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Star Trek Gaming => Star Trek: Online (MMORPG) => General Discussion => Topic started by: Zach on 09 December 2008 12:33 PM

Title: How Many Subscribers does STO Need to be Considered a Success?
Post by: Zach on 09 December 2008 12:33 PM
We have had polls about how many users/subscribers we think that Star Trek Online might get, however this is a more serious twist on that poll.

How Many Subscribers does STO Need to be Considered a Success?

What i mean by that is - what is the bare minimum amount of subscribers that STO will need in order to remain profitable enough for Cryptic Studios to keep up and running post launch?

Many MMORPGS that launch these days do not have huge amounts of success and end up closing down after a year or two.

Most of us would like STO to have a shelf life of at least as long as WOW - and of course, to this day, WOW remains the most profitable MMORPG in the world and of all time - so realistically, in order to acheive the lifetime we all want for STO, how many subscribers are they going to need?
Title: Re: How Many Subscribers does STO Need to be Considered a Success?
Post by: Blackfire on 10 December 2008 10:28 AM

 There are a lot of trek fans out there and I see no reason not to see a million subscribers in the first week the game goes on sale.  What is important however, at least IMO, is to keep those numbers there and obtaining more subscribers afterward. If it is a really great game, then word of mouth will do the rest. I'm still concerned about cryptic being bought up the way it was, but if no changes are made or interference occurs, then I see no reason for it not to succeed.
Title: Re: How Many Subscribers does STO Need to be Considered a Success?
Post by: Hamilton on 02 January 2009 07:15 PM
What i mean by that is - what is the bare minimum amount of subscribers that STO will need in order to remain profitable enough for Cryptic Studios to keep up and running post launch?
And that unfortunately depends on what the budget/investment is for STO by Cryptic and other parties (ie: Atari).  As well as, what is the cost to the users (client price, monthly subscription rate, in-game advertisements, free-to-play model, etc).
Assuming it is in the double digit millions (more than $10m and less than $30m USD), with $30 to $50 USD price for the client and a monthly subscription of $10/mo...
I'll guess at a minimum of 300,000 for the first year and must have growth in the following year.

However, if the business plan was set to have the same projections as WoW, then STO will be canceled.  WoW is an exception and hopefully Cryptic understands this. 
If the monthly subscription rate is at $15/mo USD...  I think the subscriber count will be disappointing, given the current global economy.  I'll say under 200,000 subscribers for the year ($5 USD does make a difference).


Basically this is what I'm getting at.
Should STO business model follow the path of Eve-Online, then I think STO will be successful (seek long term growth).  If the business model is setup to be like the majority of AAA title MMO's or of WoW (short term gain), then STO is likely to under perform.

Fortunately STO has not had the major investment as compared to Tabula Rasa, so even at 150,000 subscribers, STO should still be operating.
Title: Re: How Many Subscribers does STO Need to be Considered a Success?
Post by: Random Redshirt on 02 January 2009 10:03 PM
I am still on the fence as to whether or not STO can even have a shot at being successful. Not to be a negative nelly, but there are major factors in the market that indicate that STO could fall, and not because of it's own doing.

I posted this today on the Warhammer Alliance forums today:

Quote
You know, as long as WoW remains up and running, I highly doubt that any fantasy MMO will survive. Sad as it is for me to say that, I can't imagine that anyone will beat them at this point.

And unless you beat WoW, you can't win. Regardless of our feelings on WoW (love it or hate it), WoW is the undisputed heavyweight champion of MMOs.

Look at Age of Conan for a moment. Had the best chance at first to unseat WoW as champion. however, it was rushed out, incomplete and full of issues. Players left, most of them going back to WoW.

Look at Warhammer. Warhammer had one of the smoothest launches to date, and way fewer bugs than Age of Conan. But the end game is borked at the moment. Less than 6 months from release, WoW pops out an expansion and suddenly Warhammer servers become ghost towns.

So long as WoW is there to offer gamers a fall back when the new MMO they try doesn't live up to hype, has technical issues, or simply doesn't work, then no MMO will ever have the chance to succeed.

Let's look at EVE for a moment. EVE is the exception to the rule....for now. Being the only real sci-fi MMO choice at the moment, it has an edge over games like AoC or WAR. That edge being they don't have to directly compete with WoW. However, even EVE's days could be numbered, as 3 major sci-fi IPs have upcoming MMOs (Star Trek, Star Wars and Stargate) and that most certainly will make the sci-fi MMO competition cut-throat to say the least. And the competition for players will likely doom all 4 of those MMOs (EVE, STO, SGW, SW:TOR) because they all have something in common: they share fans in the WoW universe.

