This article was originally published on December 28, 2011.
For a while, many journalists and analysts were predicting that Star Wars: The Old Republic was going to be one of the biggest games of the year and they were right, as Electronic Arts has confirmed that the recently released massively multiplayer online role-playing game has more than 1 million subscribers, making it the fastest MMO to reach that number of players in such a short time. For a subscription game, that is quite surprising especially taking into account that most MMOs are currently making the necessary changes to switch to the much more convenient and effective free-to-play business model in which players play for free, but pay for additional items, quests, outfits or upgrades. Paying for a disc and then a subscription is one of those methods that is quickly becoming obsolete and one that only a handful of companies can get away with.
Electronic Arts has provided us with additional figures in order to clearly see the impact of the game. According to the American company, the cumulative number of playtime for the last weekend has surpassed the 5.5 million hours. Additionally, more players have chosen the Dark Side of the force as around 850,000 Sith warriors have been created since the game launched, compared to the 810,000 Jedi Warriors. Nevertheless, these numbers seem quite surprising if we consider the staggering amount of people playing the game almost simultaneously.
Previously, EA stated that around 2 million players had participated in the beta version of The Old Republic and earlier during the year the company claimed that the game was going to be considered profitable if it had at least 500,000 subscribers. Not only has the game surpassed that number, but also it seems like those who play the game are extremely dedicated to it as subscribers are playing an average of five hours a day. Star Wars: The Old Republic is already being called “the fastest growing subscription MMO” of the industry. Bioware’s latest MMO has been received extremely well by both critics and fans of the genre, though some journalists have refused to review the game until some of the game’s issues are addressed and the performance of the title becomes a little more consistent.
Furthermore, it would be really interesting to see what the numbers of World of Warcraft are right now, as the number of players has been declining for a long while and I’m quite sure that many have left Blizzard’s popular MMO to play The Old Republic. It should be noted that the former has been released 7 years ago (on November 23, 2011) and that many players want something new and refreshing as they are tired of playing the same game for so many years. In any case and to remediate this, Blizzard is working on an upcoming title (called Titan) which is expected to be World of Warcraft’s successor.