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EA: 'Announcing SWTOR release date would be irresponsible'

EA: 'Announcing SWTOR release date would be irresponsible'

The Old Republic will be entering the ring with MMO giants such as World of Warcraft and Eve Online.

EA are not announcing the release date for in-development MMO The Old Republic because they are worried it will give their competitors an advantage. EA CEO John Riccitiello gave their reasoning at E3 on Wednesday as reported by CVG.

'Putting a window out there creates a window of opportunity for our principal competitor to put out an expansion pack or an ad campaign et cetera around our launch window,' said Riccitiello.

He described the idea of announcing a release date as 'irresponsible' and did not state who he thought to be their principal competitor.

Riccitiello also stated that the beta of the game was also preventing them from announcing a release date. He described the possibility of not reacting properly to the beta phase of development as a failure to 'sub-optimise a ten year revenue opportunity.'

He went on to say that EA has created their annual operating plan around the release and have a good idea of what sort of date they're aiming for.

EA has previously announced that the release could be pushed back to 2012 instead of the initially planned 2011.

We've already had a look at The Old Republic and didn't reckon much to it, but why not check the video below and let us know your thoughts in the forums?

You can check out other news from the show via our E3 2011 News hub.

18 Comments

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Faunus 10th June 2011, 11:50 Quote
Makes business sense, but it also makes sense if they have found that it's actually a really bad game, and they need to spend more time and money fixing it.
Phalanx 10th June 2011, 11:58 Quote
I'm happy to wait however long. Regardless of previews, reviews and the like, this will sell like hotcakes. I'll be there from the start. As long as I get my own spaceship and a solid background and story, I'm happy :)
Mentai 10th June 2011, 12:03 Quote
It's screwed.
Zurechial 10th June 2011, 12:09 Quote
This is probably a smart move. Blizzard have made a point of overshadowing the releases of other MMOs with new content patch announcements and other spotlight-stealing techniques in the past to great effect.

As for TOR itself, I can't say I'm all that excited. Their lofty goals for the Roleplaying aspects of the game will mean nothing once the average internet troll logs in and starts playing. Cutscenes will be rushed, dialogue will be ignored, plotlines will be meaningless - It'll be 'Barrens chat' all over again, just with a different backdrop and more voice-acting.

I've said it elsewhere, but I think TOR would have worked better as a singleplayer title or a small-scale multiplayer title, a sort of hybrid of KotOR and Morrowind. I think going MMO will ruin the RPG aspects of this game, even if it ends up being an effective cash-cow.
DriftCarl 10th June 2011, 12:18 Quote
I am looking forward to the game. I havnt played an MMO for well over a year now since WoW is mindlessly boring now. I just think they are not announcing the release date because its just going to be pushed back.
There will come a point when they will just have to release it because of the financial motivation to get the game in the shops weather its finished or not. Hopefully it will be finished.
jrs77 10th June 2011, 12:19 Quote
If the game is as good as they kept telling people for the last year, then EA shouldn't fear the competition and possible ad-campaigns at all there.
However, with EA not being confident enough to give a timeframe makes me wonder actually how bad they themselves think the game is in it's current state.

I don't expect too much actually from SWTOR since I started following it's development some year or two ago. It's a StarWars themepark without real innovations and the railway-space-shooter part is actually amusing me. They could've just taken one of the old X-Wing vs. TieFighter games to build the space-part of SWTOR.
The ground-combat with it's class-restrictions is nothing exciting too, as we've seen this over and over again during the last ten years, just with different IPs ontop of the same old system.

That said, I'll probably still play the game for the two or three month it takes to play through the whole content, but this just isn't the MMO that keeps me interested for any longer I guess. I'm simply spoiled by SWG and EvE Online in terms of longevity.
amdavies 10th June 2011, 12:28 Quote
Some reports about the game haven't been glowing and EA will know that they have to get this right or it could severely hurt the company. If they expect this to be a 10 year project, then another 6, 9 or even 12 months won't make a huge amount of difference if it's needed to properly finish the game for the initial release.
NuTech 10th June 2011, 12:29 Quote
When Greg Zeschuk spoke at the EA press conference at E3, he just sounded so deflated by the entire project ("Hey guys, look, I'm not gonna convince you to play it, just play it if you want, or don't, whatever").

I wonder if, internally, the Bioware doctors are really starting to regret saying yes to EA when asked to build a MMO?

Apparently the prevailing rumour this E3 is that EA have invested around $500m into TOR already and a lot of careers are riding on its success - including John Riccitiello himself.
jrs77 10th June 2011, 13:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by NuTech
Apparently the prevailing rumour this E3 is that EA have invested around $500m into TOR already and a lot of careers are riding on its success - including John Riccitiello himself.

The real numbers are somewhere around the $100 Million mark for SWTOR, but this is still the biggest budget ever been dumped into a MMORPG.

If you look at WoW for example, it has cost Blizzard $200 Million so far to develop the game and all AddOns etc. This is over the whole period of time, i.e. 11 years tho.

The currently developed Warhammer40k MMO by THQ has a budget of $50 Million for example, which is only half the amount EA spends on SWTOR. The same amount was spent on Rift by Trion.
And then look at MMOs like EvE Online that are somewhere at the $20 Million mark, but not any worse.

