Chasing World of Warcraft may not be the go-to strategy now.
Player retention has become an increasing problem for Star Wars: The Old Republic, and the evidence is damning
For a while Star Wars: The Old Republic player have received e-mails from Bioware attempting to convince to come back, but the players who have quit aren’t coming back. It seems that way anyway, because 400,000 subscribers have been lost since February 2012.
The drop means the MMO, which launched late 2011, now has 1.3 million subscribers from the 1.7 million figure announced in February. It should be noted World of Warcraft has lost two million subscribers, which is a surprise because the MMO has been successful seemingly forever. We’ll see a jump a month or two during the latest expansion pack – Mists of Panderia – but the experience hasn’t been changed, and looks to be catered towards players who are already a high level. Oh, and a panda’s being introduced too.
Regarding Star Wars: The Old Republic, it never appealed to me because the mechanics were the same was World of Warcraft. The grinding mechanics, the skill bar – everything apart from the enhanced story. The only difference is the Star Wars brand, which is annoying because Bioware don’t have to go out of their way to attract fans. “Want a Star Wars MMO? Go and play The Old Republic!” That’s literally how the conversations go.
Strong EA earnings
Away from its flagship MMO, EA reported a net annual income of $76 million. Last year the company reported a loss of $276 million. Total revenue for the fiscal year was $4.14 billion, up from $3.59 billion, 12 months ago.
EA also said traditional boxed products such as Mass Effect 3, SSX and Kingdom of Amalur experienced strong sales. Fifa 12 also had its best year ever, raking $108 million in downloads and microtransactions. Battlefield 3 also continues to be competitive with Call of Duty, bringing in 6.2 million players in March.
Full games downloads were also up 76 percent year-on-year, raising $60 million over the previous three months. The Play4Free brand is earning $2 million a month, while total digital revenue was $1.2 billion – a 42 percent rise.