For the foreseeable future, so long as WoW is alive and kicking, I can't see any MMO not running into issues of loosing customers, nor being truly considered "successful" since the deck is so heavily stacked against them.

The part where I discuss the upcoming sci-fi MMOs is the main point I am getting at in regards to STO.

It is very possible that the upcoming sci-fi MMOs will "cannibalize" themselves through competition which could cause all of them to succumb to their wounds, and eventually get finished off by the beast that is WoW.

The reason I say all this is because of experience. Having tried out Warhammer, the game is quite fun and entertaining, and with the exception of the end game issue, it's a fantastic MMO. But all it took was a WoW expansion to come out to draw fans away within the span of DAYS.

Now, think about STO for a moment. Let's say STO launches as cleanly as Warhammer. Great initial numbers, lots of happy players. But then something comes up, perhaps the launch of SW:TOR. That draws away players who aren't 100% dedicated to the Trek franchise, the STO population drops. Then perhaps a WoW expansion comes out, and not only does it draw away players from STO, but draws them from SW:TOR and SGW and EVE as well. That leaves 4 sci-fi franchises competing for the fans that didn't leave for WoW, and eventually all 4 games end up with similar low subscriber numbers and ghost town servers.
Title: Re: How Many Subscribers does STO Need to be Considered a Success?
Post by: Zach on 13 January 2009 11:10 AM
You make some good points Random Redshirt
Title: Re: How Many Subscribers does STO Need to be Considered a Success?
Post by: Falin on 13 January 2009 03:22 PM
the only way a new MMO will break away from WoW's hold is to benew, innovative and break out of the formula every game is doing. when a player picks up a game, plays it for 2 months and says "meh this is just like wow, but not as fun", what else are they going to do but go back to it.

the level/gear/loot system is not working, we see that. yet the game companies still try to make games form to it and they all flop.

Star Trek screams for an open system that's skill based, yet they are going level based (even if you think they're not they are, all indications are there, tier 1/2 ships that you "rank up" to inprove), screams for a prestige system that goes forwards as well as backwards (shot the Klink while at peace and you get negitive points, maybe demotion).

screams for advanced IBM cell technology, advanced AI and player driven world (ie you destroy that klink ship, if enough points accumiplate, the klinks start a war), Yet they want to "dumb it down" for the masses to play and to grab some of those elusive WoW players.

Star Trek screams for top of the line graphics, yet they show us graphics that look like they're from 20 years ago. heck the new Star wars MMO was just recently announced and the screen grabs from their Alpha blow away anything Cryptic has pumped out recently. I'm sorry but saucer that should be round looking like a hex don't cut it, asteroids tht have been labled as "spacde floating poo" and asterroid based that look out of place on the rocks and lok like basic primitives wiuth textures applied, avatars that look like 12 yr old boys with giant hands, just don't cut it as cutting edge or advanced to me.

If cryptic or any other MMO maker wats to break away and ebcome the next "Big" thing, they need to break away from the mold, and do like the early days of games, expiriment, take risks and produce new ideas!
Title: Re: How Many Subscribers does STO Need to be Considered a Success?
Post by: Kinneas on 13 January 2009 07:37 PM
As always, Falin nails it.

So many big people with their fingers in the pie and yet nothing advanced for STO when we have been asking 'specifically' for these kinds of things. 

We may be divided...but we are not THAT divided to know what the polls have shown over the years.
---
Success:
Over $125 million in box sales on day one (by lunchtime)
Over $800 million by the end of the first year.


Title: Re: How Many Subscribers does STO Need to be Considered a Success?
Post by: endie on 17 January 2009 12:28 AM
around 500-800 000 is good , i think many forgets the inpact battlenet had on wows sucess they already had a group of fans that was 100% gamers witch star trek doesnt i bet there is alot of the st fans that dont play games and that makes it harder.
Title: Re: How Many Subscribers does STO Need to be Considered a Success?
Post by: CherryTerri on 16 February 2009 05:58 PM

 There are a lot of trek fans out there and I see no reason not to see a million subscribers in the first week the game goes on sale.  What is important however, at least IMO, is to keep those numbers there and obtaining more subscribers afterward. If it is a really great game, then word of mouth will do the rest. I'm still concerned about cryptic being bought up the way it was, but if no changes are made or interference occurs, then I see no reason for it not to succeed.

I agree with this.

