25/09/2015

The Star Wars Hype Is Building Up

Episode VII is still almost three months away but the rising Star Wars hype levels are already palpable. The other week I went to the website of a certain homeware retailer here in the UK and they had a whole separate category on their website for Star Wars. Not that there was much in it, but it had a whole tab of its own, side by side with categories such as "home & garden" or "sports & leisure". When I walk down the street on my way to and home from work, I walk past an optician that advertises Star Wars children's glasses. It's simply everywhere.

I will admit that I'm not immune to the lure of all these ads either. The other day I actually bought a pair of pens in my local bookshop that look like lightsabers. Hey, I needed some new pens anyway, so why not go for something funky? Of course the joke was on me - while they looked amusing, they barely worked as pens even fresh out of the packaging. Disney will literally license to anyone, even someone who makes barely functioning pens. But then I should have already known that, considering all the Frozen kitchen towels I keep seeing around...


Wikipedia says that using a small version of a film poster while talking about said film can be classified as fair use. Please don't sue me, Disney! (The larger version originally comes from here.)

Anyway, I digress. The point is that a rising tide lifts all the boats, and with all this merchandise everywhere you don't really have to be a super-fan to maybe go: "Hm, Star Wars. I remember liking that at one point." And if you're a gamer, you might very well end up remembering that game called Star Wars: The Old Republic. I'm already seeing some of it around the blogosphere. Belghast has been writing about getting back into the game because of the general Star Wars feeling in the air, and other multi-MMO-bloggers like Syp or Telwyn have found themselves returning to SWTOR in anticipation of the new expansion.

I'm thinking that this should result in a healthy boost for the game's population, even without lots of marketing for SWTOR in particular, simply because Star Wars fans will be open to anything that gives them more of their favourite IP while they wait for the next film. I would really like it if EA was able to announce some really big milestone like "back to two million active players a month" as a result of this, just because they've been so cagey when it comes to talking about the game ever since its initial flop and I want to see it do well.

Of course the question is: Even if there's a spike of new and returning players caused by general Star Wars hype - how long will it last? I suppose waiting a month for the next story update might not seem so bad when you have to wait another one and a half years for Episode VIII, but not everyone might find themselves as enamoured with the universe of the Old Republic as they are with the events in the films.

Still, I'm really hoping that this will pull a whole bunch of new Star Wars fans in who may not even have tried the game before. I can't wait for people to say stuff like: "That Revan guy is a total Kylo Ren rip-off!"

10 comments :

  1. Ironically, the plot of the movies never particularly gripped me but I love the world of KOTOR/SWTOR so I'll probably eventually see the movies.

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    1. I don't find this that strange - after all, the Star Wars IP has grown to such proportions by now, it makes perfect sense that people might get in contact with it from different angles these days. :)

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  2. I still look at Kylo Ren and think REVAN!!!!!!!!

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    1. Something was mentioned in the film press recently that made me raise an eyebrow and go "really?" but as it may construe a minor spoiler and I don't know what your policy is, all I'm going to say is that it made me wonder how coincidental Kylo Ren's look is.

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    2. I prefer to avoid spoilers, so thanks for not posting any! Maybe we can discuss it all in detail once the film is out. ;) Either way I wouldn't be surprised if they allowed existing EU material to serve as inspiration for certain things!

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  3. I'm certainly looking forward to the film and to the expansion. Let's hope the game gets a nice boost from the hype machine around the sequel.

    Actually for a multi-game player like me the pace they're talking about could be perfect to keep me engaged for longer, I won't have the time to burn through new content that quickly and the regular releases will keep interest going like it did in GW2 and Rift for a time at least.

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    1. Regular content releases are never a bad thing, the question is whether they'll be meaty enough (also, what will we get aside from story as the months go by?) and if Bioware can actually maintain the pace they are currently aiming for.

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  4. The film is the only one I want to see this year. I grew up with Star Wars like when it first released and we stood in a line for 3 hours to see the most epic sci fi movie ever. As to the game, Ebon Hawk on US side has actually been a lot more quiet lately. Most are waiting for the Expac I'm guessing. Perhaps the film will bring some players in...but really I think it's the latest expansion that will draw the crowds, for awhile anyhow. Then when everyone has burned through content and geared themselves...it'll go quiet again. Ebb and Flow of the tides of commerce.

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  5. I'm definitely looking forward to the film (I'm trying not to get my hopes up too much, what with Episode I to III happening and all) and I'm welcoming all the Star Wars fan items! My only grudge is that they're all so expensive. All these nice items being sold and I'm not able to afford them, ugh.

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