EA boss admits The Old Republic subscription model is 'challenging'

EA CEO John Riccitiello says The Old Republic has "begun to work with different models," but doesn't quite commit to continuing down the F2P path.

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Star Wars: The Old Republic has recently taken a tentative step towards free-to-play, but was hesitant to jump in completely. The company might still finish that journey, though, as comments from EA CEO John Riccitiello imply that the company is still considering its options.

In an interview with CNBC (via The Escapist), Riccitiello says that the "softness" of Star Wars led to its current partial free-to-play model. "Our conclusion was we had a great product in Star Wars, but that the subscription model in the world of free-to-play was challenging," he said.

He went on to note that the free-to-play model has a lot of power, and stresses that it can be a good revenue generator despite the name. He said, "We've begun to work with different models," but stopped short of directly stating any future plans. He also said that the shrinking player base isn't a "pressing concern," so it may still be a while before EA gives up the ghost and goes fully F2P.

Editor-In-Chief
From The Chatty
  • reply
    July 19, 2012 10:45 AM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, EA boss admits The Old Republic subscription model is 'challenging'.

    EA CEO John Riccitiello says The Old Republic has "begun to work with different models," but doesn't quite commit to continuing down the F2P path.

    • reply
      July 19, 2012 10:52 AM

      Oh I know how to answer this one.
      Hmm, let me think...
      You should have made a TRUE stand alone, single player game like everyone wanted.
      Not this.
      Yeah, I think I'll stick with this answer.

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        July 19, 2012 11:06 AM

        Quit wasting your time beating a dead horse with TOR, its over man. Instead, focus your energy to prevent another massacre known as Elder Scrolls online. 2 years from now it will be, 'should have focused on Elder Scrolls 6 rather than this MMO POS.

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          July 19, 2012 12:01 PM

          At least that one isn't eating the time of the main dev studio for Elder Scrolls.

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          July 19, 2012 12:27 PM

          We've had some spectacular MMO burnouts but I think TES Online has the chance to eclipse them all. Unless they developed it on a shoestring budget, I think it has to be the most doomed project in the industry.

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          July 19, 2012 1:40 PM

          You do not have any idea what you're talking about. The ES Online team is not the Skyrim (main) Bethesda team. They have absolutely nothing to do with each other.

          Elder Scrolls 6 is being worked on by its dedicated team.

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        July 19, 2012 11:38 AM

        What people wanted is a polished SWTOR game at release. All the polish came far too late, subscribers left, end of SWTOR.

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          July 19, 2012 12:02 PM

          I honestly don't know how you can expect to launch a successful MMO that lacks the features the big-players have had for years now.

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          July 19, 2012 5:39 PM

          I was okay with the game's polish. The problem I had was it offered the same tired path I've walked in every other MMO before it. That's something that voice overs can't carry.

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        July 19, 2012 3:36 PM

        Correct. Unfortunately, it won't solve the current problem they've made for themselves.

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      July 19, 2012 10:58 AM

      when I read SWTOR all I hear in my head is the jar jar binks laughing

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      July 19, 2012 11:06 AM

      Hey, John! How are you?? Been a while!! Why did you abandon a wildly successful KOTOR franchise for this?

      if Bioware/EA need some business planners give me a holler, you guys are COMPLETE BATSHIT FUCKING INSANE !!!!!!!!!!

      let me know, John!!!! thanks pal! TTYL !!!!!!!!!

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      July 19, 2012 11:21 AM

      I confess, I was super hyped about SWTOR before it came out, but ended up not having the time to play it so I never picked it up... About a week ago, I went and started futzing around with the free trial and I have to say... the game is really really bland and uninteresting. I really wanted to like it, I spent hours and hours reading about it and watching every second of video footage countless times before release.. Now I'm not even sure I'll bother to play it to the trial cap of level 15.

      Also, even after all this time, there is almost no polish on this game.. Minor bugs and glitches everywhere, it takes half a dozen loading screens to get anywhere, etc. etc. I've played betas that were more technically sound.

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        July 19, 2012 12:40 PM

        Yup. I spent untold hours (just look at my shack history) obsessing over this game being released. When it came out, it was just kind of bland and uninteresting as you said. I was more engaged by it than say Age of Conan or Warhammer but lord have mercy it was just really uninteresting. I thought Star Trek Online for crying outloud with it's ship combat was more engaging (just the rest of the game blew chunks.

        So disappointing.

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          July 19, 2012 12:48 PM

          did you guys play SWG? how does it compare to that?

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            July 19, 2012 12:51 PM

            I never played SWG.. I was locked into addiction with some other MMO (DAoC probably) when it launched initially, and I have a policy against playing anything SOE has touched so I avoided the reboot.

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            July 19, 2012 1:55 PM

            SWG was possibly the worst MMO i've ever played. nothing about it felt liek star wars and, worse, it wasn't even remotely fun.
            SWTOR may be bland and uninspired, but it's not a putrid pile of shit.

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            July 19, 2012 3:42 PM

            SWG and SWTOR are two different animals.

            SWG was kind of like EVE in terms of its economy. PVP was bleh, questing was bleh, and it was mostly a sandbox MMO with Star Wars themed stuff. I enjoyed it, but if you weren't into the whole economic aspect of the game, you'd probably end up hating it.

