In the months since February, it seems that Star Wars: The Old Republic, EA’s BioWare-made MMO, has dropped 400,000 subscribers, going from 1.7 million to 1.3 million active subscribers, say numbers reported by EA this week in their annual financial report.
During the company’s investor conference call from yesterday, EA Labels president Frank Gibeau explained that the drop was the result of casual gamers jumping ship after a billing cycle:
“When we launched the product back in December, it was an event launch. We brought in a lot of users, and with a brand like Star Wars, it reaches out much past the hardcore MMO fan base into the broader market. And as the service evolves from here, what we’re seeing is that some of those initial casual customers have gone through a billing cycle and decided not to subscribe to the game.
“But for the most part we’re seeing very good retention amongst core MMO users, which has given us a solid base of around 1.3 million subscribers. The percentage of paying subscribers from our peak until now has actually gone up, and the folks that we have are as engaged as they were when they first bought the product. And in fact, if you look at how we’re going to be releasing content going forward, we have a lot of elder gameplay, a lot of expansion content, that will keep them engaged and continue to grow on sub[scriptions].
“Make no mistake, BioWare intends to grow subscribers.”
Gibeau mentioned the recent content expansions that were released, as well as the successes derived from free-to-play weekends in the game.
All of this sounds reasonable, and 1.3 million users is nothing to sneeze at. Still, as every other company builds yet another MMO for gamers to waste hours upon hours of their lives, it’s probably pretty tough to keep eyeballs glued to the screens. Don’t be surprised if we hear about another drop off sooner or later…just my guess, of course.
Source Electronic Arts