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Analyst: A  Mass Effect  MMO Could Earn More For EA Than  The Old Republic
Analyst: A Mass Effect MMO Could Earn More For EA Than The Old Republic
May 6, 2011 | By Tom Curtis

While Electronic Arts has invested millions into making Star Wars: The Old Republic an online powerhouse, Janco Partners analyst Mike Hickey said that an MMO based on BioWare's Mass Effect could bring in even more money for the publisher.

"Looking forward, we believe BioWare could develop an MMO based on their highly successful Mass Effect franchise, which should have a considerably better (relative StarWars MMO) margin profile, given the dilutive nature of the LucasArts royalty," Hickey said in a recent investor note.

Hickey also pointed out opportunities for EA to leverage the Battlefield license, saying that the company could release a new entry in the series on an annual basis.

"We suspect they could release a Battlefield franchise game annually, switching between Battlefield and Bad Company versions, similar to how Activision manages their Call of Duty franchise."

EA has previously acknowledged that it considers the upcoming Battlefield 3 to be in direct competition to Activision's Call of Duty franchise, noting that the title was "designed to take [Call of Duty] down."

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Kyle Horne
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Battlefield is starting to take the road of COD too many releases, watering down the franchise. I would rather wait a few years and get a new concept, like BF2143 and get DLC. Maybe that's just me but I can't buy every game I love every year in a row now, there are too many of them.

Alex Leighton
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Too many releases is definately a great way to kill off a franchise.. I mean no matter how great an IP is, there's only so many things you can do with it before you start repeating yourself and people get bored. It just worsens the problem when you aren't leaving enough time to really polish each release.

I'm in the same boat too, even when I can afford to buy every game I want, I don't have time to play them, so I'm having to pick and choose. And I'm obviously going to pick something new and exciting over a slightly prettier version of a game I played last year.

J Calton
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I think there's a fairly obvious difference between the two properties. Lucas' license causes a dilution in profits, but it creates a huge built-in player base, far larger than Mass Effect.

No matter how much you love Mass Effect, it's nothing compared to the power of the 35 years of movie releases (some 3 times!), DVD's, cartoons, toys, mainstream media attention, translations into who-knows-how-many languages, etc.

If paying Lucas imposes an extra 25% cost (to pick a random number), surely the customer base would more than offset that lost revenue.

Does anyone think they would spend upwards of $100 MILLION on a Mass Effect game? (Last I heard SWTOR was $80M.)

Robert Lee
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I would only be interested in Mass Effect if it were an FPS MMORPG. I'm tired of no-skill queued-attack macro-whore EQ/WoW clones. If they could do a reactive persistent FPS battlefield game (like Planetside), but with optional co-op PvE side quests and story, I'd be very interested.

james sadler
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Yes ME would be a cool MMO, but I don't think I'd be that interested in playing it. SWTOR has a lot more appeal to me, though I fear how it will come out as I hated "The Old Republic"'s controls and play style. On the same token I hated ME1 for the same reason. ME2 played a lot better and was a lot more enjoyable.

Tim Martin
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Mass Effect 2 screwed up as much as they fixed mechanically. Which in my opinion is caused by a lot of people on the internet, and in EA's corporate Offices that want it to be the next Halo. As to making it an MMO if done thoughtfully it has potential to be a great game, that can deeply immerse players in the fascinating universe Bioware created (kinda like how blizzard built Wow from a mildly popular RTS). But if its done fast and cheap, to cash in and try to make up ground in a ridiculous "me to" competition with Activision, and destroy one of the industry's best original IPs.

Jeremy Reaban
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The thing is though, the Old Republic was in the works long before EA bought them, presumably with LucasArts providing the funding (as the original publisher).

Sure, now EA could probably bankroll development of another extremely expensive to make MMORPG, but I don't think it would make sense because they would essentially be competing with themselves. Or they cancelled the Old Republic, they'd have to fend off lawsuits from LA and write off all the millions.

Beyond that, it would likely be 5-6 years (if they started now) to put out a Mass Effect MMORPG. Who's to say the IP will still be popular then? ME2 was generally received poorly

Mark Harris
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Not that metacritic is the best barometer... but ME2 does have a higher metacritic score than ME1. So critically, it was received better than the original.

Also, it has sold slightly better than the original (according to the cumulative 360 sales I found using Google).

I don't see any real support for the statement that ME2 was generally received poorly.

Cody Scott
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I would prefer mass effect stay a single player series....and this is coming from a guy who is huge on multiplayer games. Some games are better off w/o a beat up Geo Metro is better off without $500 rims.

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Dave Sodee
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I don't think I agree with this one. Mass Effect / Mass Effect 2 are great games but as an mmo...I would pass on it.

I honestly think there are too many mmo's out there to support. We need more focus on good single player rpg's. I am not sure even Knights of the Republic is gonna pull it off as this area of gaming is just plain saturated.

Kyle DeFoe
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This is silly to even suggest. Simply putting out an mmo with any name on it known or unknown does not mean x game will be successful and make money. Look at war hammer, age of conan, star wars, lord of the rings, dc universe... None of them really have been great successes, Rift a completely unknown game had more success than any of them and is still suffering sub loss. This is what starts to happen when business gets too dug into the creative process, hopefully the exec's aren't listening blindly.

This is impossible to predict for a market analyst or even veteran gaming professionals.

And eventually the constant same shooter every year is going to lose popularity. I've stopped buying them myself and I know many others who have too.

Jonathan Baron
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I agree with Kyle. We have heard it many times before, from The Sims to The Matrix: take a superlative property from one medium, somehow make it multiplayer, and reckon that will translate into MMO market success. Mass Effect lends itself to the contemporary MMO formula. Its character classes, backstory, player development and weapon systems could translate well. What it would need, however, to distinguish itself, are elements he alludes to that have been missing from the medium for years: involving community generating imperatives apart from the endless pursuit of game defined achievement. Also known as the grind or the treadmill, it has created a general fatigue with the medium that the Mass Effect property, on the face of it, would not seem likely to relieve.

Ronildson Palermo
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I believe so... Mass Effect is a rising series while Star Wars has definitely shown its age. It would be an MMO I would play from day one given it has a shooter structure and lets me play as a Geth. Hahaha

BobbyK Richardson
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Dilutive nature? How many Star Wars RPGs are there, really? Analyst my ass. I'm really not a big Star Wars fan but this is one of the dumbest statements I've heard in awhile. Walk down a street, and ask how many people know what Mass Effect is.