SWTOR shed 400k users between Feburary and March
The total number of subscribers to Star Wars: The Old Republic fell by 400,000 between mid-February and the end of March, leaving the game with 1.3 million potential players. For the vast majority of MMOs that total playerbase would constitute success, but Electronic Arts shares fell by nine percent after the news was revealed during the publisher’s latest financial report.
Electronic Arts has ploughed a reported $200 million USD into development of the game, a figure which may not even include marketing costs. With that kind of initial investment, a loss of 400,000 users over the course of just over a month (and only a few months after launch) represents a dangerous sign for the MMO.
However, way back in February 2011 EA’s CEO John Riccitiello stated that the title would need only 500,000 subscribers to be profitable and that “anything north of one million subscribers is a very profitable business”. During todays financial call, Riccitiello claimed that Star Wars: The Old Republic was “not in [EA's] top 5″ list of ‘franchise properties’.
If the game’s subscriber base levels off around the one million mark, it may yet be a moderate success for EA. If numbers continue to fall (or are propped up by users on special offers or free trial months), it could spell serious problems for the game.