Star Wars: The Old Republic should launch this year - EA

BioWare's sci-fi MMORPG should launch between July and December, says EA Games president; EA CFO says there's an "outside" chance for further delay.

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Today, EA Games president Frank Gibeau teased the debut of Star Wars: The Old Republic. The executive called the sci-fi massively multiplayer online role-playing game's launch the "biggest event of the year," and EA's earnings report said the game is "scheduled to launch in the second half of calendar 2011."

The Old Republic should launch between July and December…but there's an
The Old Republic should launch between July and December…but there's an "outside" chance it could launch in the January quarter.

While Gibeau seemed confident, some of his fellow executives were less so. "Although we fully anticipate launching Star Wars: The Old Republic [between July and December], the low end of our guidance range assumes the outside possibility of a January [quarter] launch," said CFO Eric Brown. (Emphasis added.) Out of caution, EA's fiscal year 2012 release calendar doesn't list the game at all.

In his comments, Gibeau wouldn't reveal the MMORPG's exact launch date. He said the reason for that was twofold. First, EA doesn't want to "tip off the competition," a thinly veiled reference to Blizzard Entertainment, which develops and publishes World of Warcraft. Second, he said that developer BioWare Austin wanted more data from the game's beta, which EA expects will have 1 million participants, since 1.5 million people have already signed up. EA has said once released, The Old Republic only needs 500,000 subscribers to turn a profit, although analysts are predicting it should have at least 1 million subscribers out of the gate.

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