Directly from the desk of EA:
1. Official announcement
- see Page 1:
"STAR WARS®: The Old Republic™ will move to a more accessible two-tiered pricing
model in November. Players can chose between a $14.99 premium monthly
subscription and a free-to-play model with some restrictions on content and advanced
features. Players will be able to purchase upgrades with in-game currency."
"Summary - Overpriced" - Clients feel that the game's price is not worth the expense.
2. Investor Information See Page 2
"The disappointing results of Star Wars: The Old Republic were largely offset by a powerful
performance from Battlefield 3 Premium service – although revenue-recognition rules will push
this very significant EPS driver into our fourth quarter."
"Summary - EA / BW Expected better [financial] results" - The traditional equation of "Low Investment and High Return" did not materialize and instead became "Low Investment / Even Lower Return".
Page 5 of that same document above:
"Non-GAAP revenue for the fiscal year is expected to be between $4.10 and $4.25 billion. We
are lowering the midpoint of our guidance from $4.30 billion to reflect current exchange rates
and lower expectations of Star Wars
"Summary - SWTOR will not become a focus area" - Less investment will be made in the game as it's expected return is now lower than our collective initial expectations.
Read all of page 7 of that same document:
"First, the game many of you have been tracking closely, Star Wars: The Old Republic.
Although it launched well, subscriptions have been on a declining trajectory and have now
slipped below one million
. Last year we announced that the breakeven point was roughly
500,000 subscribers. And while we are well above that today, that’s not good enough
The message from players exiting the game is clear – 40 percent say they were turned off by
the monthly subscription
. And many indicated they would come back if we offered a free-to-play
"Summary - Can't retain subscriptions". Will not invest in keeping subscriptions either, micro transactions will be used to milk revenue from the remaining players. Now, those that subscribe will continue to experience the same game access (with some slight aesthetic currency rewards). We will penalize those that do not pay by limiting their game access. This, by the way, is in no shape or form uncommon practice in all other "Free" to play models.
"We couldn’t be more pleased with how the diversity of our business allows us to make up for a
miss on one franchise with a big hit on another."
"Summary - SWTOR never was our focus" - Investors, rest assured that if you continue to be an investor in EA, we have a broader portfolio of products that are indeed generating revenue, albeit not SWTOR. Let's focus on our cash cows and products that are indeed generating revenue for us aligned with our collective expectations.
Lastly, the retail value of the software license will drop to $14.99, which is less than 1/3 of what I paid for the license alone. Even the developers and publishers admit that the license is overpriced for the product. Lowering the fence and allowing free to play will increase the player base and we will see more credit spammers.
This is certainly something that I did see coming. As I am sure that many others did, the Legacy system and the prices more specifically is what lends itself extremely well to a free to play model.
At least I got something in return for my remaining subscription. I got me some of that in-game currency, which is not available yet, by the way as the model releases in November, which is exactly the time for the next quarterly call.
Still, interestingly enough, I am not able to consolidate my characters onto a single server, which is the only reason that I have not re-subscribed. The costs of the perks and other items as well as the game itself would allow me to play it more, if all characters were in one place. The whole few hours that it takes raiding all the current end-game content would actually be "grindable" if all my toons were in one place.
If the game does not generate sufficient revenue, restructurings have lead to a diminished developer / engineer base, it is also not going to be possible to deliver on that gimmick that "content will be released more frequently". Seven months, that is all that this game lasted before the announcement to free to play. Holy cow. What a greedy owner they have.
I don't play free to play games.
1. If you think that there are hackers now, wait until the freeloaders get in. They can hack a free game and then also embark on the credit sale market to make some real money off the free-to-play platform.
2. If you think that the quality of the player base is average or less than average, wait until the real baddies join or return for free.
3. If you think that the lag is bad, wait until there are far many more people, wait for the even worse spam, wait for the harassment, ugh it is going to get f-ugly.
4. if you think that the grind is bad, the grind on free to play games is even worse with the limitations that are embedded.
5. Lastly, the only real way to make progress on free to play games, is to actually pay for the capability to move at the pace that you want to move.
5.1. It will be so sad how some people will simply dish out money hand over fist, because for some people, paying for the content is not a big cash dump. The high-rollers will pay to win, as some people have aptly coined it.
EA should have left this franchise alone. Their new CFO comes from the clothing industry. That is how much real knowledge capital they have to meddle in the video game industry. LOL, in this day and age, where most content and games are distributed online and downloaded, EA still thinks that it is in the business of packaged goods, so laughable.