Star Wars: The Old Republic now due spring 2011, EA lowers outlook

[UPDATE 3] Slow holiday sales force publisher to reduce earnings forecast; BioWare confirms sci-fi MMORPG won't arrive until early next year; Sims' return to consoles and "innovative new take on Madden" due out this year.

by

Much like it did in 2009, Electronic Arts began the New Year with some disappointing news. Today after trading ended on the New York markets, the publisher announced it was lowering its earnings estimates for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2010. The Redwood City, California-based company now expects net revenue between $3.6 billion and $3.675 billion for the year, down from the previously forecast range of $3.6 billion to $3.9 billion. It now anticipates per share losses between $1.94 and $2.24, up from a range of $1.20 to $2.05.

EA did not have a happy holiday season, apparently.

"Revised fiscal year 2010 expectations are primarily the result of weakness for EA and the overall packaged goods sector in Europe in December, and a product mix shift to lower margin distribution products in the December quarter, primarily in North America," the company said in a statement.

For the October-December quarter, the company now expects losses of between $0.24 to $0.32 per share on revenues of $1.227 billion to $1.247 billion. During the period, EA had several high-profile releases, such as FIFA Soccer 10, BioWare's Dragon Age: Origins, and The Saboteur, the last game from Pandemic Studios before most of its staff was laid off. The company also published Valve Software's Left 4 Dead 2 under its EA Partners program.

[UPDATE] "We had anticipated roughly flat year over year sales in Europe…but packaged sales were down up to 50 percent in some regions," EA CFO Eric Good told analysts in the conference call. He said digital sales were above expectations, but not enough to offset lowered packaged-goods sales.

EA CEO John Riccitiello said EA's core strategy was sound and progress has been made on cutting costs, increasing profit, and bringing back the quality of owned game properties. However, he did concede that company management had "been surprised" by the impact of increased digital sales and the global recession.

Looking ahead, the executive called out five titles he expected to be major sellers in the current quarter: Army of Two: The 40th Day (January 12), Mass Effect 2 (January 26), Dante's Inferno (February 9), Battlefield: Bad Company 2 (March 2), and Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight (March 16).

Riccitiello also said that the company is planning to launch "our major new MMO"--presumably BioWare Austin's Star Wars: The Old Republic--in "spring 2011." It was unclear if he meant calendar year 2011, or EA's 2011 fiscal year, which ends on March 31, 2011.

BioWare has confirmedStar Wars: The Old Republic won't arrive until spring 2011.

[UPDATE 2] When asked if Riccitiello was talking about SW: TOR, an EA rep would only offer the following statement: "No further comment beyond what John said. This wasn't a comment about a specific franchise, but a notation on how we are building a plan and guidance for the next fiscal year."

Another possibility is that Riccitiello was referring to APB, the massively multiplayer shooter from Grand Theft Auto creator Dave Jones' studio, Realtime Worlds, due out this March. The executive also teased several other FY2011 highlights, including "a great new Medal of Honor…Sims on consoles…and an innovative new take on Madden."

[UPDATE 3] BioWare has now confirmed that Star Wars: The Old Republic will not launch until early next year. "While we have not announced a specific date, we can confirm that we are targeting a spring 2011 release for Star Wars: The Old Republic," said BioWare Austin community manager Sean Dahlberg in a forum post. Dahlberg promised numerous updates on the game in 2010, as well as a beta-testing program. Those who wish to apply to be testers can sign up at www.swtor.com/tester.

Though EA shares ended the day down just $0.13 in regular trading, after-hours traders reacted swiftly--and negatively. A half hour before EA executives held a 2 p.m. PST conference call with analysts, the company's stock had fallen more than $1.70 per share--over 9 percent of its value.

Today's announcement is the latest bad news to emerge from the former top third-party publisher. In November, EA announced the layoffs of 1,500 employees, roughly 17 percent of the company's workforce, and the cancellation of over "a dozen" games. That move came less than a year after the publisher's previous major restructuring, in which it cut 1,000 employees from its global payroll.

