Star Wars: The Old Republic won’t be profitable. Ever. That’s according to Heiko Hubertz, CEO of MMO publisher Bigpoint. Speaking at the London Games Conference, Hubertz reasons that EA and BioWare’s monthly subscription business model won’t be enough to make up for The Old Republics high development costs, which are estimated at $100 million.
"If you look at a game like Star Wars from EA and BioWare, they estimated a development budget of more than $100 million. This is an online game for many millions of subscribers, so a big publisher does not understand that a subscription model is not the future,” said Hubertz.
"With micro-transactions and longer lifetime maybe I see a chance for this game but I don't think that EA or BioWare will be profitable with this game. Ever."
Hubertz stressed that MMOs need to be able to turn a profit quickly after launch. “If you look in the traditional industry there are a lot of big bets there. Still, there are companies investing $20-40 million for a game. These companies have to be profitable after one or two months. They don’t have 12 months or even more. I think these companies are really in trouble in the future if a user can play online games for free,” said Hubert.
It should be noted that Bigpoint is developing Battlestar Galactica Online, a free-to-play, browser-based MMO, which uses the micro-transaction business model that Hubert endorses. It’s also worth remembering that publisher EA has embraced the free-to-play business model with other titles, like Battlefield Heroes and the recently announced Battlefield Play4Free.
Nov 5, 2010
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