Star Wars: The Old Republic sub numbers already declining - analyst
Cowen's Doug Creutz estimates that subscriber numbers for the game peaked at 1.7 million in February, and that by the end of the current fiscal year in March 2013, the game will have around 1.25 million subscribers, based on server statistics provided on TorStatus.net.
Creutz also noted that EA has begun to heavily promote the game, leading him to believe that this is in response to the stalling subscriber numbers.
"We believe that the apparent decline in subscribers is most likely due to a lack of 'end-game' content for the title, meaning that players who hit the level cap have few compelling options in terms of ongoing game play," he noted. "While the game got off to a good start, the relatively light amount of end-game content does appear to be taking a toll."
"We believe EA is attempting to address the end-game content issue, including a recent major game update, but momentum appears to have stalled and we believe it is prudent to adopt a more conservative forecast on subscribers at this time."
However, Creutz said that despite this drop, the overall outlook for the company's fiscal year appears positive, thanks to EA's "highly predictable" sports franchises, growth in digital sales, and current reasonable valuation.
Revenue from The Old Republic along with contributions from EA's PopCap acquisition will ensure that the company's digital revenues are up around 46 percent year-over-year to $1.75 billion, suggests the analyst, while its retail game sales are estimated to decline by 8 percent during this fiscal year.
Compared to the rest of the video games market, Creutz expects EA to outperform the average by at least 20 percent.