Sep 19, 2011

Posted by in News | 7 Comments

SOE’s John Smedley – TOR Has Legit Shot At 2 Million Subscribers

There are a lot of industry analysts, pundits and big-wigs who believe that Star Wars: The Old Republic can garner more than 2 million subscribers, even in the face of increased “competition” from free-to-play titles. The latest endorsement comes from none other than Sony Online Entertainment President, John Smedley. posted a guest editorial by Smedley on the the industry’s march toward the free-to-play model (with DC Universe being the latest switcher.) The piece is entitled The Free Future and is great reading for anyone involved in the games industry, or even just enjoy keeping an eye on it.

Smedley feels that TOR will be the last large-scale MMO to go this route:

There’s another large juggernaut coming out soon in Star Wars: The Old Republic from EA/Bioware. That’s a game that I think has a legitimate shot at a 2 million subscription user base and I believe they will stick with the subscription method. In my opinion this is going to be the last large scale MMO to use the traditional subscription business model.

The SOE President goes on to talk about Guild Wars and the “buy the box” model, as well as emerging markets. In the end though, he argues that free-to-play is the future for MMOs. Perhaps most poignant, he gives advice to developers:

Let players be able to get most things that you sell in the store just by playing the game.  Even if it’s difficult, giving free players the chance to get things without ever paying you a dime is the right thing to do.

Head on over to for the full read. If you’re interested in the business, this is a great piece.

  1. It certainly feels like TOR will have a pile of subscribers. It might be because I’m caught up in the middle of the hype rather than an outsider looking in.

    Also, that is a sweet sweet headshot of John Smedley.

  2. Yet he decided to kill Star Wars Galaxies instead of it going F2P….

  3. Interesting article, and sweet head shot indeed. As an armchair economist, I completely understand how F2P is going to be the future. Typically, you’ll gain a much larger playerbase, so the loss of income gets nullified by more people paying less money (for little things here and there). That, and the super hardcore people are given the option to dump all their money into the game, instead of paying the same amount as Joe Casual.

    I played EQ2X with a girlfriend for a while, and I indeed spent about $20 during my month of play to unlock different classes and races.

    The thing is, subscription models are about long term, steady profits and keeping players hooked. F2P, on the other hand, just need people to be interested for a month or so to make their money. Sure you’re not going to be raking in millions a month like Blizzard, but most companies don’t ;)

  4. Alex Hunter says:

    John Smedley should not be involved with any games especially star wars games. He completely murdered SWG with the CU and NGE, the idiot is only fit to work on a frier at Burger King.

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