Far from killing the MMO genre, it appears that the success of Star Wars: The Old Republic might just be its salvation. Over one million people logged on to play SWTOR over the Holiday, and that during a difficult economic era when many are tightening their belts. It seems the subscription MMO is alive and well, at least if your name is BioWare.
"We view the early success of Star Wars as an indication of a healthy MMO market," said Baird Equity Research's Colin Sebastian. "While there is likely some shifting of usage from Activision's World of Warcraft, we see a viable market for multiple million-user MMOs in the US and Europe."
The most interesting part of this is that World of Warcraft seems little affected by the influx of TOR players. As far as I can tell, the same people are playing both games and enjoying them for different reasons. I know I am. While I'm still in the middle of my review playthrough, I can safely say that SWTOR and WoW represent very different approaches to MMO gameplay -- the personal story versus the epic story. So far I have seen very little in the way of epic overarching storyline with SWTOR, since it seems to focus almost entirely on what BioWare is best at -- singleplayer campaigns. What this means is that I can get my social interaction experience from WoW and get my personal storyline fix from SWTOR -- and all of this means that finally there is a second MMO on the market that just might succeed at the subscription model that so many others have failed at.
All I know is that I am spending so much time playing the game I haven't had much opportunity to write about it. If that's not a good sign for MMOs, I don't know what is.