Announced by Electronic Arts during an investor call earlier today, the gaming publisher has sold two million copies of Bioware’s Star Wars: The Old Republic and 1.7 million of those gaming consumers have signed up for a subscription to the online role-playing game. However, this number includes all players that are currently taking advantage of the first 30 days of free play-time that comes with the $60 game and does not necessarily mean 1.7 million people have already paid the first month fee of $15. If Electronic Arts can manage to keep all 1.7 million subscribers paying for access to the game for the next twelve months, the company stands to make approximately 300 million dollars in subscription fees over 2012.
While Electronic Arts boasted that Star Wars: The Old Republic is the “fastest-growing subscription MMO in history,” the company also released information regarding player engagement. In the past month of game time, players have logged a combined 239 million in-game hours within the Star Wars universe. That converts to approximately 27,000 years of in-game time. Over 148 billion credits, the game’s currency, has been spent by players and over twenty billion non-player characters have been killed during missions, flashpoints and operations. Representatives at EA noted that servers have been up 99.5 percent of the time, except for scheduled maintenance, and 40 percent of game purchases were made through digital delivery via Origin rather than a traditional retailer like Amazon or Best Buy.
Star Wars: The Old Republic has also received attention from the Family Research Council (FRC) after BioWare announced that the ability to pursue a same sex relationship is being planned as an added feature in an upcoming patch to the game. The president of the conservative lobbying organization, Tony Perkins, released a statement claiming that “Star Wars gamers have already gone to the dark side,” and railed against Bioware for planning the upcoming addition despite complaints from angry parents. However, it’s unlikely that Bioware will alter plans to add this feature based solely on a public statement from the FRC.
Since the launch of the the MMORPG, Bioware has already released a content pack to paying subscribers. On January 17, the company launched game update 1.1 which was called Rise of the Rakghouls. Beyond a variety of bug fixes to patch the launch version, Bioware awarded a Founders title to all players that purchased the game at launch. In addition, the update added a new flashpoint called “Kaon Under Siege” that encourages players to team up to experience a new story line about a planet ravaged by an outbreak of the Rakghoul plague. The update also includes a new operation called “Karagga’s Palace, part II” that allows a group of players to team up with other groups for greater rewards.
Bioware is also planning to hold a guild summit in Austin, Texas during early March and inviting select guild leaders to the event. Designed as a session to obtain player feedback, Bioware will be holding round-table discussion sessions as well question and answer sessions with the guild members attending the conference. According to a Bioware representative, he stated “This event will provide an opportunity for attendees to voice their feedback directly to the teams responsible for the design of Star Wars: The Old Republic, hear the team’s thoughts and reasons behind design decisions, and discuss the current direction of the game.” While guild members will be have to pay for all costs related to the trip, they will be able to see an advanced preview of upcoming features and content additions for the game.