Next month MMO fans will get their first opportunity to log-in to the brand new Star Wars: The Old Republic universe. EA’s goal is simple with the upcoming MMO, they want to take a bite out of the World of Warcraft subscriber base, and convert WoW faithful to the “dark side” so to speak. Recently, Activision CEO Bobby Kotick spoke on the economics that EA is facing with the MMO, and casts doubt on the publisher’s ability to turn a profit in the highly competitive space.
“If you look at the history of people investing in an MMO and achieving success, it’s a small number,” Kotick said at Reuters Media Summit. “Lucas is going to be the principle beneficiary of the success of Star Wars… so I don’t really understand how the economics work for Electronic Arts.”
While analysts took a while to warm up to the MMO, early estimates from industry veterans signaled a rough road for the MMO. As the game has been shown to the public at trade shows, and more recently in the invitation-only weekend beta testing, the bean counters have begun to up their guesses as to the number of subscribers EA could gouge from Activision-Blizzard. Last week, one analyst from Lazard Capital Markets put an early estimate of 1.6 million players that could convert, with the possibility of up to 4 million players picking up SWTOR to supplement their MMO habits.
It’s still too early to tell how Star Wars: The Old Republic will fair in the eyes of critics, but even in the beta stage, you can tell that the millions of dollars and years of development time invested in the MMO were well spent from a quality standpoint.
Star Wars: The Old Republic launches on December 20th.