Star Wars: The Old Republic beta sign-ups near 1.5 million

EA CFO says BioWare's sci-fi MMORPG has well over a million waiting to test the game; more info due during E3.

It would be an understatement to say that Electronic Arts would love to turn the massively multiplayer online role-playing genre on its head with Star Wars: The Old Republic. However, completely rewriting that landscape isn't a necessity for the BioWare Austin-developed sci-fi online game, as EA has said that the game could be "substantially profitable" with just 500,000 subscribers.

EA has more than a million volunteers willing to test lightsaber efficacy.

At the very least, EA has attracted that much interest from gamers wanting to try out SW:TOR for free. As part of the Lazard Capital Markets Technology & Media Day presentation yesterday, EA CFO Eric Brown said that nearly 1.5 million people have signed up to participate in SW:TOR's beta-testing phase.

"The next phase will be to expand the beta testing," Brown said. "Up until now, it's been the EA friends and family testing program. We need to expand the testing universe, make it more open. … The good news is that we have well over a million, closer to one and a half million people registered, opted-in, who are happy to step up and be beta testers. North of a million demand to do some free testing is a great indicator of the interest level in the franchise."

Brown did not indicate when BioWare would be opening up the next beta phase, sign-ups for which began in September 2009. However, he did offer a cursory look at the market as EA sees it, noting that the game has a potential audience of about 12 million.

"If you look at the Western world, so this is North America plus Europe only, we'd estimate there are about 12 million people or so playing one or more MMOs," he said. "Roughly half are playing World of Warcraft…so there's 12 million people to go after, 6 million of whom are playing one game and 6 million are playing a combination of other games. And then there's obviously an opportunity in Asia."

Brown went on to note that EA and BioWare would have more information on SW:TOR during the 2011 Electronic Entertainment Expo, which will take place June 7-9. Currently, EA expects to launch the PC MMORPG during the back half of 2011. For more information, check out GameSpot's previous coverage.

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Discussion

140 comments
cromen
cromen

Played the beta last weekend and phew. It was awesome! Im so glad that i pre-ordered it at the first chance i could. I played WoW when it was released but never got the thrills like ToR did. The game works very well imo. I had just few minor bugs but nothing big. Crashed once during the weekend and i havent got any lag. Best beta where i have been. I reconmend this game to everyone. Beats WoW for sure.

drag80
drag80

As a huge fan of the series I was disappointed when i first heard that this one would have been an MMO. After playing the beta, I must sadly confirm my initial disappointment. :((

njs72
njs72

Ive been playing the beta past couple of nights, so far it's been a great experience. After 5 years of wow I think it's finally time to switch.

Jshaw71
Jshaw71

any1 playing it yet? seems to be a good game, but i won;'t probobally pay to play it, sadly... just too broke too, and i usually can't stay focused in a online game to feel i get my moneys worth for a monthly connection fee, or any amount...

justicxprime
justicxprime

The game looks good. I really want to play it.

raptures330
raptures330

@Tezfest They start with a small group for many reasons. One of them is it is more manageable. Another is early betas are generally extremely buggy and a lot of people that want to beta test just want to play the game early, not really test anything. If they allowed these people to play a buggy game it could, and probably would, reflect negatively on the game later on. They would go on forums, other than the official ones for the purpose of feedback, to complain about how things are unbalanced and unfinished and "suck". @Albaficas Don't bet on it killing WoW. One of the biggest pulls to remain, for many people, in WoW is the community they play with. For WoW to die there would have to be a mass exodus of whole groups of friends and communities. @Ground_Zero The betas that I have participated in the people giving negative feedback that got banned were doing it: a) In the wrong place. AKA other forums than the official ones for the purpose. You do agree to an NDA and to stick to the official forums before you are allowed in (at least in my experience). b) Do it in a way that is hateful, immature, and useless. Not constructive or helpful. (EG: OMG This game sucks! The guns are all overpowered. Learn2balance noobs!) They also do it repeatedly even after being asked to relax. I have made it through all my betas without getting banned and negative feedback is half of what I do. The other half is pointing out things I think are ok. That said: I want in the D3 and TOR betas. Now.

Albaficas
Albaficas

R.I.P WoW finaly that one pixel game will be pwned by star wars....May the force be with us!!!!

chyng85
chyng85

A fantastic game ever~!

