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"Star Wars: The Old Republic" may not be released until January 2012

Analysts announced earlier this week that EA has invested over $80 million in the development of BioWare's first MMO "Star Wars: The Old Republic." 

"Star Wars: The Old Republic" is a new massively multiplayer online (MMO) game that is currently under development by BioWare and LucasArts. The game takes place 300 years after the events of "Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic" and thousands of years before Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader, which is a fairly unexplored era of "Star Wars" chronology. 

Users will be able to choose from many different character roles such as Jedi or Sith, and give context to their personal story with the option to follow the light or the dark side of the Force. In addition, players can join friends through the game's battles.  

Now, EA has reported that its total investment in the "Star Wars" MMO has reached $80 million in development alone. 

"The contribution from the 'Star Wars' MMO is significant," said Michael Pachter, Wedbush Securities analyst. "Under the terms of its deals with LucasArts, EA is required to pay a royalty, but was required to front all of the development, marketing and distribution costs, as well as the costs of building out servers for the game. We estimate that LucasArts’ share is 33 percent of revenues, after EA recoups its investment in game development. Given that the game was in development for over four years, with an estimated 200 full-time developers working on it, we estimate that EA's investment exceeds $80 million.

"Fortunately for investors, the company expenses R&D spending, meaning that its revenues on sales of the 'Star Wars' MMO DVD will be pure profit. EA will be required to spend marketing dollars on the game, and we estimate total manufacturing, marketing and distribution spending will total around $20 million, meaning that at two million units sold, EA will generate $60 million of operating profit on the DVD sales." 

Pachter also noted that EA will not need a certain number of subscribers for "Star Wars: The Old Republic" to make a profit. 

"We estimate that EA will cover its direct operating costs and break even at 500,000 subscribers (actual number is closer to 350,000 subscribers), meaning that with 1.5 million paying subscribers, EA will have 1 million profitable subs," said Pachter. "We estimate that the incremental operating cost for each subscriber above break even is around $5 per month, so if the revenue split is 33 percent to LucasArts ($5 per subscriber per month), EA will be left with $5 per subscriber per month in operating profit. At 1 million profitable subscribers over the last six months of its fiscal year, EA should generate $30 million in operating profit from subscribers." 

EA also announced this week that the launch of "Star Wars: The Old Republic" may be delayed until January 2012. 

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Another fail MMO?
By EricMartello on 5/6/2011 7:05:36 PM , Rating: -1
Seriously, it's been like 6 years and no company has managed to dent Blizzard's MMO dominance. Why is that? Because they all seem to be lacking something that makes people want to stick around and keep playing and tend to fizzle out in 6-12 months after being released. I think that "risk" factor turns a lot of people off from shelling out any cash on a game which may be rendered useless (no single player option in MMO) in a matter of months.

I think any company that wants a real chance at MMO success is going to need to make a game better and different than WoW. It needs to be an almost entirely different experience, and the game needs to be free to play in order to build up a solid base of players. The freemium model works.

RE: Another fail MMO?
By KFZ on 5/6/2011 7:18:27 PM , Rating: 4
RE: Another fail MMO?
By soghjai on 5/6/11, Rating: 0
RE: Another fail MMO?
By sleepeeg3 on 5/6/2011 7:33:37 PM , Rating: 2
If EA has a hand in it, it is going to bomb. Sony tried to throw money at SWG and it was an abysmal game.

RE: Another fail MMO?
By StevoLincolnite on 5/6/2011 8:35:34 PM , Rating: 3
If EA has a hand in it, it is going to bomb. Sony tried to throw money at SWG and it was an abysmal game.

I dunno, Bioware is at the helm... The creators of Boulders Gate, Neverwinter Nights, StarWars: Knights of the Old Republic, Mass Effect and Dragon Age just to name a few.

If any developer is going to take on WoW, then Bioware is probably the best developer to do it.

RE: Another fail MMO?
By chmilz on 5/6/2011 10:14:19 PM , Rating: 4
The only company to take on a company that's continually producing better and better games is a company who sold out and is shoveling out worse and worse games?

RE: Another fail MMO?
By vpr on 5/7/2011 5:30:19 PM , Rating: 3
I dunno, Bioware is at the helm... The creators of Boulders Gate, Neverwinter Nights, StarWars: Knights of the Old Republic, Mass Effect and Dragon Age just to name a few.

Need not forget Jade Empire, and MDK2

Although we need to mention that not all of Bioware's games are great... NWN was a let down to me, NWN2 wasn't worth my time. Lots of people didn't like Jade Empire although I enjoyed it, possibly because I'm into Chinese Mythology. KOTOR2 wasn't as good as KOTOR1 - Dragon Age II was a huge disappointment compared to Dragon Age Origins, etc.

Like a poster below said, their trend is that their games are getting worse and worse. I'd even argue that Mass Effect 2 wasn't as good as the first...sure it had better combat and graphics, but what happened to the RPG nature of that game. Scanning the planets was mind-numbingly boring (I'd rather drive the mako) and the weapon customization was lost.

Compared to Blizzard who's games seem to only get better possibly because they have a small portfolio and they take years to complete a game. Diablo -> Diablo 2 -> Diablo 3 (unreleased at this time). Warcraft -> Warcraft 2 -> Warcraft 3 -- Progressed instead of regressed. Starcraft -> Starcraft II (I never played the first very long, but I just finished 2 and it was pretty amazing in my book). Let's not forget that Blizzard has announced they've been working on another MMO as well - who knows what that'll be.

RE: Another fail MMO?
By Targon on 5/7/11, Rating: 0
RE: Another fail MMO?
By SPOOFE on 5/8/2011 5:05:07 PM , Rating: 3
Diablo 2 is awesome, and is representative of Blizzard's tendency to not only release great games, but to keep them excellently supported for years to come.

