EA to cap Star Wars: The Old Republic sales

Publisher says it will limit the number of retail, digital copies for upcoming MMORPG to ensure server stability at launch.

The success of a massively multiplayer online role-playing game is commonly measured by how quickly it can gain a bustling population and how many players it has compared to genre kingpin World of Warcraft. However, Electronic Arts appears to be opting out of that race with Star Wars: The Old Republic.

EA has ways of dealing with…consumers.

As reported by Game Informer, EA said today that it will be limiting the number of Star Wars: The Old Republic copies that will be available at launch, through both retail and digital channels. EA reportedly made this decision so as to ensure server stability when the game goes live later this year.

The publisher went on to note that while it has already established what the exact number of copies sold will be, it will not be announcing that figure. If and when that sales figure is reached, the publisher plans to cease digital sales while it expands server capacity. Once the player load can be accommodated, EA will resume game sales.

Electronic Arts said in February that The Old Republic would be "substantially profitable" with just 500,000 subscribers, with anything above 1 million monthly users making the game "very profitable." Analysts have pegged the game's opening sales at anywhere from 1 million to 3 million units.

For more on Star Wars: The Old Republic, check out GameSpot's new impressions from Gamescom 2011.

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181 comments
Maverisk
Maverisk

Si what happens to the people outside those 22 country's, when will we get the chance to play?! I'm from Romania and we are not on those 22 country's apparently. However I have preordered the game from an outside source will I play on the 22 or a kind of IP BAN will be in effect?!

reptar707
reptar707

It all comes down to this, EA is a corporation, and their main goal is to make as much money as possible. By limiting the initial sales amount of the game they are making the demand greater, while still generating more buzz off of the people that are playing the game. Which in the long run will make them more money because more people will want the game. Its really a very smart and effective plan.

SkylerX
SkylerX

LOL to this story. Such heinous lies. EA to turn down people's money? I am going to excuse myself while I go check for the rapture, because it will happen before EA actually does this.

SDSkarface
SDSkarface

This is a type of move designed to pad preorder numbers with false stats, matter of fact its forcing gamers to preorder in order to be guaranteed a spot on the server what a bone headed move by EA. And as far as EA saying they only need 500k subs to be profitable i have no doubt thats probably true because they certainly cheaped out on the graphics is that even dx 10??

KrazzyDJ
KrazzyDJ

And when the game does release, EA will cease to cap sales. The reason - sales figures expected have not reached !!!

Akustyx
Akustyx

@Spartan_418 It works, too. For an instant I wanted to pre-order, before I thought I for a moment and realized that's the only reason they ever released this statement. I'd be surprised if they actually cap sales.

Spartan_418
Spartan_418

This is merely a placebo, intended to make people think that there is some kind of "shortage" of the game, in order to increase sales. There's no reason a company as massive as EA couldn't set up a network infrastructure sufficient to accommodate 5 or even 10 million players.

Hikiera
Hikiera

Anyone notice that they arent giving a figure to how much the cap will be? "3 million is the cap I swear...oops we actually sold more but we pegged it at 3 million" I dont believe EA is incapable of setting up a server as large as one that hosts for example WOW, I do believe they can convince the market to WANT to buy the game by incinuating they need to limit members. I also believe on the other hand that as a corp you can cover your investments by investing less into server size in case the game doesnt pick up in the community and grow it later if the interest doesnt fade.

Thunderstarter
Thunderstarter

Also, this is in fact a very good marketing strategy. I refuse to believe that Nintendo could only ship 100,000 Wii units/shipment for Holiday 2009. It creates substantial buzz that got the big N loads of cash. I wouldn't be surprised if EA profited largely from this.

Thunderstarter
Thunderstarter

@brianpoetzel: Actually, if you want a copy at launch I suggest you pre-order because it WILL be guaranteed. The article said EA will cease production/digital sales when they reach sales capacity, and they are starting that count now. If you pre-order a copy they add that to their number of games sold, meaning you'll be one of the people that are able to access it on day one. If you don't pre-order a copy you won't have a 100% chance of access when you want it. Plus, if you preorder from Gamestop, you get full early access to the game before it comes out for free. You have nothing to lose by preordering :) Honestly, to me this sounds like a marketing strategy. Release 750,000 copies, stop production. Let people tell their friends about it, have those friends look for a copy and not find one, then have those friends tell their friends...etc. Eventually when they continue production it would be like a second launch.

