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12-25-2011 @ 3:37AM
I'm sorry, but there are several things here. 1) EA has gone on record to say that if TOR passes the 500k mark, they will be profitable. That's their "desired" mark. 2) Typically games try to make the development cost back from the box cost. Until NPD releases sales numbers, its impossible to know for sure, but the estimates I saw said anywhere from 1.5 to 4 million copies sold. We know that there are 1.5 million subs at the moment, and considering the fact that we're just 5 days in from launch, that's kinda nuts. With 30 days of free play, its very likely the sub count will be much higher. In any event, its very likely that the vast majority of the production cost is already paid for. 3) The profit to revenue ratio is not what you said. It is much much higher with MMOs. It boils down to economies of scale. I have heard people say that WoW enjoys a 50% or so net profit margin. Obviously TOR isn't going to have that, but if its not a large cash cow for EA, I will be shocked. 4) The 30% number is useless. My understanding is these licensing agreements are tiered and can have front payments. There's also likely incentives as well. BK is used to making failing Star Wars games, not successful ones. Given Bioware's success with KOTOR, I would be surprised if the agreement wasn't more friendly towards Bioware. 5) I don't see TOR in much danger. Even if EA only retains 40% of the current subs they'll still exceed their own internal expectations. They may take a hit from Wall Street, but that's not as simple as ATVI, as EA is more divested. Its likely the NBA lockout will hurt them more than if TOR were to only hit 600k subs. However, I predict that by the 1 year mark, you will see TOR at between 3-4 million active subs. 6) On the other hand I do see Blizzard in some danger. The annual pass does give them some security, but come October of next year, that will evaporate. Either MoP will have to be amazing, and more so than TOR, or 2012 could be a bad year for ATVI.
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