Star Wars: The Old Republic sees sharp player decline

EA launched Star Wars: The Old Republic just before Christmas to positive reviews and a warm reception from the MMO community, positioning it as a competitor to Blizzard's World of Warcraft. Is the galaxy far far away starting to falter already? During a recent earnings report, EA announced that SWTOR's subscriber base has dropped from 1.7 million to 1.3 million in just two months.

It was previously reported that server populations for the game were dropping, with Bioware's Daniel Erickson saying that wasn't the case despite a decrease in peak time activity. The latest numbers seem to confirm the worst for EA, who say that the drop is in line with "original assumptions" for the games launch. EA went on to say that it was planning on adding more subscribers with new upgrades and features to the game.

EA believe that "core" MMO gamers are sticking with the game, and the decline is a result of more casual gamers dropping the game after the initial billing cycles. Even with the reduced numbers, EA has suggested in the past that the game would maintain profitability even with 500,000 active subscribers.

Blizzard has also seen a drop in World of Warcraft numbers recently. The game seemingly reached its peak of 12 million players back in 2010, with the most recent November 2011 info showing that the numbers have dropped to 10.3 million. Blizzard says part of that is due to gamers wanting to try Star Wars: The Old Republic, while others are waiting for the next WoW expansion, Mists of Pandaria. The company hasn't issued any updated subscriber numbers since November.

[via Ars Technica]