Unholy123
Unholy123

Really ask yourself whats sadder the fact they would admit. "Yes were a multi-million dollar corp but setting up a large enough server base to handle the launch is just beyond our tech ability..." or the fact we know its a blatent attempt to limit supply and ramp up demand...

winnazdaluza
winnazdaluza

it's a good idea, wow starting zones were unplayable for 2 days after it's cataclysm launch ....and that was their third xpac so they have had experience.For EA launching an mmo this highly anticipated will warrant some caution on their end.

runnermpls
runnermpls

I call BS on this as well. By saying there will only be a certain number of available accounts at launch, they will get more pre-orders and can then say they have the "largest pre-order population EVER!" Believe me, if they "cap" sales at 1MM and then actually sell 1MM games, they will immediately open up sales for the next 1MM with no downtime whatsoever. It will be an opportunity for another "announcement" about how quickly they were able to respond to player base needs. BS, BS, BS.

bub166
bub166

EA has a bad reputation with their servers at a game launch. BF1943, a simple downloadable title, was unplayable for some for about a week after launch. For those who actually got in, it lagged pretty badly. I remember this was a problem on BFBC2 as well. This is probably a good move, with their crappy servers, and I wouldn't be surprised if they started doing it more. Though honestly, the beter solution: Get better servers!

Gen-Gawl
Gen-Gawl

Well, i guess it's a good move. i was part of those Looooong queues and it's really not fun. however, i was going to preorder. now tho, i'm not because it's not guaranteed. i'll be damned if i preorder a game and then not be able to play it until space opens up.

Hakkology
Hakkology

They don't even let you preorder in many countries...

Icehearted
Icehearted

Transparent attempt to generate buzz? Transparent attempt to generate buzz. I don't know if I should be amused they'd try this on us, or offended they'd try this on us.

awetzel
awetzel

LOL, SURE!!! They just want you to buy preorder. Im tired of getting burned preorder and will take my chances waiting.

LtReviews
LtReviews

This is not a good announcement, considering how EA is desperately trying to earn back trust in their ability to handle their new digital distribution service, "Origin", which they are touting with exclusives, and taking games of Steam for. Really, EA, don't force us onto your services, and then limit sales out of worry your services are too crappy to handle the sales.

simon1812
simon1812

I think they r just being pansy @sses by deciding to play it safe, and it shows lack of faith in their product if you ask me. but still ,what exactly is at stake if EA decided to set up their servers considering a super optimistic first-day-sales scenario?

Daian
Daian

@holtrocks @Dragdar Indeed, high possibility of being a marketing scheme but it may also be a real measure, look at Sims Social, the servers couldn't handle all the players and it's unplayable at the moment in some countries until they supposedly fix it by morning.

Dragdar
Dragdar

It's a marketing scheme; say the product quantity is limited, so demand would go up

why9090909090
why9090909090

That's a big window. 1million-3million. At least the game will be more than twice as profitable than they need to be kept afloat. Heres to no-lifing with SWTOR!

holtrocks
holtrocks

I understand this it makes sense ok ppl if everyone gets it at once and the servers crash you won't be able to play anyway so just wait a week then you can play it.

Hillsy_
Hillsy_

I agree, Just an advertising scheme made to get people to buy the game on release. EA are too greedy not to produce more of the said game. Why did EA even mention the limited numbers if not to get attention for the game and to retain a larger profit. It is not about the games anymore, more a lesson of how to market and advertise a game.

Unholy123
Unholy123

Honestly if you believe that EA cannot set up a large enough server base to handle an MMO launch you will believe the sky is not blue... they *could* do it but ramping up sales by making their product a limited commodity is easier and frankly will work... gamers will line up around corners to play something if for the sheer fact they can say they did while you can't... not really the nicest bunch of people most gamers :p

tachsniper
tachsniper

Rift in it's opening weeks had 4+ hour server queues, resulting in 100's if not 1000's of canceled accounts. Simply people do not like waiting, if they cant play it at launch they will move on and not look back. Limiting sales is a sorry excuse for not building a large stable network. EA knows the hype so they should plan accordingly, not wuss out by limiting sales.

airshocker
airshocker

@kokonut1971 Sith Lord is only a title, not a class. Before you bash a game, perhaps you should learn a little bit about it.

Unholy123
Unholy123

HAHAHAHA wow thats hilarous what a bunch of croc about server stability. It's simply EA figuring the best way to make their MMO popular and wanted by saying its going to be limited... theres nothing gamers want more then something others can't have remember the PS2? people went nuts to get it when they found out there would be limited numbers.

kokonut1971
kokonut1971

all this hype and interviews given about the game and still no release date in sight...you have to wonder when this game is gonna be complete...anyways ti is gonna be filled only with sith lords as everyone wants to be bad a$$ in the game...there's your unbalanced game right there!

schesak
schesak

This a good thing, it will allow word of mouth to get to people who get locked out so they know not to buy it once sales are "unlocked" again. If more mmo's would do this alot of us would save money!

nyran125
nyran125

so all you guys getting this to waste another 5 years on rubbish 3D generated items stacking and pawning off and grinding just because its made by bioware? If someone said "would you like to play Mass Effect or an MMOrpg?" i would choose mass effect and SKYRIM, the witcher 2 and bulders gate,, even friggin diablo 3 every single time. because they have leveleing up but the levelin gup isnt just a number and a bunch of weapons, its purely designed to get you through to the end, so it ENDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So i get to enjoy other games instead of being locked in a world where the only objective is to show your mates whos got the biggest sword that has +20 attack after 5000 hours of playing. My god THAT is what made BORDERLANDS boring after 10-20 hours. But at least that 10-20 hours was a fun ride.

