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Star Wars: The Old Republic roll-out avoids digital gridlock

Thu 15 Dec 2011 11:02am GMT / 6:02am EST / 3:02am PST
Online

Number of servers begin to reach capacity ahead of official launch

EA BioWare

BioWare develops high quality console, PC and online role-playing games, focused on rich stories, unforgettable...

bioware.com

Servers for EA and BioWare's Star Wars: The Old Republic are beginning to reach capacity as the company manages a steady digital roll-out ahead of the official launch on December 20.

BioWare begun early access to the highly-anticipated game this week for those who had pre-ordered the game, with EA putting 106 servers in operation - 64 in the US and 42 in Europe. Blizzard's World of Warcraft has 491 operational servers across those regions.

As of last night, three servers in the US were at 'full' capacity, five were classified as 'very heavy', 27 as 'heavy', 29 at 'standard' capacity, with none classified as 'light', according to analyst firm Cowen & Company. Some users have reported short queuing to access the game.

All eyes are on the massively multiplayer online game as Electronic Arts takes on the giants already established in the market, most notably Activision's World of Warcraft but also upstarts like Trion's Rift.

Subscription sign up for the game is expected to be strong - over two million participated in the beta.

Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello has suggested that the game can be profitable with as few as half a million subscribers. But that business model is in question with so many high profile MMOs adopting a freemium model this year.

7 Comments

David Spender Lead Programmer

129 54 0.4
The only reason why the subscription business model is in question is because a few pundits say it is. The freemium model creates a much different gameplay environment that over time will attract a different type of user. Subscription and Freemium MMORPGs are not at all equal or to be compared solely on their business model merits.

Posted:2 years ago

#1

Andy Russell Programmer, Blitz Games Studios

8 1 0.1
I don't think the same rules apply to a franchise like Star Wars, with such a massive fan base I think they can get away with whatever payment model they feel like, as long as the game's good of course!

Posted:2 years ago

#2

Chris Gilroy

10 0 0.0
The combination of Star Wars and BioWare gives The Old Republic some serious brand power. They've also got a good product - I was initially underwhelmed during my Beta weekend by how similar it felt to WoW, but it's fun. It may not be a clean break from MMO conventions, but the few deviations from the WoW formula work well and the game as a whole felt pretty polished.

Whether it'll last remains to be seen, mind you, but The Old Republic has a good chance of being successful.

Posted:2 years ago

#3
Subscription model works fine, as it has a long history or proving, freemium model's may generate in some cases more money for the company running them short-medium term but alas often in return in my experience provide a poorer level of service for average player's and indeed most of that extra money appears comes not from the majority of user's but a tiny fraction of them who take advantage of the system to become rich/powerful which seem to be results of studies etc so setting up a tiered subscription model with item store and unlimited trial (ie level limited freemium) may well be far superior to straight freemium without subs.

Any freemium game that doesn't offer a subscription option will inevitable offer a greatly inferior experience, which whilst feeding off free-loaders for player count's even they, (tis true they do have a higher tolerance but surely that will change as they are "spoiled" with ever more freemium releases) will eventually wise up to the inferior experience offered when you have to pay 5x more to do what you could have done with the 1/5th price subs model and so they will go try something else eventually and if the population leaves so well likely the money maker's, as truly free player's at least in my observable experience but logically I could be wrong have less investment in the product meaning they find it far easier hopping MMO's, and in this day and age there's always a new release just around the corner, this may lead to long-term MMO's struggling to stay affloat on this model alone.

Posted:2 years ago

#4

Phil Elliott Project Leader, Collective; Head of Community (Live Team), Square Enix

163 29 0.2
I queued last night for 45 minutes. Some EU servers listed queue times of nearly two hours.

Posted:2 years ago

#5

Udo Engel Community Manager, Sulake Deutschland GmbH

2 0 0.0
I had to wait 15 minutes yesterday for a German server.

Regarding the model: I personally tested many MMOs so far, and I never sticked to any kind of freemium model, as there those, who are willing to spend 100ds of $ / month will always be the richest and best people, as they can buy everything, what other guys have to spend massively time to get these items etc. And who can spend hours a day, when he is working? So I stayed with WOW and now I will also with SWTOR ;)

Posted:2 years ago

#6

Gregore Candalez Journalist and Account Assistant, FD Com.

53 3 0.1
I agree with Udo Engel above. I can't say if I'm not used to them, but I always feel that those free MMO's are nothing but quick distractions. You simply can't take one of them seriously, if you are a serious gamer. The players aren't on the same level - people who spend hundreds of dollars on cash shops are way ahead. The funny thing is people who spend their dough on premium items end up spending MUCH more than a 15-dollar subscription.

On a subscription-model game, everyone is on the same floor and must equally fight their way to superiority. Also, the companies having a constant source of revenue means more solid upgrades and a constant flow of content. I wouldn't abandon a subscription model - especially because I can pay for them. =)

Posted:2 years ago

#7

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