Discussion

252 comments
Nodashi
Nodashi

The problem with EA is that they make the distribution of way too many games, and digital distribution is killing them. Should they stick to their high profile games and focus on publishing A+++ games for GAMES (and not overcommiting to trends like rythm games and other casual games - responsible for many of the losses in the game market in 2009 - EA has an unusual number of casual titles, starting by The Sims), they should do well - they succeeded to own some of the most valued and loved francises of the last years, including Mass Effect and Dragon Age - and yes, they should take good care of Bioware, it's their golden chicken nowadays.

rico78945
rico78945

i hate getting excited for a game and then it gets pushed back again and again

Dlions34
Dlions34

i agree with vengfulone....they should have just made Kotor 3.....they just kinda left the story off .....i'm not a big mmo fan....i love bioware's take on gaming just hope that they maybe come out with TOR as a single player or something!!

Ladiesman17
Ladiesman17

Star Wars The Old Republic MMO need to be like World Of Warcraft, I was quite surprised to see Blizzard financial income data, just for World Of Warcraft, matching the entire sales of all X360 games during the years 2007 until "middle" 2009. that was F### amaziiiiing!!!

tfcpsycho
tfcpsycho

BC2 should help the money problems i hope ...hell its now my favorite game ! i had bc2 on ps3 before dec and pc now, its so addicting on ps3 i collected over 300+ dog tags! and unlocked all the goodies..... TELL UR FRIENDS

madmoose7
madmoose7

gah,another year of waiting. well gives me more time to build a better gaming pc

Darkmoone1
Darkmoone1

Go BIOWARE!!!! Suceed where SWG failed!!

claykenobi
claykenobi

@ VengfulOne- I agree 1000%. It's a slap in the face to all the fans that made the first two a couple of the highest console game sellers of all time. Not cool, BIASWARE!

Ginnnnnnn
Ginnnnnnn

@VendfulOne yeah I was pretty disappointed when i heard they wouldn't be making a KoTOR 3, specially after so much talk and rumors around it... But perhaps, after the huge success the other KoTOR's had, they'll pick the important parts out of them and place them in this MMO... Let's just hope they do it right...

VengfulOne
VengfulOne

Anyone else wish they had just made KotOR 3? The first two were so much fun (especially the first) that I just want to play another single player one. And we probably wouldn't be waiting until 2025 to play it.

MooncalfReviews
MooncalfReviews

@UnknownSniper65 It depends on what you find more enjoyable, consoles or point and click PC style. The reviewer evidently favors the latter.

ChamomileBaths
ChamomileBaths

Good if there's one genre that I'm okay with seeing delayed it's MMOs. I need some breathing room before I spend all my game hours on something like this.... But I need a good battle system I hope this is tactile enough for me.

lightwarrior179
lightwarrior179

TOR's delay is a bit disappointing but I am sure it will work out for the ultimate benefit of the game.

BrolyLSSJ3
BrolyLSSJ3

Jshaw71 saber combat hasn't ever been done right? i reccoment Stars Jedi Knight 2: Jedi Outcast play that game and you think differently

Jshaw71
Jshaw71

sounds like a mixed bag this year for ea, when was the star was mmo supposed to be out? sims on consoles is good, hopefully it's sims 3, I'd love it to have the direct control like sims 2 on the consoles did... the star wars mmo has me kinda interested, but lightsaber combat can't ever be done right, ever, really, even with motion control, but that's just me...

Titoforu
Titoforu

wowza..the more a hear about APB the more satisfying the games going to be but also torture it is because i cant play it right now.lol,however I certainly hope that soon after the PC launch they will figure out a release date for the consoles...hopefully this console portation wont take a year to do like as in they finish it in 5 6 months if that however looks like everybody's going to have fun with this to looks like they are going to do multiplatform which is very re leaving for those that don't have one or the other system or vise versa.

LosDaddie
LosDaddie

Makes sense for EA to do this

megadisc
megadisc

i've been waiting for this

videlsports
videlsports

Bio ware has proven itself time and time again, I know it will come through, plenty of games to have between then though.

Shinkada
Shinkada

So let me get this straight. EA spends years making nothing but sports games that do nothing every year than update the rosters. They're one of the single worst game companies in the world, and because of this, they're one of the TOP game companies in the world, pushing profits from millions of people who actually care about rosters. In an unexpected move, possibly because they now have enough money to buy a small country, EA decides to actually contribute to gaming. They start making interesting, experimental and risky games, or at least games in normal genres with new and interesting concepts, like Mirror's Edge, Dante's Inferno and Dead Space, and for their efforts... They go broke. I wish I could be surprised.

zaphodbblbrox
zaphodbblbrox

Serious bummer, I trust Bioware though, I know the game will be good. Side note: anyone else getting tired of f&$&ing layoffs? We're all being pushed into these low-end low-pay jobs. Now I can't even quit my crappy job and play SWTOR all day long! sigh

DerekLee688
DerekLee688

Eh, there is alot of money riding on a bug free launch. Age of Conan proved that. Can't blame Bioware for being fiscaly responsable and preserving their RPG reputation.