AvnKnight
AvnKnight

This is exactly why that Kinect star wars game is gonna be way better.

Punizher
Punizher

this story sounds like bs to me its all about a marketing tactics they just want ppl to panic and pre order so they maybe beat sales, for the most sold game at launch or something like that. why would a game that costs so much would limit the amount of copies they sale? this is EA after all they dont care less, its all about the $$$

Elem3nt
Elem3nt

Meh, I'll just wait for it to come out anyways. Im done buying new mmo's that quickly show their colors.

jamescalise
jamescalise

Gah. I can't choose between this or Guild Wars 2. Most likely, it'll be Guild Wars 2...

packers91
packers91

@CarlitosWay I'm going to play games that don't cost $15 a month while waiting for GW2, then when it comes out, I will continue to not pay $15 a month

GamerJedi29
GamerJedi29

@Hakkology The reason DA2 wasnt good was because it was rushed, and thats EA's fault they wanted it released ASAP. But with the old republic EA is allowing Bioware to make an amazing game and not rush it.

JLCrogue
JLCrogue

This may be just a marketing ploy, but it gives me all the more reason to pre-order the game (early access already convinced me).

Galidou
Galidou

I really hope this is a VERY fun and exciting MMORPG because in the case it's not, I think it will be then end of my online rpg career. Then I will rely on Skyrim and Diablo 3 and if they are not as good as I hope they will be, end of my gaming career on new games.....

johnrayjr
johnrayjr

This is actually a smart decision. Any new Star Wars MMO will crash the infrastructure on week one unless they take a measured approach. It's not like anyone will have to wait for long. Would you rather be a customer during a week of constant outages and server problems, or purchase the game a week later when the infrastructure is already in place. This is one case where EA knows what it's doing. Unlike the BF3-Steam nonsense...

Treker1
Treker1

Reverse psychology not too different from "for a limited time only" or "now, only while stocks last" sales pitches we see on pasted on shop windows designed to boost sales not to limit it. Guilds, for example, will encourage members to buy asap so no one gets left behind - who knows whether they will be even allowed on the same server when sales be re-open or be forced onto designated new/low-pop ones etc. Even on the exit side, it's "clever" to release sales in waves rather than in one gob. Since, as a result, people will be on different 'staggered' expiry dates for their free month, all the people that do not extend will not all be leaving at the same time. Dramatic sudden falls cause a snowball effect in mmos- from bad publicity to illiquid auction houses - that are hard to reverse (as AoC and WAR found out). Not 'alturism' just a sales strategy.

demonic_85
demonic_85

Or maybe they could stop penny pinching to increase their profits and actually invest in more servers to fulfill demand.

s4dn3s5
s4dn3s5

so EA, your marketing division told ya this is a great way to boost hype? IT ISN'T.

Hakkology
Hakkology

Dear EA/Bioware. I have waited patiently as you create the ultimate mmorpg and devastate the mmorpg world, hopefully stealing wow's throne. However, with this decision you have lost me and many other "enthusiastic" players waiting anxiously for your game. The choice between GW2 and SWTOR has always been a tough call, and i am certain that i would choose GW2 without hesitation. After the ultimate Dragon Age2 failure and now this... I truly hope that you get your senses back and do something to repair this situation otherwise, good luck in your future endeavours.

ah20s
ah20s

Yea its a good idea as long as I get a copy before they do that ahah. Man though... I can't help but to think how much this looks like WoW I mean I understand its still a MMO so course its going to 'look' like it I just hope they don't make it unbalanced after it's been out for awhile i.e. making gear in WoLK raids useless after you gain another level for the next expansion...

jamyskis
jamyskis

As much as I want to chew into EA for this, I have to admit it's a wise decision. The way most major MMO launches have been run has been akin to running a concert without a limit on the number of tickets - with the resultant stampede and chaos. Setting a limit on the amount of initial players will mean that everyone who has paid will get into the game. Sucks for those that can't buy the game at launch, but at least you know that if you can't buy it, you would have been frustrated trying to get online anyway.

elkornu
elkornu

oh yea cant wait this is gonna destroy all other mmos