It’s no secret, in fact we’ve talked about it here several times. EA and Activision are at war. Activision has had a strangle hold on the FPS genre for years with its Call Of Duty franchise yet EA keeps firing away at them, chipping away their market share with their up and coming Battlefield franchise.
Now, with the release one week ago of EA/BioWare’s MMO hit Star Wars: The Old Republic, EA looks to be taking even more market share from Activision by logging huge numbers of subscriptions.
We know that SWTOR released on the 20th of December, with a 1 week “early game access” program which allowed people who pre-ordered the game to get in up to 7 days before those who didn’t. We also know that the Christmas rush did wonders for their sales numbers and at this point, there is some preliminary data which tells the story of how well they’re really doing.
As of today, EA/BW indicates that they have logged over 1 million subscriptions in the U.S. and EU (with an AP release still in the works). They also indicate that players have put in a staggering 60 million hours of total game time and have created 1.66 million characters in their virtual galaxy.
On the flip side of the coin, as has been mentioned before, Activision/Blizzard is reporting a 10% loss in total subscribers to their King-of-the-Hill title “World of Warcraft”, down to 10.3 million subscribers from 11.4 million, which some analysts now believe is in danger of being dethroned by the newcomer to the genre – Lazard Capital Market analyst Atul Bagga, for example, downgraded WoW from “buy” to “neutral” in the wake of the massive loss of subscribers and based on polls of a number of gamers.
Reports also indicate that Star Wars: The Old Republic will likely do better as World of Warcraft continues to age and that a staggering 95% of the people who were involved with the beta testing of SWTOR indicated they would buy the game at full retail cost.
This is good news for gamers, all around. The competition will force all of the development houses to work on innovation for their various products which means that players of SWTOR and WoW alike can look forward to the possibility of new and exciting features being added to their games as the warring developers vie for their affection.