‘Star Wars: The Old Republic’ Layoffs Inbound

Jul 19, 2012 by  

Star Wars The Old Republic Layoffs

After major game updates failed to stimulate player activity, with average server populations falling alongside approximately 25% of the paid subscribers, BioWare’s Star Wars: The Old Republic began to show signs of trouble. Most MMOs cannot successfully require paid subscriptions and expect to grow the number of active players and so Electronic Arts and BioWare began exploring free-to-play options, something prior to the game’s launch seemed unacceptable.

The Old Republic is one of the most expensive MMOs ever created, partly due to the Star Wars licensing cost and partly due to development costs for things like having voice actors for every bit of dialogue in the game. Now, the game is starting to lose some of the staff behind it.

Gamasutra reports that SWTOR executive producer Rich Vogel, a veteran MMO developer for having worked on Ultimate Online with Origin/EA previously and Star Wars Galaxies with Sony, has left BioWare. The timing of his leaving coincides with reports that BioWare’s Austin office is about to undergo layoffs from EA.

The plan is to reduce costs so EA can continue development of the game and hopefully re-grow the amount of players. At this point, it’s inevitable that the game will eventually embrace a free-to-play model just as Lord of the Rings Online, Age of Conan, Champions Online, Star Trek Online and countless other MMOs did beforehand. That’s just not a market for expensive subscription-based games outside of World of Warcraft and EVE Online.

Here at Game Rant, of the four of us who tried out the game, only one still plays. I left because of the linearity of the game and lack of space travel, something The Old Republic’s predecessor Star Wars Galaxies had but its successor dropped, but we all agree that there’s a solid story to explore for each character class, for those willing to invest the time (and money).

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Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes.

Source: Gamasutra

18 Comments

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  1. I wish them luck. I stuck with them from launch till about four months in before I was sick to death of their game.
    Now I am playing Secret World which is so much better in every way. It has better graphics, gameplay, and it runs much smoother than TOR with the same amount of people or more around me.
    Not to mention all the new MMOs coming out over the next few years.

    • Same. I stuck with it till about April – May.
      Now I’m waiting for Guild Wars 2 to come out next month.

  2. If it goes Free to play, then yes. Otherwise, I will not be playing it. Besides I am the type of guy who likes a legit RPG and not a stats game as it is. Which is a big reason why I am always skeptical about playing any MMO. And even then I may not pick it up, for I have had a friend who is a big time star wars nerd, a walking SW encyclepedia if you would and was utterly disappointed in the releasing of ToR. Also, when they convert it over to mac (not sure if they have) I will then give it a try.

  3. If it goes free to play i want my money back!!!! lol

    • ^^^ hell yes! I was one of the fanbois screaming to the heavens that this was gonna be the bees knees to all my friends, and then I have to eat crow. Pre-ordered day 1 (glad I didnt pick up CE) and was in on the first wave of early access, but I lasted only a few months.

      I really started to sense that the game wouldn’t meet the hype about a month or so before launch when I got to see some beta game play up front. but I thought things would get better at end game, but they just got worse.

      Dont get me wrong – the leveling experience was fun, but I do not want to pay a monthly sub to level characters. I will go back to it if it goes f2p, but only to finish all the different class stories. If they limit the leveling experience game play I probably wont go back at all.

  4. I played the game for awhile after it was released. I was in an awesome guild as well and then the guild started falling apart because of the games lack of content. I personally don’t see the point of subscriptions and with a company as big as Bioware I don’t see why they need subscriptions. Sure it helps with servers, but Bioware has had so much success over the years and it just pains me to see their baby falling flat on its face like Galaxies. I may play it, but free models are kind of worthless because it sucks the cool out of a game.

  5. I just got an email that essentially said, “WE ARE ABOUT TO BILL YOU AGAIN. PLEASE BE OKAY WITH THIS!”

    I almost thought I was paying yearly, but then realized it hasn’t been a year so out of all the monthlies I’ve done, this is the one they want me to remember.

    Yeeeeeeesh.

    • Also, I’ve been stuck on Tatooine, due to utter disinterest in continuing, for going on about 2 months now.

      • Tatooine is by far the worst planet in the game, it gets better after.

  6. I think the problem is sheer number of MMOs out there. Back in the days of Everquest your options were very limited. Ultima Online or EQ. Until more games started to come out and directly compete. Now theres way too many.

    • It’s true. We’re seeing so many brands and existing video game franchises push to MMO models like the upcoming Elder Scrolls Online.

  7. Heh. Another MMO going free to play. Well, at least I won’t have a shortage of F2P games

  8. EvE, seriously? SWTOR cannot compete with EvE?

    Last time i looked subscriptions for eve were in the thousands(and it would be lucky to be in the hundreds of thousands.), not over a million like swtor.

    • swtor HAD sub base of over a million, not anymore. I played both, and Im now back to EVE, 30-50k people signed into EVE at any given time + Sandbox + active founder player base + steady influx of new players = EVE > SWTOR.

      Not to mention that EVE is very active in adding new events, and upgrades for free. CCP knows what they’re doing ~ if they had EA hanging over their heads, they would probably have done a face plant as well.

      • EVE is also a giant spreadsheet. EVE, the game for accountants that feel they don’t work hard enough during the day.

  9. screw them.
    they suckered me into spending $200+ on the game, subscription and security key.

    I only played for 3 months before I got bored and fed up with the devs.

    They deserve what they reap.

  10. this game was doomed to fail from the start, only LUCAS was going to make money off this deal. EA and BIOWARE suck!

  11. EA was blind and stupid to not have foreseen this! the voice-overs make this game too frickin expensive! EA should fire the management team that thought this was a good idea!

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