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Report: SWTOR development pegged at $200 million and counting

Word has surfaced that Star Wars: The Old Republic cost about $200 million to develop for launch, and that 'tens of millions' will be spent each year developing updates.


In case you didn't know, MMO's are expensive to make. When it comes to BioWare's recently-released Star Wars: The Old Republic, "expensive" equates to roughly $200 million. That doesn't even include the projected "tens of millions" of additional funds that will be expended on a yearly basis to keep a certain galaxy far, far away fresh with new content.

A recent L.A. Times report posits that Star Wars: The Old Republic might be the "largest entertainment production in history." Add in the estimated costs of maintaining and enhancing the MMO continuing into the foreseeable future, and that assertion loses a bit of its hyperbolic qualities.

"More than 800 people on four continents have spent six years and nearly $200 million creating it. The story runs 1,600 hours, with hundreds of additional hours still being written. Nearly 1,000 actors have recorded dialogue for 4,000 characters in three languages," the L.A. Times noted.

Mathematically, the report also explains that the game will need "more than 1 million customers willing to spend $60 to buy the game and an additional $15 a month to play for years on end," in order for it to be profitable. That said, Star Wars: The Old Republic already has more than one million registered customers.

[via GiantBomb]

From The Chatty
  • reply
    January 20, 2012 6:00 PM

    Jeff Mattas posted a new article, Report: SWTOR development pegged at $200 million and counting.

    Word has surfaced that Star Wars: The Old Republic cost about $200 million to develop for launch, and that 'tens of millions' will be spent each year developing updates.

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      January 20, 2012 6:26 PM

      You know what would get me hooked? Truly immerseive and wide open space combat. What they have in place now is just instanced crap on rails, it's so bad.

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        January 20, 2012 6:28 PM

        It is ok for what it is, but I agree that it is pretty dull after a couple of tries.

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        January 20, 2012 6:43 PM

        In one of their posts they stated that there were going to be major changes to space combat, hinting that it would be fully controllable in the future. Who knows though, thats tough for people to get right.

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          January 20, 2012 9:27 PM

          If this continues to be succesful, I could see them adding a Freelancer type game mode to it. It could almost be a whole other "branch" to the game. Free flight, resource gathering, pvp, quests, etc. Probably big enough for an expansion.

          That would be most excellent.

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            January 20, 2012 10:22 PM

            You haven't yet learned that mentioning Freelancer summons me. My appearance was unwarranted at this time. Now I must go play my current save of Freelancer.
            OOO! I haven't tried this, but maybe I can substitute SPAZ to conquer the craving this time.

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          January 21, 2012 3:24 AM

          if they think about it now, it will only take at least 3 years or so until that might actually be in the game!

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          January 21, 2012 2:17 PM

          well look at Star Trek Online..they got space combat and travel done right.

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        January 20, 2012 6:57 PM

        I could handle the current implementation as the minigame it is, if every mission wasn't scripted from beginning to end. I can almost finish entire space missions from memory at this point.

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          January 20, 2012 8:05 PM

          People have been asking for a game to have space combat like x-wing/tie-fighter for ages so an on rails system isn't going to cut it. No matter how much they disguise it or dress it up. I would love to see cooperative or even PvP space battles that weren't on rails.

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            January 20, 2012 9:15 PM

            You mean the way Jump to Lightspeed did?

            Seriously, the space combat in SWG was awesome when JTL was launched. I rarely saw another player in space, sadly.

            I would definitely like to see something similar in SWTOR, but a relatively small patch could add non-scripted enemy ships to the current system, to at least give us some sort of challenge while we wait for the full revamp.

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              January 20, 2012 9:21 PM

              If the new one played like Freelancer more in MP/PvP/PvE (which it sort of already is on rails) that would just be great.

              I would like there to be a battle mode like in Battlefront 2 with two sides with a respective capital ship trying to board and destroy the other.

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                January 20, 2012 10:23 PM

                Now here *you* go summoning me...

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                  January 20, 2012 10:31 PM


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                    January 20, 2012 10:33 PM

                    Just when I thought I was out....
                    Just don't look in a mirror and say it again. My travel vouchers are all used up.

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                January 21, 2012 11:04 AM

                I really want a Battlefront 3 possibly on Frostbite so that I can level buildings with my AT-ST of doom.

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              January 21, 2012 12:09 PM

              I think no one would play the space combat in SWTOR, WoW has taught people to go for cool looking gear and to pvp, this has spilled over into swtor, you couldn't stand around in town with your ship, so I doubt most will even touch it.

