SWTOR: Success or Failure?

It was perhaps one of the most hyped games of all time. With development costs reputed to be up to $200 million or more, Star Wars The Old Republic (commonly referred to as SWTOR) got a whole lot of press from the very beginning. Avid gamers eagerly awaited this highly anticipated game, and there was even talk that this MMOG behemoth might overtake World of Warcraft. That was a lofty goal, to be sure, but if any game had the potential to do such a thing, it was SWTOR.

The game launched quite well, and quickly had a subscription base of over 1 million. But shortly thereafter, things began to peter out. Subscriptions fell, and continued its downward trajectory. Within a year it was announced that SWTOR would adopt a hybrid free to play model.

So where does SWTOR stand today? It’s important that despite the high development costs, which made it the most expensive video game of all time at the time of release, the game has managed to stay profitable. At its height, there were around 1.3 million subscribers. Today, that number has stabilized at under 500,000, with over a million total player when you factor in free players as well. Since subscriptions are around $15 monthly, this means that years after its release, the game is still generating over 90 million a year in subscriptions alone. And keep in mind, since there is now a cartel market where free players and subscribers can purchase special items, the revenues are probably well above this number. All in all, SWTOR probably did not live up to the hopes the developers initially had, but it did not do too badly either.

The game continues to have a steady group of players that enjoy the game, and there are plenty of leveling guides, strategy guides, credit selling services, and other small cottage industries that have formed around the popularity of the game.