Electronic Arts' long-awaited massively multiplayer online role-playing game Star Wars: The Old Republic shipped in late December and quickly grabbed over 1 million registered users. And according to Baird Equity Research analyst Colin Sebastian, peak player usage figures for the game stand at around 350,000.
"We view the early success of Star Wars as an indication of a healthy MMO market," Sebastian said. "While there is likely some shifting of usage from [Activision's] World of Warcraft, we see a viable market for multiple million-user MMOs in the US and Europe. With more than 1 million registered online users, we see roughly one-third (or roughly 350K) representing peak concurrent usage."
The figure represents players in North America and Europe only. Baird also said that he expects Star Wars: The Old Republic will sell 3 million copies by March 2012. However, Baird does not believe Star Wars: The Old Republic will amass 1.5 to 2 million paid subscribers by the end of 2012, a figure he described as "too optimistic."
Star Wars: The Old Republic is BioWare's first MMORPG, but it is not the developer's first experience working with George Lucas' sci-fi franchise. It helped establish The Old Republic setting--several thousand years before the events in the original Star Wars film trilogy--with the 2003 Xbox and PC role-playing game Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.
For more on Star Wars: The Old Republic, check out GameSpot's video series documenting the just-launched MMORPG.