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Subscriber loss surprised some

There a lot of people in the gaming and Star Wars communities, and they were really excited when EA announced about a year ago that it was investing $80 million into a Star Wars themed MMORPG. That game launched as Star Wars: The Old Republic and racked up a large number of users very quickly. It appears that the popularity of the game may be cooling.
According to EA, the game had 1.3 million subscribers at the end of April. At the end of February, the game had 1.7 million subscribers. The reduction coincides with the game's launch in the Asia-Pacific region. Star Wars: TOR comes with a free month subscription so some subscriber fall off was expected shortly after the launch, but the number of losses has surprised many.
EA maintains that the subscriber drop-off is consistent with its projections. Subscriber losses being consistent still didn't prevent EA's shares from dropping as much as 10% in after-hours trading. According to EA interim CFO Peter Moore, "a substantial portion of the decrease [was] due to casual and trial players cycling out of the subscriber base, driving up the overall percentage of paying subscribers."
Casual gamers tend to drop out and stop playing when their free month subscription is over. EA is talking about plans to keep paying customers paying with character expansions and more. EA CEO John Riccitiello counters that the MMORPG is one of the company's top 10 profitable titles. 
"It's a business contributor, while important, is not as important as Medal of Honour or Battlefield or FIFA or Madden or The Sims or SimCity," he said.
Many think competition in the MMORPG sector will only get more intense with the announcement that The Elder Scrolls Online is coming next year. 

Source: BBC

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RE: Not Just Casual
By TSS on 5/11/2012 5:48:55 PM , Rating: 2
That's because even WoW was designed for hardcore players, the hardcore Diablo 2/warcraft lore player base, as well as hardcore players from other MMO's like everquest. It was blizzard's fanbase that pulled in more casual gamers which pulled in more casual gamers which made WoW what it is today.

Just consider this: Vanilla WoW, took 3 weeks to level to max level from scratch. I did it in TBC in ~2 weeks. In wrath, i leveled a char to 80 under a week. Casual players don't have alot of time to spend, so the feeling of progression has to happen faster to retain attention.

Because of the casual gamer market being so much larger then the hardcore gamer's market (by atleast 6 fold at this point), everybody started designing for this market and trying to copy WoW's succes. This has lead to an oversaturation of the market. Now with the free to play model being accepted, subscription MMO's will simply die out or return to everquest proportions (<1 million), since that is the size of the hardcore gamer market. If they aren't designed for this market, they will simply die out. SWTOR went for this model too late, had they launched 5 years ago it would've been a roaring succes.

The negative of this is the hardcore gamer market has been fragmented to such a degree that it's hard to count on anything above 100,000 hardcore players, and thus for me to have a good game in any game. Though planetside 2 is a small beacon of light in the future. I can still remember the 250vs250vs200 battle i once fought in 1, and that's a decade ago now (go try that in WoW. Exactly. That's why i bitch).

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