The Apocalypse is Upon Us!

Yeah, I said it.  First it was Brad McQuaid re-emerging as a developer with Sony.

Now, this, from Dan Stahl, executive producer of Star Trek Online:

 

The key decision to move STO to F2P over the last year was crucial to our current success and while it was painful along the way, ultimately sets us up for the future. It really makes me wonder if other games such as SWTOR wished they would have launched F2P as well, because converting all the systems over to a new business is a huge challenge.

 

Yes, that’s right ladies and gents, you heard that right:  Cryptic (the studio that got sold off) and Star Trek Online (the MMO that flopped like the left ear of the Easter Bunny) are concerned about the long term survivability of Star Wars: The Old Republic.  If anyone had told me a year ago, I probably wouldn’t have believed it.  But today it not only sounds less than insane, it actually sounds right on the money.

 

Truly, this is 2012 kinda stuff happening around here lately.

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2 thoughts on “The Apocalypse is Upon Us!

  1. Okay, first: Star Trek Online didn’t “flop.” It’s not a blockbuster game, I’ll grant you that. Hell, I’ll even go so far as to say it’s a niche game. But at any time of the day space is full of ships flying back and forth, the endgame queues are running fairly decently, and, more importantly, the game developers are constantly at work creating new things. If it were a flop, it would have failed. And before you bring up Atari selling Cryptic, I’d point out that that was because Atari is shifting over entirely to mobile and social gaming.

    Secondly, to be fair to Stahl, a lot of gaming journalists have been musing for years about the death of the subscription model MMO, and they may not be entirely off-base about it. So many games now that were subscription based have gone the free-to-play route, and in some cases (LOTRO and DDO are two examples) they’ve seen unprecedented success in that model. Is it for everything? I doubt it; I can’t see WoW or EVE ever going completely free-to-play, and to be honest I’d be shocked if SWTOR goes free-to-play very quickly, regardless of what the rumor mill may say.

    But I think that the free-to-play model is, now, the “next big thing” that a lot of developers are looking at seriously, and not without reason.

    1. James, a clarification – if you haven’t read any of my other posts, I *love* STO. Cryptic has done a stellar job, and being sold to Perfect World was a great move, in my opinion. So don’t think I’m bashing the game here. I’m simply pointing out that the idea of STO worrying about SWTOR’s future would have been comical a year ago (think about where both games were a year ago) but that now, given STO’s success and SWTOR’s nosedive, it makes a lot of sense!

      That said, while STO is right now a great game, there is no way to categorize STO as anything other than a flop. The game launched with barely 100k subs and it lost half of those after the free month.

      Also, with regard to F2P – it is great, but it is hardly the “next big thing” – DDO went there three years ago. As Dan pointed out, it just has taken games awhile to turn the ship around if they started with a sub model.

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