Ground_Zero
Ground_Zero

how many of these have got banned tho for giving negitive feedback towards the game?

-DaNuTz-
-DaNuTz-

I'm not feeling the force :o

adidas32x
adidas32x

@brunorr your logic is terrible kid

deathstream
deathstream

@Tezfest Betas almost always start out with a Friends and Family type beta before expanding to a public (closed) beta. You want to iron out the most egregious problems before letting larger numbers in, NDA or not.

ecw1983
ecw1983

This will be my first MMO :) Whats the bet, "Buy SW:TOR and get Stormtrooper armour for Mass Effect 3 !"

MuffintopX
MuffintopX

@Shadow_Fire41 Ever think of typing in 1993 instead of 1994? You wouldn't want to get in trouble tho!

Shadow_Fire41
Shadow_Fire41

i'd sign up for the beta, but ya gotta be 18.......which is really stupid considering im 17.......

warhawk-geeby
warhawk-geeby

@Bozanimal Good link. I never had a clue there were so many games! That's actually rather ridiculous. I didn't say allll Star Wars games though ;) haha. Just to cover my back..

Nemesis4747
Nemesis4747

anyone else think the hk droid sounds like yoda? just change the words "Maximum, prejudice is set"

brunorr
brunorr

@adidas32x lol at your comparison man. That was before 2004. How many EO clones existed at that time and how many WoW clones exist today? We are in 2011, look at how the mmo industry is saturated by the same old design..

candybar_65
candybar_65

@Red_Signal~ he said america and europe, then he said asia, you were included, don't feel left out, wouldn't want anyone killing themselves over a game, lol just kidding

gimousis
gimousis

Freakin lucky EA family and friends already have their hands on the beta! I guess it's as the saying goes: "It's all about who you know".

Lexxurious
Lexxurious

Great game, so it looks. The music made the video look epic. Lightsabers seem extra long.

Red_Signal
Red_Signal

There is America and Asia, yes - but what about us in Europe? I'll play Star Wars: TOR as well!!

Tezfest
Tezfest

I have been a huge fan of all Bioware games, not so much EA. To hear Beta testing for EA friends and family is so wrong. Open the Beta for the true gamers please!. I have faith in Bioware as the only thing wrong with KOTOR 1 & 2 was that they finished. TOR will make make me happy for years to come. Been waiting for beta for nearly 2 years now. I don't care if I get in, I just want it released already. Hopefully they announce a release date on June 7th...oh god please!!

packers91
packers91

@muzza93 they've been saying that about the wii for 5 years

muzza93
muzza93

Why havnt they made a lightsaber game for PS move? makes perfect sense

AlphaForceOne
AlphaForceOne

Look, Europe is commonly considered Western and has been considered part of the "western" world for hundreds of years....

JustPlainLucas
JustPlainLucas

@kenmanius You can already use USB keyboards and mice on consoles.

JustPlainLucas
JustPlainLucas

@bozanimal Yeah, it's totally a challenge. But look at Square-Enix. They got FFXI players playing together on PC, PS2, AND 360. Hell, you could even play FFXI online with your PS3. It's totally doable, but EA or BioWare just don't want to allocate the resources. It really sucks, because I want to play this game, but I WILL NOT shell out extra dough to get a gaming-capable laptop. Just not worth it.

JustPlainLucas
JustPlainLucas

@DeafN3ss89 As I said, FFXI worked just fine on the PS2 and 360. You CAN use USB keyboards on consoles, you know...

devinj
devinj

May the force continue through all the hype and actually deliver us a good game.

Flat_Line_____
Flat_Line_____

My app with specs has been uploaded to them for at LEAST a year. Patiently waiting to be approved... Had no idea the beta was just in a "family and friends" type status. Now that it is almost over, Let me in dangit! ...Plz? :P

Spahettificator
Spahettificator

@NColdhardt "*Points to world map* Europe is west of the Atlantic. Africa is more eastern than Europe." I'd advise you to have another look at that map. Geographically, Europe is in the centre (most likely because the layout of modern maps was created during the time when the Britaine was the most powerful nation in the world and we wanted to be in the centre), Africa directly below, Asia to the East, Oceania to the South East and the Americas to the West. Usually when people use the term "the west" or "the western world" in a news or political definition they are referring not to the geographical layout of the planet but to the two halves created during the Cold War after the Berlin Wall was built. On the "East" was Russia, East Germany, China, Vietnam, Cuba etc. and the "west" was USA, Britain, France, Australia, West Germany etc. So really the modern usage takes Berlin as the centre to decide whether or not something is in "the west"

