Kotick: Old Republic a win for George Lucas, not EA

Well, if nothing else EA can at least take this as proof that Activision is nervous about Star Wars: The Old Republic.

EA’s upcoming Star Wars: The Old Republic is seen by some as the first real contender to World of Warcraft’s subscription MMO crown. Not that Bobby Kotick agrees.

In fact, the Activision Blizzard chief executive devoted a fair amount of his Reuters Media Summit talk yesterday to attacking his big corporate rival, and in particular its new MMO.

"[George] Lucas is going to be the principal beneficiary of the success of Star Wars," Kotick stated. "We’ve been in business with Lucas for a long time and the economics will always accrue to the benefit of Lucas, so I don’t really understand how the economics work for Electronic Arts.

"If you look at the history of the people investing in an MMO and achieving success, it’s a small number."

EA has previously stated that it needs just 500k subscribers for the game to turn a profit – a claim questioned by analysts, who estimate that EA has spent upwards of $100m on developing the title.

They also believe the game will attract at least 2m players, with some even suggesting that it could steal 1m players from World of Warcraft.

Indeed, EA has predicted that the game could enjoy a lifespan of ten years on the market.

That’s not a uniform opinion, though. Bigpoint CEO Heiko Hubertz told LGC earlier this month that he didn’t think Old Republic would ever be profitable.

Another obstacle may be EA’s decision to stick with the subscription model for the game. This comes at a time when nearly every other major MMO – though notably not WoW – has switched to the free-to-play model, leading to big success for some.

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