            SWTOR is more like WoW, but the quests have pretty awesome dialogue and dialogue options, just like any other Bioware game.

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            July 19, 2012 8:41 PM

            Star Wars Galaxies, or as I liked to call it, Land of the Log People.

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          July 20, 2012 6:33 AM

          See I'm the opposite. I found SWTOR to be the more interesting game. I thought the ship combat was sweet, but everything else was bland. SWTOR at least had the more interesting stories and questing and I like the classes more too. I didn't even get out of beta for STO.

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        July 19, 2012 12:57 PM

        You should have seen it at release.

        The first Act (up to ~level 30) was pretty well polished for a new MMO. After that everything took a sudden and sharp nose-dive in terms of quality.

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          July 19, 2012 2:26 PM

          my trooper class quest bugged out at level 30 so i couldn't progress the main quest line anymore. I sent a bunch of support tickets in to try and get it fixed but i NEVER got a reply. After 2 months of asking for help (even on the forums) i quit. It's such a shame because EA did a great job with customer support for Warhammer. I used to always get stuck in the terrain and a CSR would be there within 5mins of me asking for help. But they really fuckin' cheaped out with SWTOR.

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            July 20, 2012 2:57 AM

            Huh. In the beta my Imperial Agent's class quest bugged out around level 30 too and I couldn't continue.

            I made a report and checked back a while later and it was still busted so I gave up on it. I was sick of the class quests becoming farther and farther apart with all the filler in between anyway.

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        July 19, 2012 7:37 PM

        I too was super interested in this game pre-launch. I played the open-beta for about ~20 minutes and hated so many things about it.

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      July 19, 2012 1:39 PM

      If the sub was only $5 I'd consider it again but....$15 is too much for me given my playtime

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        July 19, 2012 1:56 PM

        this. i would keep a running subscription for that price.

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        July 19, 2012 3:57 PM

        Everyone seems to think they have to charge $15. I don't know why some don't try $5.

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          July 20, 2012 8:37 AM

          I am sure someone proposes $5 models during the development cycle and it gets shot down by upper management fairly quickly. They see it as lost revenue instead of increased user base.

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      July 19, 2012 1:58 PM

      Every time I see the name John Riccitiello, I have to listen to his ballad: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mtHzLt3C_z0

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      July 19, 2012 2:18 PM

      $40 for year pass would be ok

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      July 19, 2012 2:20 PM

      Keep hanging on EA, lol

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      July 19, 2012 2:57 PM

      Every time I think about how much money they spent making SWTOR, I cringe and think about how much less they could have spent making KOTOR III and still have a better game.

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      July 19, 2012 2:59 PM

      The subscription model isn't what's broken. The game is fucking boring.

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        July 19, 2012 3:41 PM

        I agree with you and I can't put my finger on it. The game is so much more boring than WoW yet I see the similarities. Hard to explain, and I love the Star Wars universe too...weird. =(

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      July 19, 2012 5:35 PM

      The problem isn't that the game needs to be free to play to be successful. It's that they didn't make an interesting enough game to warrant a 60 dollar purchase plus a subscription fee. Going F2P will boost their numbers, but man is that game lacking.

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      July 19, 2012 6:54 PM

      the best balance i've experienced so far was Global Agenda. you could easily play it free, or just buy the equipment, or just buy the booster packs.

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      July 19, 2012 7:02 PM

      [deleted]

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      July 19, 2012 7:33 PM

      Side thread-

      Did anyone else want to play this game? Star Wars MMO based off the old movies?

      Playable wookies, X-wings, visiting Dagobah and fighting Darth Vader?

      Something like an updated good SW Galaxies.

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        July 20, 2012 12:40 AM

        yeah I wanted that's why I played SWG - for a while it was exactly that. until they introduced the idea of holocrons and made people grind.

        The thing I took from that is, either everyone's a jedi or noone. if you like the original trilogy and have a MMO on your hands it can therefor only work if noone is a jedi or it will be this bullshit comical universe people now think of as star wars.

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        July 20, 2012 2:36 AM

        I don't want to play that game, but that's because I don't care for Star Wars. I'm sure there are tons of people who would love that idea though.

        I don't think Star Wars can work as an MMO due to it's cannon. The only way to really get away from all that is to set it way in the future where it allows you to loosely tie things together while keeping it interesting with new things you've never seen or herd before.

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          July 23, 2012 1:07 PM

          You really don't have any idea what you're talking about. You really shouldn't comment here.

          The game is NOT set in the timeline of the SW movie series. It's actually 3000 years before. The sky is wide open for story.

          But you would know that if you knew anything about the game.

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      July 20, 2012 9:52 AM

      The issue with this game is It is to easy, you can down all the content in just a few weeks. They haven't had any new Operations for Flash Points come out for it in awhile. If you want to enjoy this game don't join a guild for progression raiding as it will bore you fast.

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        July 23, 2012 1:10 PM

        The game is challenging when it needs to be. You can't down "all the content" in just a few weeks. If you want to enjoy this game you should join a guild make some friends and enjoy the progression raiding as a team. More fun than I've had in a long time!