DeepLugiaX
DeepLugiaX

the best thing for this game, would be to stay away from WoW get a playerbase ..

packers91
packers91

Also if the game will be substantially profitable with 500,000 people can I play for free after they all sign up?

packers91
packers91

@NColdhardt I think you mean the Atlantic is West of Europe, because I live West of the Atlantic, and I am not in Europe edit: lol he changed it so he sounds less retarded

Barighm
Barighm

@kenmanius Apparently you can plug any USB keyboard or mouse into a 360 these days. Probably something for PS3 and Wii too. As for everything else said around here...it's very likely this game will get millions of players and there will be no need for a console version-but KotoR 3 will become more likely, I don't like the Clone Wars graphical style either and nobody else does so I wonder why they went with it, and I don't know why people think this is just another WoW/Everquest clone because this game is doing a lot of things very differently (ie. no mats gathering; your followers do that for you).

pidow
pidow

May the force be with us all.

NColdhardt
NColdhardt

@AlphaForceOne: *Points to world map* Europe is east of the Atlantic. Africa is more eastern than Europe.

smiseck
smiseck

i see people are still having problems with the graphics looking cartoon'ish. but these people are the ones prob. playing WoW. i dont care if the graphics look cartoony as long as the game gets me hooked. im very bored of WoW, im way more into star wars anyway. i just hope it will do good. ive tried new MMO's and to me they are boring and weak. so hopefully once i have a lightsaber in my characters hand i will finally be done with WoW.

Bozanimal
Bozanimal

The cinematics have been hands-down amazing. The gameplay, however, remains to be seen. Last I read it was a traditional tank/dps/healer structure, which begs the question: Innovative new MMO or WoW in a galaxy far, far away? We'll find out soon enough; it's easy to be interested in "free." @JustPlainLucas Not sure why you were downrated: EA AND it was effective, it would be wildly successful. There are plenty of console owners I would love to play with given the opportunity! However, we live in reality, not mythical fantasy tralalalala land. That's where Mel Gibson lives. ;) @warhawk-geeby Star Wars games are all quality stuff? Yoda Stories wants a word with you! Though I love me some Star Wars, there have probably been more misses than hits for the genre.

kenmanius
kenmanius

My guess for release date is spring 2012. For a first mmo, it's gonna need lots fine tuning from a lot of Bioware people.

kenmanius
kenmanius

Why don't they just make a usb keyboard and mouse for consoles? Boom. Problem solved.

chaoscontrol489
chaoscontrol489

My wife is due in August. hhmmm, wonder if Bioware would accept my first born for a guarenteed Beta invite??

Ricnic67
Ricnic67

Hope the subscription fee for this isn't that much, as this looks awesome.

01-cannon-mpc
01-cannon-mpc

@darthslim108 BioWare "only" needs 500K subscribers. So thay arent realy straning or anything like that on here resources. Both EA and BioWare together have enough money to make this work one way or another. And IF thay launched this for the consols then there whould be alot more peopel who dont or cant aford a good PC or prefer consols to get into the game. But right now im just happy with any type of SW:TOR update big or small. Im enjoying thos holo records of SW:TOR alot. =)

djwood84
djwood84

Reality check: This is a new MMO. If history has taught us anything, its that most MMO's fail to live up to our expectations. Do I hope this one is different? Yes. Am I going to get my hopes up yet again? No. There's plenty to be excited about, but just as much to worry about as well. PS If they don't start Beta before August I find a 2011 release date unlikely.

valcrist09
valcrist09

still worries me that the game will make a ton of profit at just 500,000 subscribers, just curious how much content is actually being put into the game. So far the game has sounded totally disappointing to me, terrible character modeling, lame cartoon graphics when it should be more serious and dark approach to starwars. Just looks like yet another MMO trying to copy wow and take advantage of it being starwars when they should of tried to go for a awhole new IP experience.