The problem with Star Wars: The Old Republic is that there are too few Skywalkers and too many walkers.
"Star Wars: The Old Republic is developing a committed community of players with more than 1.7 million active subscribers and growing," CEO John Riccitiello said back in February.
EA has poured a lot of money into that game. When you lose 400,000 players -- and all of your momentum -- in two months, you don't get that back.
Tell that to Activision Blizzard
Optimists argue that the defections decelerated in Activision Blizzard's most recent quarter. Just 100,000 net gamers bolted during the holiday quarter. However, the trend is still pointing in the wrong direction.
When EA raced to 1.7 million Star Wars fans during last year's debut of Star Wars: The Old Republic, many figured the players were coming at the expense of World of Warcraft. Now that EA's contender is slipping, could some of those 400,000 net defections be racing back to Activision Blizzard?
Don't bet on it.
There's a word to describe what's happening here -- and I'm about to coin it: Zynganization.
Software developers don't see it that way. They still believe they can plug in expansion packs to keep a title going, but gamers are no longer as committed. Even Zynga found this out the hard way when Mafia Wars players didn't jump on Mafia Wars 2.
So, yes, Zynganization.
Keep that word in mind when Activision Blizzard reports further shrinkage tomorrow. Have the word handy when EA shakes its head three months from now, befuddled at how Legacy and Allies couldn't stop its dearth mauling.
Zynganization. It'll grow on you over time -- because every other game won't.
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