Knuckln_Futz
Knuckln_Futz

Damn...sucks. Though at least they're making a more polished game.

cyberdreamer
cyberdreamer

they more they work.................the better we can expect it...........?

eoj
eoj

I think what will ease the pain of not getting the game this year is if bioware does what ncsoft did with aion and have numerous close beta testing . At least people would be able to play the game this year. Then people can start forming their guilds and living out their star war fantasy.

PvtFreddy
PvtFreddy

There are two ways of looking at this: 1. Bioware could keep the 2010 date and bring you a game half done, but please anyone that was once a SWG fan or player, do you really want to go back to the days when a MMO of Star Wars was released half done? or 2. You can wait for the 2011, have Bioware complete the game so that it is seriously playable and you'll have a blast at it and want to keep coming back. So, its a choice between raging on the forums after buying the game that X doesn't work and this quest is broken, or just wait and get a better game.

eoj
eoj

So are they not coming out with the this year because of EA problems? EA has nothing to do with this game. Boiware Austin is making the game and Lucas Arts is publishing the game. If anything EA needs bioware to come out with the game this year since they are having some much financial problems. Ea would not be in this mess if they were not trying to buy every damn game studio, basically trying to have a monopoly on the game industry. They wanting to have their on Sith empire and it has back fired in their face.

Punkz7
Punkz7

whyyyy man!!! I got my hopes up for mid this year... STUPID BIOWARE!!!

nav_auron
nav_auron

Glad about a release date. Wasn't expecting that date, but it's good they'll get even more time to work on it.

blackfray
blackfray

I really don't get it that why Activison Blizzard with just a bunch of great games like WOW and COD and Guitar Hero always gets high profits but EA with such a variety of great games(not that i am a EA lover) always has financial problems! if you get it plz tell me.

firehawk998
firehawk998

damn I want to personally try this game myself. I hope this game does well and be a serious competitor to WOW.

rljensen3
rljensen3

How long do we have to suffer. Bioware needs to get a move on. Geez

buffdaddy69
buffdaddy69

@airshocker "Posted Jan 12, 2010 11:40 pm GMT Being in development and being announced aren't one in the same. Don't try and patronize me if you can't even realize that." Umm. What do most game developers do after a game is just announced? Oh yeah! They start developing it!

buffdaddy69
buffdaddy69

@ airshocker 20011 is too quick? the damn games been in development for 3-4 years.

buffdaddy69
buffdaddy69

*sigh* thats beat. Im not trying to go back to WoW.

UnknownSniper65
UnknownSniper65

@MooncalfReviews Dragon Age: Origins was not more enjoyable on the consoles at all...The PC version was better than its console counter parts and the score reflected that.

Im_single
Im_single

It would be dumb to release around WoW: Cataclysm, smart on their part for the Spring 2011 date, people will probably be bored with Cataclysm by then and will be looking for a new MMO.

Twin-Blade
Twin-Blade

Good. I love Bioware, love KotoR but I also love WoW. I want this to do better but WoW controls the mmo market at the moment. They should release it when WoW is at it's weakest point, when the next expansion has been out for awhile & another hasn't been announced. That's when the player base will be more inclined to try something else out.

IgotEpixx
IgotEpixx

No suprise at all. Didn't they even say it wasn't expected till 2011 anyway?

Gabe447
Gabe447

Look's like im sticking with lotro for another yr..... :(

airshocker
airshocker

@IkedaTeramusa I know. What point are you trying to make?

IkedaTeramusa
IkedaTeramusa

@Airshocker - FFXI was released on the 360. Overall it was meh.

nickythenewt21
nickythenewt21

Goddammit...KotOR is one of my favorite games ever...

Sniper_Wolf25
Sniper_Wolf25

NOTHING WILL BE BETTER THAN MASS EFFECT 2!!!!! ...except mass effect 3