February 2012

Old Republic Has More Subscribers Than You Do (Unless Your Name Is Bobby Kotick)

Industry analysts expressed surprise at this news

It’s official: per CFO Eric Brown, during an earnings conference call, SWTOR is making a lot of money, with 1.7m subscribers (which Brown went to an unusual effort to quantify correctly as a mix of paying customers and customers with billing information entered but still on free trial) and over 2m sell-through (copies sold to actual customers as opposed to sitting on store shelves).

Brown said EA was actually able to add a lot more users on a per-server basis, thanks to some technical improvements. He also noted that about 40% of the units of the game sold during the quarter went over the company’s Origin digital-distribution channel, which is not tracked by market researchers such as NPD.

“This has been the most rapid scaling of an MMO ever, based on our research,” Brown commented.

EA stock rose sharply as a result, pleasing Hutts everywhere. SWTOR is now firmly in place as the #2 MMO, in both earnings and subscribers. It’s now up to Bioware to follow through on that with retention.