CEO of Trion Worlds, Lars Buttler has been offering other developers advice on how to sustain AAA online games. Trion Worlds are behind subscription-based MMO, RIFT which has recently been released in many Southasian countries and China.
Talking to Gamasutra at E3, the CEO has claimed that Star Wars: The Old Republic is suffering from a lack of fresh content: "In the case of Star Wars, I don't think the business model was necessarily the issue, but I think it was content updates, and what to do in the game, and how you can play it without it becoming repetitive," he told the website.
TOR developers Bioware Austin recently lost staff , leading to rumours that their MMO might not be doing as well as anticipated. Just a few days ago, BioWare announced 6 months worth of content for their licensed MMO, along with the inclusion of a free trial.
By contrast, Trion have managed to “keep people interested,” says Lars: “The key about an online game is that it's a live service. If you make it more like a packaged goods game, people will stay about as long as they stay with a packaged goods game."
"If you're not set up for that in terms of your game technology, backend, the size of your game teams, it becomes incredibly difficult to do," continued the CEO.
Lars also offered his take on the recent closure of 38 Studios , the developers behind Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning and never-released MMO, Copernicus: "38 Studios had a concept they couldn't deliver on... it was too big of a scope. It was too much. It it just went broader and never narrowed. They never even came close to the finish line."
"I think their fundamental issue was process management," says Buttler. “The team never devised a plan for a game that could be developed in a reasonable amount of time.”
What's your take on Lars' theories?