Electronic Arts was riding pretty high on the horse three months ago when it boasted 1.7 million subscribers for The Old Republic. However, this week, things have changed. The publisher updated its investors and revealed that 400,000 or nearly 25% of players have stopped playing since then. Yet, 1up doesnt think it's all that bad:
A 23-percent decline is a substantial figure any way you slice it. Yet it's important to remember this is still early in the life of the game; if this were to happen a year from now it would be more troubling. At this point in time, it's natural for an MMO to lose a chunk of people who wanted to try the game out and nothing more. It seems entirely feasible a chunk of casual players tried the game out but didn't want to pay a monthly subscription, which is essentially what the drop was attributed to in an EA conference call with investors on Monday."
EA CFO Scott Brown has said that the game only needs 500,000 subsrcibers to remain profitable, so the current 1.3 million should more than suffice. However, BioWare needs to make sure it keeps the players it has and stops the bleeding.
There is a caveat though. Some people that had been following TOR's progress and other voracious gamers were given a month's worth of free gameplay, which could have softened the blow it's been taking. We won't find out until EA's next quarterly earnings report if the game does indeed have a loyal fan base willing to dish out the $15 per month.