Though I come from EQ2, we have not as many players as WoW, but going on 5 years we are still a success.
Title: Re: How Many Subscribers does STO Need to be Considered a Success?
Post by: Zach on 17 February 2009 10:13 AM
I just thought about all those ST Fans in the West, China and Japan.....oh boy, we could easily see over 1 million
Title: Re: How Many Subscribers does STO Need to be Considered a Success?
Post by: CherryTerri on 17 February 2009 03:06 PM
I just thought about all those ST Fans in the West, China and Japan.....oh boy, we could easily see over 1 million

Quite true.  They have already been clamoring for a seperate forum for their language.

Wonder if there will be other language support at launch?
Title: Re: How Many Subscribers does STO Need to be Considered a Success?
Post by: Zach on 24 February 2009 10:45 AM
I suspect there will only be english support at launch.
Title: Re: How Many Subscribers does STO Need to be Considered a Success?
Post by: Sarevok on 24 February 2009 06:51 PM
I suspect there will only be english support at launch.
That might piss off a lot of Germans, but us Dutch won't really care.
Title: Re: How Many Subscribers does STO Need to be Considered a Success?
Post by: Zach on 25 February 2009 08:24 AM
I suspect there will only be english support at launch.
That might piss off a lot of Germans, but us Dutch won't really care.

Well yeah, but English is pretty much the most popular language worldwide so what can you do?

I'm sure they will have translations for the other major languages soon after launch.
Title: Re: How Many Subscribers does STO Need to be Considered a Success?
Post by: Wyolars on 18 March 2009 04:25 AM
At launch I can't really say a number. But, as long as they are not trying to beat WoW, make their own game and keep players interested. They will do well. (remember WoW didn't gain it's huge numbers until long after it launched)

Just being star trek isn't enough. Galaxies shows us this, Galaxies' launch was the biggest of it's time, but it had nothing to keep players around.
Title: Re: How Many Subscribers does STO Need to be Considered a Success?
Post by: Kinneas on 18 March 2009 05:40 AM
Good answer. :)
Title: Re: How Many Subscribers does STO Need to be Considered a Success?
Post by: Blackfire on 18 March 2009 09:04 AM
At launch I can't really say a number. But, as long as they are not trying to beat WoW, make their own game and keep players interested. They will do well. (remember WoW didn't gain it's huge numbers until long after it launched)

Just being star trek isn't enough. Galaxies shows us this, Galaxies' launch was the biggest of it's time, but it had nothing to keep players around.


   I would agree, but I would suggest they stop trying to make everyone happy ( and fail ) with  all these customization options and start concentrating on content if they want to succeed in making even a good game
Title: Re: How Many Subscribers does STO Need to be Considered a Success?
Post by: Wyolars on 18 March 2009 02:49 PM
Yep!

CONTENT CONTENT CONTENT.. customization only makes us buy the game, Content keeps us in the game.
Title: Re: How Many Subscribers does STO Need to be Considered a Success?
Post by: Falin on 18 March 2009 07:25 PM
thestandard definition of success for an MMO is 300k subs. will STO make that mark? sure, will it retian that mark? prbably not considering, if we look at recent games, Tabla Rasa, War, Conan, and a few others have shown that flashiness does not equate to success in the long run.

Tabla rasa just closed the servers, Pirates of the burning seas reduced the number of active servers by 75% within 6 months of launch, War's great launch of over 750k subs in the first month suddenly dropped to less than 200k in the third month. I's a new market now, with the economy in shambles across the globe, these companies can no longer just pump out trash, hype it up and expect the players to come running. now they have to start thinking long term, how do they retain the customers and build funds to finance new titles.

it's no longer a Flavor of the month, pump out a MMO every 4 months deal, i expect that we'll start seeing 1 title every other year as companies start to enhance and improve what they need in games before they ship them out. they'll be spending the appropriate time and staff on producing higher and higher game play quality to put them in the market.

I think the economical crash is going to affect the game world in drastic ways, bad companies will crumble, the good ones will fight it out and fight for our money with a tenacity never seen before.
Title: Re: How Many Subscribers does STO Need to be Considered a Success?
Post by: Nova on 19 March 2009 12:35 AM
I think falin is absolutely correct here, with the new economic situation, mmo subscribers are very likely worth there weight in gold and i would suspect that a more conservative approach and mmo game development is in our future. does that mean longer development times...who knows i suppose we may also so the recycling of game engines and possibly even the leasing of game engines from one mmo developer to another...so that way cost of development and overall development time to launch is dramatically reduced.
Title: Re: How Many Subscribers does STO Need to be Considered a Success?
Post by: USS Parallax on 06 June 2009 06:42 PM
100,001-499,999

However there's a HUGE difference between 100,001 and 499,999.  The later is a huge success for an MMO (not WoW huge but huge enough).  Most MMOs don't get past 100,000 and stay there.