Big budgets sound good to some people, but it's actually stoopid to spend anymore money then you need. EA failed at that point with SWTOR if you look at it objectively.
NuTech 10th June 2011, 14:14 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrs77
The real numbers are somewhere around the $100 Million mark for SWTOR, but this is still the biggest budget ever been dumped into a MMORPG.

If you look at WoW for example, it has cost Blizzard $200 Million so far to develop the game and all AddOns etc. This is over the whole period of time, i.e. 11 years tho.

The currently developed Warhammer40k MMO by THQ has a budget of $50 Million for example, which is only half the amount EA spends on SWTOR. The same amount was spent on Rift by Trion.
And then look at MMOs like EvE Online that are somewhere at the $20 Million mark, but not any worse.

Big budgets sound good to some people, but it's actually stoopid to spend anymore money then you need. EA failed at that point with SWTOR if you look at it objectively.
TOR passed the $100m mark a long, long time ago (no pun intended). Bear in mind I'm talking about entire project here, not just development (so include all those beautiful CG trailers - Blur Studios are insanely expensive, trust me, I was once in contact with them a few years ago). Also, it's no secret that EA is throwing studio after studio at the project to get it complete. Calling it a 'Bioware Product' is basically now a misnomer, it's very much an EA collaborative effort. The 'EA Louse' source (which, granted, isn't very reliable) put just the development budget so far at $300m, this was back in 2010 - the game isn't out until 2012.

And you're underestimating WoW's costs so far too. They spent upwards of $100m just to release the original product. That was late 2004. So 7 years and 3 expansions later, $200m would be pocket change. This Wired report claims that since launch to 2008 (date of publication), WoW's operating budget has been $200m (but that's inflated due to non-devleopment costs like CS reps and servers). But again, this doesn't include marketing which is hugely expensive.

So when you take into account just how long TOR has been in development, how many external studios EA has working on it, what they've spent demoing/promoting the game and how much they intend to spend marketing it - suddenly $500m doesn't sound too crazy.

If you're still not convinced how devoted EA is to 'beating' ActivisionBlizzard, check this out, that's $100m just to market BF3.

TL;DR: Game budgets just ain't what they use to be and EA is taking a huge gamble on The Old Republic.
lightspeed 10th June 2011, 15:24 Quote
It never ceases to amaze me. The CFO specifically said Q2 or Q3. As a cover his behind move he said there was an outside chance it would fall to jan 2012 and these writers take it like he was saying it would fall to jan 2012. Not to mention in the same report they acknowledged that just letting it slip to Q3 would cost them between 16-34 mil. There would have to be serious problems to let it slip to Q3 with those numbers....imagine the loss if the let it slip to Jan.
IvanIvanovich 10th June 2011, 16:34 Quote
Must be soon enough if we are already seeing crappy product tie-ins...
http://arcantia.net/www/arcantia/files/2011/06/5806c99f00razer.jpg.jpg
Fizzban 10th June 2011, 16:40 Quote
There is no solid evidence for how much has been spent on the games development so far. Nothing official after the 100 Million that got mentioned way back. So all this throwing around of numbers is rather pointless.

Also that keyboard (which I like surprisingly) is going to be something insane like $200!
shanky887614 10th June 2011, 19:54 Quote
if i was one of there competitiors (wow and guildwars among others)
i would create an expansion pack now and dont anounce till they anounce release date
toolio20 11th June 2011, 00:01 Quote
I see TOR failing as a game but remaining somewhat successful as yet another vehicle for nerds to dump money into, much like the "new" trilogy - terrible, horrendous films, but profitable turds nonetheless. I personally think TOR will give Star Wars fans exactly the MMO they deserve for their blind, undiscriminating devotion to the franchise.

EA took a risk, but a relatively safe one, as the built-in fanbase ensures this project will never be a complete wash financially (though the ROI is a total wildcard at this point). The positive factor? BioWare will finally be taken down a notch. Perhaps this heralds the dawn of more objective reporting on their projects instead of the ceaseless, fawning adulation which is currently de rigueur. Probably not.
altdoom 11th June 2011, 18:44 Quote
I am currently in the closed beta and enjoying it.
CrazyBlade 12th June 2011, 17:14 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by altdoom
I am currently in the closed beta and enjoying it.

I hate you. A lot.

*jealous*

As for the original topic - as someone who has been tracking this game for a long, long time, it's highly frustrating that SWTOR has been to three E3's and we still don't have a release date. That being said, it probably is good business sense to do this. I have no doubt that Blizzard are watching and waiting to pounce on any SWTOR release date - in fact I am of the opinion that they have shortened the incoming Firelands raid in Patch 4.2 in order to ensure maximum development on Patch 4.3 to release around the same time, remembering as well that Patch 4.3 is scheduled to be the War Of The Ancients raid, which will attract a lot of players who know the lore.

I'm happy to wait for SWTOR, and as someone mentioned earlier in the thread I could care less about reviews and comments. I like the look of it, and am a massive Star Wars fan, so I'll be there on day of release.

CB
lesn 11th July 2011, 16:43 Quote
Just ran across this, but don't forget that SWG is shutting down for good as of Dec 15th 2011.

This could be for another reason but I would assume it's to heard the masses to SWTOR.

SO as of Dec 15th where will these players be going? I would assume SWTOR with a hopeful release date prior to Xmas.
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