When Electronic Arts first announced its plans to stagger the Star Wars: The Old Republic launch based on date of pre-order many gamers wondered if supplies would be extremely limited upon the game’s official release. As it turns out, Electronic Arts is employing a very “ambitious” rollout plan, one that should see every gamer who has been looking forward to this highly anticipated game getting their copy on day and date of release.
Yes, Star Wars: The Old Republic might be releasing mere days before Christmas, decreasing the likelihood gamers will not be receiving their copy from a pre-order, but that shouldn’t discourage those waiting to pick the game up at launch. According to EA’s Frank Gibeau several important factors are influencing how many copies will ship, and what demand is like for this game.
One of those key factors is The Old Republic’s beta test, which is currently stress testing servers, and allowing gamers to get their first taste of the many classes and storylines that BioWare has created. In fact, an even larger series of beta tests have been rumored to be taking place soon — tests that may or may not include those who were mistakenly e-mailed literature regarding The Old Republic.
In Gibeau’s mind, Star Wars, the property, is so important to so many people that it will keep the MMO’s fan base growing for quite some time. In fact, he promises that new opportunities will open up to keep that appeal high.
“It's a very interesting proposition from that standpoint because you have the Star Wars brand that draws in a lot of people. That is a good thing because we think we can sustain the business over a very long time as we grow. There's going to continually be new customer segments that we can open up and bring into the service.”
As potentially the last premium MMO to be released for PC, Star Wars: The Old Republic carries a lot of weight on its shoulders, and, as such, doesn’t want to get any element of this all-too-important launch wrong. Yes, EA tried to build anticipation with a special pre-order “early receipt” promotion, but that doesn’t mean that the supplies will be stifled.
To that point, we hope The Old Republic is able to enjoy a much more stable launch than World of Warcraft — which needed to have copies pulled from store shelves in order to give the crippling servers a break. I guess we’ll just have to wait until the end of December to see what really happens.
If you couldn’t pick up/download a copy of Star Wars: The Old Republic at launch how would that impact your enthusiasm for the game? Should EA “control” supply in order to keep demand high?
Star Wars: The Old Republic releases December 20, 2011 for the PC.