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Analyst Forecasts Over 1M  Star Wars: Old Republic  Subs, Year-One
Analyst Forecasts Over 1M Star Wars: Old Republic Subs, Year-One
April 25, 2011 | By Kris Graft

BioWare and Electronic Arts' Star Wars: The Old Republic is poised to attract over 1 million subscribers in its first 12 months of availability, according to Janco analyst Mike Hickey.

"We suspect a willingness from investors to believe [500,000] to 1 million Star Wars MMO subscribers is an attainable target," Hickey said in an investor note on Monday. The game is slated for a 2011 release.

EA CEO John Riccitiello said earlier this year, "At half a million subscribers, the game is substantially profitable, but it's not the kind of thing we would write home about. Anything north of a million subscribers, it's a very profitable business."

Hickey said he expects initial sales figures for the game to "far exceed" the 500,000 to 1 million range, but "game development must be perfectly orchestrated" in order to sustain the subscriber base.

The analyst noted EA-published Warhammer Online, developed by subsidiary Mythic and released in 2008, sold well off the blocks with 1.2 million in sales. But the subscriber base quickly dropped to a more sustainable subscriber base of 300,000.

Hickey said at just over 1 million subscribers, Star Wars: The Old Republic could generate $161.9 million in total sales and $35 million in profits during its first 12 months of release.

The analyst also provided his sales estimates for major EA titles released during the fiscal fourth quarter ended March 31:

-Dead Space 2 - $91 million in sales 2.030 million units sold-in
-Dragon Age II - $57 million in sales 1.280 million units sold-in
-Bulletstorm - $50 million in sales 1.100 million units sold-in
-Crysis 2 - $78 million in sales 1.725 million units sold-in
-Need for Speed Shift 2 - $91 million in sales 1.975 million units sold-in
-Mass Effect 2 (PS3) - $17 million in sales 0.380 million units sold-in
-Tiger Woods: The Masters - $32 million in sales 1.100 million units sold-in
-Fight Night Champion - $44 million in sales 0.975 million units sold-in

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Michael Wenk
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@andrew - I think you are jaded. I think that TOR will do incredibly well. Bioware has a great track record and are likely to produce a superior product. The biggest issue I have with TOR is longevity. Its a strong story based game, so once you run out of content, what will you do? Will Bioware be able to churn out content to keep players busy/happy? If they can, or at least do so to keep players going, they will.

Also, when SWG came out, it was not that dated when compared to other MMOs of the time. Can you honestly say that EQ, AC, or UO were better looking? SWG's problem was content. They bet way too much on the fact that players would be happy just being in the SW universe. Of course they were, but that didn't last. Also the way they setup the balance, and the design changes done while the game was in progress hurt it.

One other SWG point, even tho it took a major hit, it's still operating. It may have consolidated, but do you really think SOE or LucasArts would spend money to run it if it wasn't profitable?

My prediction: TOR will do great, I think it will sustain at least 900k subscribers. However its player turnover will be horrendous, possibly worse than WoW. So if Bioware won't or can't keep content up, it will crash and crash hard.

Matt Cratty
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It's going to be all about story again, which they do better than anyone. But, they haven't made a game with even decent gameplay since Baldur's Gate 2 (I exclude dragon age as I haven't played it).

But, there's no question that anything Bioware makes will sell through the roof. It baffles me, but its almost a given that this will succeed in the short term.