February 1. was a big date for EA shareholders because that was the day when Electronic Arts Q3 2011 Earnings Conference Call was held and EA CEO John Riccitiello and CFO Eric Brown gave reports on how the past quarter went and what can be expected in the upcoming period. Among other things The Old Republic was discussed. TOR fans were expecting to maybe hear a more precise estimate of the release date in the form of we are expecting a rise in profits in this quearter because TOR gets released that day but none of that happened. The best we got was that TOR will ship in Fiscal 2012, but calendar 2011. Translated this means April 2011. – December 2011. Tell us something we didn’t know, eh? Here is a summary of other TOR related statements:
- EA is incurring significant development costs for the Star Wars MMO
- I will say the following things though, one is we previously described to folks that half a million subscribers or so the game is substantially profitable but its not the kind of thing that we would write home about it, anything north of a million subscribers, it’s a very profitable business.
- The second thing that I would tell you is that the game is looking very good, a number of you will have seen it in a variety of our consumer shows, it’s only gotten stronger, we feel very good about the title. We’re currently testing it with a wide-scale consumer type thing but not sort of at the beta scale level-wise over the coming months.
- Western markets, you know we estimate that the leading competitor has six-ish million subscribers, paying subscribers, and that they’ve got approximately half of the market that seems to be growing in the five percent per annum based on the number of subscribers. So call it 12 million people paying for subscription based gaming in the way that we review as competition. We’ve previously indicated that sort of a million subscribers or more rings our bell, that’s very well for us economically. So it’s our view that we can be very successful without fundamentally challenging the market leader, cause we think we’ll probably hit the smaller competitors harder when we get out there. Of course we have no particular ambition to be a distant number two, our ambitions are higher than that, but we’ve throttled back a little bit relative to our financial projections
- I think what you’re pointing to is it might be getting tired after so many years. I don’t know that to be the case. I have not seen them announce that their western market numbers are coming down. But I do think that the market would be absolutely receptive to something fresh and new and differentiated. If you will, lightsabers vs. swords. I think there’s a marketplace for us here and we’re going at it aggressively
I would also like to reflect on a few things here. First is the best quote of the year “lightsabers vs. swords“. The second thing is something that I did not include in the important list above as it generally is not important, but I find it interesting in “the way industry works” sense. Here’s the quote:
… a fair amount of what you’re asking about is either subject to NDA with our partnership with Lucas …
Lucas Arts obviously has a great deal of control over what information gets released when. Keep that in mind the next time you whine about lack of information and blame it on George! I can’t remember where I read it but someone said that the best thing George Lucas could do to the Star Wars franchise is leave it to the fans and get his greedy paws off of it (opens his flame retardant umbrella and prepares for impending DOOM from fanboys).
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