EA BioWare's Star Wars: The Old Republic is off to a good start, "with more than 1.7 million active subscribers and growing," according to CEO John Riccitiello. While player churn is always a concern in MMOs, DFC Intelligence does see long-term success for the title.
In a report obtained by GamesIndustry International, the market research firm noted that The Old Republic "has the potential to be a successful long-term online subscription PC game... despite a general decline in high-end subscription game products and growing competition from numerous free-to-play games like Riot Games' League of Legends, War Gaming's World of Tanks, and S2 Games' Heroes of New Earth."
DFC, which conducted the study in conjunction with Xfire, tracked game usage data from the launch of the MMO on December 20, 2011 through February 20, 2012 and also surveyed over 4,000 Xfire users in January 2012. Based on this data, DFC believes that Star Wars can indeed reach over one million long-term paying subscribers (defined as a subscriber that pays for over six months).
"The current trend among large massively multiplayer online games is to have strong initial sales, after which users quickly lose interest and are not converted to long-term paying subscribers," said DFC Intelligence analyst Jeremy Miller. "While early signs are fairly positive, over the next few months the plan is to closely monitor usage and consumer reaction to gauge how well Star Wars: The Old Republic performs over time."
Miller added, "The next three to six months will be critical to determine if the game can attract a large and sustained paying subscriber base."
DFC said that this study is part of an "ongoing initiative" with Xfire to better understand the core PC gaming market.
"The Xfire user-base is a strong trend indicator for gaming titles like Star Wars: The Old Republic and World of Warcraft," said Xfire Chief Marketing Officer, Juston Brommel, "One of the core product features that attract gamers to Xfire is the ability for users to track their game hours. This data gives Xfire and DFC terabits of insightful trends into which games users are playing and how often."