spy or a Clone Trooper when you can be a Jedi with double lightsabers...

      Just sayin', is gonna be one big mass of Jedi slashing about...

    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      Maybe it'll fail because of lightsabers merely existing. Ie, being a jedi in a single player game is great. But it's an awful idea to make this common in vast multiplayer persistent world game. Jedi should be rare. Sure, being uber powerful is great to attract the kiddies, but they'll only stick around a month or two before they see something else that's shiny. If you want long term players you need to have a decent game world and environment. (sort of reminds me about all the people who show up in Lo

    • by fallen1 (230220)

      Err, no. It will not fail for that reason - just like Star Wars Galaxies did not fail because Jedi/Sith could not cut through people at one blow. (SWG failed due to the CU and NGE bullshit.)

      Who the fuck would want to play a MMORPG where one class could kill the others in one hit? Or when two Jedi or Sith meet, the one who lands the first blow wins? This is a massively multi-player game and all of the people who play it will understand WHY lightsabers do _not_ cut through people (and things) in one hit.

      This

      • by CrazyJim1 (809850)
        There could be an elaborate blocking/evasion/glancing blow system with a good ol 'kick' or 'sand toss' thrown in for good measure. The whole thing of lightsabre battling could be a great game play mechanic, and still do a ton of damage when it connects.
  • I want to know how much it will cost before they break even, they imply 350,000 accounts, is that from day one with a game bought and a month played? 3 months played? 6 months played? My poor marketing skills suggest purchases and a month payed for would make them about 20 million. So I guess those numbers implied some months payed for to offset the cost. I have no doubt it will succeed but I think the MMO movement is hitting it's plateau period. There will be new players at a steady rate but the meteo
  • is the use of Light Sabres. Otherwise, it's just some random sci-fi genre game with pretty hairstyles and face paint.

    While Star Trek and Dr Who retained/reclaimed their original appeal over many iterations, I find it very strange how Star Wars - at least as ubiquitous and seemingly immutable - so quickly and carelessly mutated into something completely unrecognisable and utterly unappealing to those who loved the original.

    One of the great tragedies of modern film culture in my mind.

  • The game could have been 25% better.

  • Breakeven possibly as low as 350,000 subscribers? Spending $100M, that means they expect each user to spend an average of $285.71 on the game. Wha? Even at 500,000, it's $200 per player.

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