Electronic Arts has revealed that they will purposely limit the number of copies of Star Wars: The Old Republic available at launch for retail and digital download. The news comes from an EA representative during a demonstration at Gamescon, as reported by Gameinformer.
EA claims that they want everyone to have a smooth experience with the new MMO title and if this means limiting sales in order to keep servers from crashing, so be it. EA isn’t concerned with simply selling a ton of copies but rather keeping gamers happy. After all, the company only needs to sell half a million copies of the game to be profitable.
There are a lot of factors at play here and the news can be interpreted in many different lights.
The representative said that EA has a set number of copies to move before they discontinue sales to increase server capacity, but of course that number isn’t being released.
Such an announcement could very well be a marketing tactic to acquire more pre-orders. It’s also not a bad move to garner more media attention for the game, although it likely doesn’t need much help. Star Wars is a huge franchise and many people have been waiting for another quality MMO to challenge World of Warcraft.
One would assume that EA knows how many pre-orders are in place and given the popularity of the title, it would only make sense from a consumer’s standpoint for EA to deploy additional servers before the launch rather than upsetting potential buyers when sales cease. The EA rep was unsure how long it would take to deploy additional servers in this worst-case scenario.
On the flip side, many people will see this as a good move on EA’s part, as they are looking out for the customer’s best gaming interest. After all, who wants to try and play a game on a laggy, crash-prone server? If the game doesn't sell enough copies to require more servers, then this was all for not.
There is currently no release date for The Old Republic but a beta is said to begin in September. BioWare is likely planning to drop the title in time for the lucrative holiday buying season, although if sales are halted, that wouldn’t matter much.
Do you plan to buy The Old Republic, and if so, will you be pre-ordering now in light of this news?