Industry analyst Michael Pachter reckons MMOs have peaked, saying "I thought Star Wars: The Old Republic would make it big, but it didn’t. It looks like subscription MMOs are as big as they're going to get - there are only 6-7 million people willing to spend $15 a month. If Star Wars couldn’t do it, made by Bioware, then no one can do it."
Pachter goes on to candidly explain why EA's stock price is flagging, to CEO John Riccitiello no less. "I had lunch with John at EA. He asked why no-one’s buying stock. I told him: ‘the reason your stock is in the toilet is because you’re in the fifth year of a three year turn around’. He said, ‘I thought new consoles would be out around 2010-2011’." The reason publishers like EA and Activision are unwilling to take risks on new IPs hinges on this over-stretched console cycle, Pachter adds.
The analyst's sentiments match those of Wargaming.net CEO Victor Kislyi, who told PCGamesN of his similarly dim outlook for subs-based MMOs. "Name one game apart from World of Warcraft with a subscription that is doing well,” Victor questioned. "Only a few names spring to mind. EVE Online? Star Wars: The Old Republic? You can have a huge sci-fi license with the biggest budget of any game, and what do you get? No success. It’s dying off. I think subscription tops the list of problems [with MMO development.]”
No word yet on whether Riccitiello paid that particular dinner bill.