The hurdle STO will experience is the fact that it's a Star Trek game.  I'm not sure if ANY Star Trek game has even sold 1,000,000 copies.  Maybe that 25th Anniversary thing but I'm not sure.  Most don't even sell 100,000 even at Star Trek's peak.  Star Trek doesn't sell like Star Wars (as evident by t TOR's sudden huge forum population growth, it's already up to 150,000 people).
Title: Re: How Many Subscribers does STO Need to be Considered a Success?
Post by: Jatal Khyron on 07 June 2009 02:08 PM
Well one thing I have to say about this is they should have coordinated with Abrams to get the game come out when the movie did, to spark interest when the iron is hot, so to speak.

I just think it's a 'lost' opportunity, is all. =)

Thank you, I'll be here all week!
Title: Re: How Many Subscribers does STO Need to be Considered a Success?
Post by: Sarevok on 07 June 2009 06:15 PM
Well one thing I have to say about this is they should have coordinated with Abrams to get the game come out when the movie did, to spark interest when the iron is hot, so to speak.

I just think it's a 'lost' opportunity, is all. =)

Thank you, I'll be here all week!

Problem with that is that it would have meant they'd either have hade to rush the game to come out 1/2 or 1 year before it was ready, or put the movie on hold for that same amount of time...
Title: Re: How Many Subscribers does STO Need to be Considered a Success?
Post by: Falin on 07 June 2009 06:56 PM
don't worry the game will be out in time for the crappy sequel to a even crappier movie (and yes i officially forced myself to live through that, i almost walked out 10 times, it was so bad), so they may yet get some people from the average movie goers.
Title: Re: How Many Subscribers does STO Need to be Considered a Success?
Post by: Jatal Khyron on 07 June 2009 11:24 PM
LOL!

So after your Everest sized mount of bellyaching you still plunked down money for a ticket? And didn't burst into flames?

Wow, next there will be peace in the Middle East...
Title: Re: How Many Subscribers does STO Need to be Considered a Success?
Post by: Zach on 09 September 2009 12:42 PM
So Cryptic Studios have recently announced that they consider anything about 100,000 to be a succesfull MMO.....this is an intereting number in my books.
Title: Re: How Many Subscribers does STO Need to be Considered a Success?
Post by: zetetic on 10 September 2009 12:45 AM
100k wow
But I guess that's good to know. I think STO will definitely be over that tho.
On another note, I think it's time for people to stop thinking about WoW (in a comparison context).
I don't think anyone can beat WoW and it's just pointless to think that they can.
Devs should just focus on creating the best game they can and not worry about WoW.
I don't think there will ever be numbers like WoW sub numbers. The most a game could reach now I think would be about 1 mil.
But anyways, I think 100k to 499k is definitely the sweet spot.
Title: Re: How Many Subscribers does STO Need to be Considered a Success?
Post by: Zach on 10 September 2009 09:10 AM
There are currently approximatly 150,000 registered users on the Star Trek Online Forums.

Figure an 80% conversion rate for those who bothered to register, then figure at least 10 unregistered folks for every registered member.....

My guess is somewhere around 500,000 to 1,000,000 users between launch and the first six months.
Title: Re: How Many Subscribers does STO Need to be Considered a Success?
Post by: zetetic on 10 September 2009 11:24 AM
I think I can actually see that happening Zach :)
Though I think the numbers will change after the first free month that will come with the game.
Then I think it will change again after 3 months.
Then from 6 to 12 months it will settle down.
I'm also expecting the first week or so to be a bit chaotic ;)
(look at Champs' first week)
Title: Re: How Many Subscribers does STO Need to be Considered a Success?
Post by: Aegis on 30 December 2009 09:39 PM
Won't the forums account for all registered players for STO? After all, when you register for a game account you get a forum account automatically..?
Title: Re: How Many Subscribers does STO Need to be Considered a Success?
Post by: Zambazun on 14 January 2010 07:28 AM
considering how fast people are downloading STO beta client.. It sure sounds like a success from the start.
on FilePlanet there is 160.000 downloads at this moment. And there are plenty of sites around serving the client.

With the minimum of 50$ (or 50 EUR in Europe) per entrance and if you decide to buy the subscription (which would be how much? 10-15$ per month?) that is ~11 mil $ per year if they have 50k subscribers. And I believe they will have more than that.
Title: Re: How Many Subscribers does STO Need to be Considered a Success?
Post by: Zach on 14 January 2010 12:48 PM
Yeah - judging from the poll above, I think folks were waayyyyyyyyyy off - most of us were in fact.

This could easily break 1 million in launch week/month