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        January 21, 2012 2:06 AM

        Jesus, I might subscribe for that.

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        January 21, 2012 6:02 AM

        Doesn't that describe EVE? (I don't play it, so I don't know)

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        January 21, 2012 3:57 PM

        Eve Online

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      January 21, 2012 8:14 AM

      F2P by the end of 2012.

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      January 21, 2012 4:00 PM

      If they're not careful they might capsize the failboat they're riding.

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        January 21, 2012 11:31 PM

        The biodrones are doing their best to keep it afloat.

        There are still people on the forums every day saying "THIS GAME IS PERFECT" "THIS IS THE BEST MMO LAUNCH IN HISTORY" I bet they think they're right too, since anyone who canceled their sub can't post on the forums anymore.

        Meanwhile EA's stock is taking a dive after the first patch. Servers that had 30min queues are now only standard population during prime time. BUT THE GAME IS PERFECT.

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          January 22, 2012 3:50 AM

          Enlighten me, what does stock have to do with patches?

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            January 22, 2012 11:25 AM

            Poor reception of the 1.1 patch and lower than expected sales figures had stock analysts revise their predicted earnings for EA this year. They did not sell over 2 million copies like they claim, the actual number solder is a few hundred thousand short of 2mill, and at the same time the free trial period is over and their retention rate is much lower than anticipated.

            The market's reaction to the patch was not good. Their stock took ~3-5% hit overnight after the patch was released because of people dropping their EA stock. EA spent a LOT of money on this game, and it simply isn't performing as they, and analysts, had predicted.

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              January 22, 2012 12:53 PM

              Then three other analysts revised EA's outlook from the previous day's analysis and the stock rebounded 2%. Gauging the success of SWTOR by EA's stock price is about as scientific as playing the numbers in Vegas down at the sports book.

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                January 22, 2012 3:23 PM

                This would be true... if you weren't posting this in a new article about how EA has over 200m invested in this game. The success of EA is very clearly tied to the success of SWTOR. We're talking about probably over quarter billion dollars here with all the salaries and server expenses in the coming future. If you don't see how that can alter the fate of EA and SWTOR, I don't know what to tell you.

                They need to retain over 2 million subscribers, which they already don't have, for over a year to even begin to see a worthwhile profit. With the amount of subscribers they have now, even if they retain them for a full year, they're still going to be operating at a significant loss.

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                  January 22, 2012 5:33 PM

                  I think it is true since the point I was making was trying to use EA's stock price as an indicator of the success or failure of SWTOR and vice-versa isn't accurate.

                  EA has a market cap of almost $6 billion dollars and a massive portfolio of intellectual property (Madden and FIFA for example) that is a license to print money every year. Countless factors can influence a stock price from global recession fears to the Euro crisis to domestic policy issues and domestic economic projections. While the success or failure of SWTOR will have an impact on EA's financials, there is no way to extrapolate what that actual impact is short of EA releasing a financial statement that explains it in black and white. Anything an analyst projects is pure speculation and should be treated as such.

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                  January 23, 2012 6:02 PM

                  What does 1 month even tell you about a MMO? Players could dip significantly like they did in AoC, WAR, or they could hold steady or increase. Who actually expects a MMO to be immediately profitable, anyone? Do you think WoW was, do you think TItan will be?

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                    January 23, 2012 7:45 PM

                    The point is they spent so damn much money on this game they won't be profiting for at least a year or more. Investors don't like that. They've already spent 5+ years developing the game.

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      January 21, 2012 5:56 PM

      How much of that is the licensing fees?

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      January 22, 2012 9:25 AM

      It's pretty good for an MMO as far as the leveling up experience... but I find myself having a hard time choosing it for it's story line based leveling over, say Skyrim. Most times I'd rather play that game, even despite playing the hell out of it already.

      So I dunno... I doubt this MMO has the legs of World of Warcraft, even despite already being one of the best built releases in direct competition with WoW.

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        January 22, 2012 11:12 AM

        It is a good attempt at trying to clone World of Warcraft using a different setting, but the only risk they took was to add voice overs. I am sure the Star Wars brand will probably give it some stability for a while assuming they don't pull a stunt similar to Galaxies.

        It would be nice if MMOs would stop being built around the "massively single player" model. MMOs are meant to be massively multiplayer and social driven games but yet everyone is stuck doing the same quests and talking to the same npcs. No one really affects the game of another person in any meaningful way.

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      January 22, 2012 8:36 PM

      attempting a large mmo seems like a guarunteed failed business model

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