Star Wars – The Old Republic: And The Final Price Is…

In my previous examination of Star Wars: The Old Republic, the development budget from various sources ranged from the probably too-low US$80m (plus US$20 for advertising) through to US$300m.

The LA Times has indicated that SWOR’s development cost sits at US$200m, while analyst Doug Creutz of Cowen & Co. suggested that EA’s “total all-in investment in ‘Star Wars’ is probably approaching half a billion dollars”.

It isn’t conclusive by any stretch, but it certainly looks like SWOR could be the most expensive video game launched to date. EA probably doesn’t want that particular record in the Guinness Book of Records though.

There are very few video game companies who can compete with those kind of budgets (even at the lower end). RIFT cost over US$50m to develop, as did DC Universe Online. If you want to build a subscription-based MMO title, apparently you need at least an 8-or-9 figure development budget lined up.

3 thoughts on “Star Wars – The Old Republic: And The Final Price Is…

  1. I think there’s always going to be a certain amount of creative accounting in any figures released. At the moment it’s very much not in EA’s interest for this game to have cost closer to $500m than $200m because the gap between what it cost and what it is likely to make is the most newsworthy aspect. They’ll probably make back $200m pretty comfortably. So if the game cost $200m it’s a non-story. If it could be shown to have cost $500m then there’s a highly interesting story of a third of a billion dollars lost through incompetence.

    I strongly suspect that the aim, at least internally, of SWTOR was to replace WoW as the undisputed king of MMOs. There’s some logic to that view – WoW is very old and is faltering even without an outside push. And if you think your game will be the next WoW then it’s well worth half a billion dollars.

    However we should probably question the assumption that there will ever again be one MMO that has 75% of the market (EU/NA/Oceania)..

    • I agree – unless you have the actual spreadsheets from EA (or whoever) then you can’t know for sure what costs have been attributed and what costs have been passed off into other departments / sections.

      Across its lifetime SWOR will probably make US$200m, but given the additional costs of development plus LucasArts taking a portion of every dollar of revenue, it will be interesting to know if SWOR ever meets the potential that EA really wants. This includes unseating WoW – even just looking at NA and EU, they have a few million players. Is SWOR going to be able to beat those figures? I don’t think so, mainly on the grounds that BioWare is worse than Blizzard when it comes to game mechanics. Once the novelty of SWOR starts to wear off and delays in new content start to appear, I don’t see a huge number of players hanging around just to play Huttball.

      Agreed that there probably won’t ever be another sub-based MMO that has 75% of the market, but I can see a time when one specific F2P title is sitting on most people’s desktops, only a double click away from starting up.

  2. Pingback: Star Wars: The Old Republic – SWTOR vs. WAR! | Vicarious Existence

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