Kotick skeptical of Star Wars: The Old Republic

Activision Blizzard CEO questions how much money sci-fi MMORPG will make for EA, suggests LucasArts licensing terms likely too slanted to pay off for rival publisher.

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In the run-up to the releases of rival first-person shooters Battlefield 3 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Electronic Arts executives pulled few punches, openly expressing the desire to see Activision Blizzard's hugely successful series "rot from the core." Activision Publishing's CEO responded with a public plea for civility, which was roundly mocked by EA.

Kotick questions the profitability of The Old Republic after George Lucas gets his cut.
Kotick questions the profitability of The Old Republic after George Lucas gets his cut.

With EA's Star Wars: The Old Republic attempting to steal some of the massively multiplayer online role-playing game market from World of Warcraft when it launches next month, Activision Blizzard may be taking a more aggressive stance in protecting its turf. News agency Reuters reports that during its own media summit on Monday, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick directly acknowledged EA's Star Wars game long enough to brush aside suggestions that it could take subscribers from World of Warcraft. He also expressed doubt about EA's ability to make money on the project at all, given the rights agreement needed to work with George Lucas' iconic sci-fi license.

"Lucas is going to be the principal beneficiary of the success of Star Wars," Kotick said. "We've been in business with Lucas for a long time and the economics will always accrue to the benefit of Lucas, so I don't really understand how the economics work for Electronic Arts."

Activision has distributed LucasArts titles in Europe, Southeast Asia, and Australia for years, including Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, the Lego Star Wars series, and Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

In February, EA CEO John Riccitiello said that Star Wars: The Old Republic would be "substantially profitable" with 500,000 subscribers. Analysts are predicting The Old Republic will sell millions of copies, with one group in August saying the subscriber number could hit 2 million in the game's first year on shelves. Meanwhile, Blizzard Entertainment's World of Warcraft has seen a steep 10 percent drop in subscribers over the past six months.

For more on Electronic Arts' upcoming MMORPG, check out GameSpot's previous coverage of Star Wars: The Old Republic.

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