The News that Almost Was: May 7-13
This week was slow. We managed to get a few good news posts up, but I just couldn’t find that much to report. We really are in that weird pre-E3 lul right now. A few things will be announced or leaked (probably by a smart PR person, capitalizing on the lack of other news), but most companies are busy getting their presentations ready for E3.
I try to remember to put something in these posts about how you should keep submitting tips, but for the next two or three weeks we really need them. I mean, on one hand there are so few stories happening that they’re hard to miss. On the other, we’ll be really down on content unless we find stuff to fill in the gaps.
Oh well. Complaint/begging for tips part of the post is now over. On to the news that didn’t make it for whatever reason.
- EA has been saying that gloom and doom predictions about its subscriber base for Star Wars: The Old Republic were blown out of proportion. This week we found out they’ve actually lost about 25 percent, or 400,000, subscribers in the last month and a half. Ouch. And there might be another wave about to leave as a promotion giving level 50 players a free month to stick around is about to end as well. The current (officially released) numbers put the game at 1.3 million subscribers, but EA has said that the game can remain profitable with as few as 500,000.
- There was other EA news as well, including a new Dead Space, the stunning revelation that they are working on games for the next console generation, layoffs are coming, and some numbers on Origin. They say it has 11 million users and has generated $150 million so far. After a bit of math, all that tells me is most of those 11 million accounts bought either Battlefield 3 or Mass Effect 3 elsewhere, then got stuck using Origin to install it. How nice.
- There is a $99 version of the Xbox 360 available only at Microsoft stores, which there are only 21 of, that comes with a two-year contract for Xbox Live Gold at $15 a month. The higher monthly cost ends up costing about 10 percent more for the system than just buying it in the normal fashion. It looks like Microsoft is testing the waters a bit to see how a service contract subsidized gaming console would work using more or less the payment system most people get their cell phones under.