Sterne Agee analyst Arvind Bhatia recently visited EA to check in on the progress of the company's upcoming, cutscene-driven MMO, Star Wars: The Old Republic. He reported that "earnings are somewhat depressed" due to the development costs for the game, but EA management is hopeful that they'll recoup this cash when the title brings in over two million subscribers. He added that, at the very least, the game needs over one million players in order for EA to break even on its biggest development project to date. For you number junkies out there, your standard computer game these days cost around $50 just to buy the game. This means that SWTOR could potentially cost a petty 50 million dollars to develop.
"With 'Star Wars: The Old Republic,' we haven't announced anything yet," BioWare general manager Ray Muzyka told Kotaku. "But what we're striving to do, to clarify what I said earlier, is to make sure the fans and the audience that we're trying to reach feel they are getting something they understand and feel that it is a good value for their money — and feel that there is a way they actually want to engage in the experience, both in how they play it and how they pay for it. That's our high-level goal."
Personally I think a million subscribers at launch should be doable considering that just last year Aion had over 400,000 pre-orders and this is Star Wars after all. Just for the sake of an example of how well something can sell if it has the name Star Wars in the title, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed has sold over seven million copies since the end February this year. Another example more similar to BioWare's product is their own Knights of the Old Republic which sold 250,000 units within the first four days of release. So you think that the bar is being set in a galaxy far far away? Or will they be able to produce a midiclorian count Master Yoda had never dreamed of?