Archive for March 18th, 2010

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May The Millions Be With You

March 18, 2010

I don’t think anyone was at all surprised to hear that Star Wars: The Old Republic is EA’s biggest project to date. A massive amount of money is no doubt being pumped into its development, and in fact, Industry Gamers reported that the game will likely need at least one million subscribers to reach the break-even point.

I admit, when I first heard this news, I thought, “One million? Bah, SWTOR can achieve those numbers easily!” Bioware has so much going on for them, I can see them making big numbers at time of launch from box sales alone. We’re talking Star Wars here, people! Anything less than one million would be a travesty!

But after considering it for a little while, I realized that one million subs is actually quite a lot (I mean, this isn’t Blizzard we’re talking about, as World of Warcraft is in a league of its own). How many times have we seen a MMO kick off with a huge number of subs only to have that figure dwindle to a fraction of its original glory several months down the road? There’s a small window to make an impression, and if you don’t deliver on content or playability, no amount of hype or marketing is going to help. Add to that an already saturated online gaming market, and well, achieving one million subscribers and keeping them might not be a cakewalk after all.

Don’t get me wrong, I have no doubt that SWTOR will be a smashing success at release. While I’m loathe to make any predictions about the game until I’ve actually seen more than five minutes of game play, I do have faith that SWTOR will make a splash in its first few months; if anything, the legions of Star Wars fans and Bioware addicts will see to that. The question is whether or not they will be able to hold on to those numbers. Also, considering how EA/Bioware is like any other company, they generally aren’t in the business just to “break even.” So we’re talking about long-term sustainability, growing the customer base as well as retention. The Industry Gamers article did say that management believes two million subs+ is a possibility, but what they’re really aiming for is several million subscribers.

While I really want to say with confidence that SWTOR will have no problems with achieving those numbers, I’ve seen how unpredictable the online gaming industry can be. Speaking as a Star Wars geek and a Bioware fangirl myself, I’m certainly hoping for the best. If any MMO is going to have a chance at pulling this off, it’ll be this one.

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Starfleet Captains Unite

March 18, 2010

So, yeah, I’ve been playing the crap out of Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening. I just can’t help it, I have no self-restraint when it comes to anything to do with this game. While I love sci-fi and fantasy both, there’s just something about the latter that sinks its teeth into me and won’t let go.

As a result, I haven’t had the chance to play much Star Trek Online for the last few days (or any MMO, for that matter), but luckily I have my TOS DVDs and my STO blogs to satisfy my Star Trek fix. If I want to get the latest information about the game, I know I can always rely on my fellow Starfleet captains. Invaluable game play advice is ever forthcoming from Galo at Deflector Shields and of course, when it comes to game guides, nothing can beat The Engines Cannae’ Take It!

Lately, I’ve also noticed the yummy flavor of roleplaying in a lot of STO blogs, a trend that has me loving Star Trek fans more and more by the day. And to think, I used to think Trekkies were creepy! (Totally just kidding!) The awesome Adventurer Historian surprised me with a story post on his blog the other day, and he now has me impatiently awaiting the next installment. I Have Touched The Sky is a new blog that has boggled my mind with its rich biographies of starship captains Locke and Rowan and their respective bridge officers. And I was also very happy to find Star Trek: Tirpitz because the storylines and narrative structure of the Captain’s logs over there are making me see all the game missions I’ve ever done in a whole new light. Fantastically detailed crew profiles too.

All this makes me want to start my own RP stories about my captain and her crew, but alas, I’m still lacking in too much Trek knowledge to attempt such an endeavor. Though, it’s probably for the best…anything I write will no doubt devolve into a bawdy soap opera in space. The Borg and the Beautiful, anyone? Or Stardates of Our Lives, perhaps. Don’t even tempt me.

Note: Thanks to Adventurer Historian who once did a cool post linking his favorite STO blogs, and in doing so he has inspired me to follow in his footsteps and do the same. Also I’m always on the lookout for blogs dedicated to STO, so if you run one or know of someone who does, please let me know.