RE: Another fail MMO?
By mcnabney on 5/8/2011 5:17:15 PM , Rating: 2
Don't post unless you know what you are talking about.

Both Neverwinter Nights 2 and KOTOR2 were created by Obsidian, NOT Bioware. However, I enjoyed both of them even though they were not as awesome as the original.

But the fail that is DA2 is concerning. Bioware rushed a very short sequel out and only created about 1/3 of the maps that would be needed due to constant recycling. I liked the eye-candy, but everything that made DA:O special was deleted in the complete consolification of DA2. It just felt like a big expansion, not a whole new game. Yeah, and chargin $60 for it. I feel ripped off now.

That said, the development cycle for SW:TOR is about the same as DA:O, so this could be a win and a sign of Bioware getting back to their strengths. If not, you can probably scratch that developer off the list of must-buys and consider them to be more EA shovelware.

RE: Another fail MMO?
By Chaser on 5/7/2011 12:27:08 AM , Rating: 2
Ford vs Chevy. Get some knowledge.

RE: Another fail MMO?
By SilthDraeth on 5/7/2011 8:36:43 PM , Rating: 4
SWG started out great in my book. What made it bad was the so called combat upgrade, the "lets give everyone a jedi" attitude etc.

It was pretty good, and the space expansion pack was bombing.

RE: Another fail MMO?
By Jalek on 5/7/2011 10:50:43 PM , Rating: 2
SOE also more recently threw money at Vanguard and Matrix Online, that's hardly a significant factor.

It is pretty likely that EA will push release dates so Bioware being involved isn't all that significant either, it'll be shallow to save development time like all of EA's recent releases.

RE: Another fail MMO?
By EricMartello on 5/6/2011 7:38:23 PM , Rating: 2
Right on, KFC. I'm looking forward to GW2 but it hasn't been released yet and doesn't count toward the the denting blizzard factor.

I still find time to play WoW and let me tell you I would LOVE to shelf it and enjoy another MMO game. I have high hopes for GW2...I liked the original Guild Wars except for the lack of it having a persistent world where players could meet and GW2 is supposed to have that, plus no monthly fee. I'm sold. Oh yeah, it needs to have a solid PvP system and world pvp. I'm a griefer.

RE: Another fail MMO?
By michec on 5/6/2011 10:39:30 PM , Rating: 2
RE: Another fail MMO?
By pustulio on 5/9/2011 8:45:51 AM , Rating: 2
Well you don't know how well or how bad this MMO will be since you never played it. I hate WOW find it one of the most extreemly boring games ever made.

I much prefer Warhammer online just for the fact there is no other MMO that offers anywhere near as good ORVR that it does, its got PVE to but you don't have to ever do any to lvl up, hate PvE grinding in any MMO.

How things would have been different had deal for Blizzard to make Warhammer games not fallen through all those years ago, explanes why Warcarft is so heavely influenced by Warhammer.

RE: Another fail MMO?
By callmeroy on 5/9/2011 3:56:57 PM , Rating: 1
Honestly I'm for all or nothing models...

If you are going to be free to play...then be FREE to play..period...don't charge me for buying premium gear, access to other classes/races or anything. Free to play should mean 100% no strings attached free to play. I will accept on free to play guality mmo having to pay for *major* content updates though, I'm fine with that but note the word *major* -- run of the mill everyday patches should not cost anything.

Conversely if you are pay to play -- just have a flat rate per month (along with your discounts for peole buying 3 / 6 12 month plans)..but don't have a silly "purchase game currency and then spend the game currency to level your character" type model...that's a dumb thing.

I've no qualms for shelling out a monthly plan for an MMO -- but yes I will be much more strict on your MMO if you are billing me monthly for the right to play be aware of that.

RE: Another fail MMO?
By EricMartello on 5/10/2011 4:42:07 PM , Rating: 2
You seem to be out of touch with reality. The people who make the game have bills to pay and profits to reap. The freemium model works well for most games. People who want to pay for added benefits can do so, while cheap-asses can still play the game in an un-crippled form without having to pay a dime. Why would you alienate one group or the other when you can basically cater to both with little compromise?

RE: Another fail MMO?
By callmeroy on 5/11/2011 1:50:58 PM , Rating: 2
What in the hell are you talking about? I'm out of touch...ahh the IRONY....

First point out where I said anything against the developer not profiting from their game....I never said anything of the sort.

How much experience do you really have with MMO games? Because your view is very naive...

If anything the model you endorse -- is nothing but alienation written all over it.

Players are very sensitive to how you "geared up" or "got your skills" in most any MMO I've ever played...and you think the model where you can just BUY better gear, unlock more powerful classes, etc. with real ca$h doesn't or wouldn't cause massive rifts between players in the same game.

Those games now with those models are not taken seriously at all by the more devoted MMO gamers who respect challenge and the concept of earning what you get.

Again...the monthly rate is fine..the plan has been successful for arguably the some of the most well known and successful MMO's use the monthly model with great results....WoW, EQ, UO...even Champions Online (I don't play that one) I believe uses the monthly model and that game is doing quite well also.

So either the monthly (aka "WoW/EQ" model) plan or the free model (aka "GW" model) is the way to go to create the best environment where no one is able to buy their success.

RE: Another fail MMO?
By callmeroy on 5/11/2011 1:54:30 PM , Rating: 2
ugh...massive typo needs correcting for clarification...
(thats what happens when you are typing and someone starts a conversation with you...)

this is what I meant -

"Again...the monthly rate is fine..some of the most well known and successful MMO's use the monthly model with great results....WoW, EQ, UO...even Champions Online (I don't play that one) I believe uses the monthly model and that game is doing quite well also."

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