The Old Republic won’t be launching in spring, needs 500k subscribers to succeed

EA have confirmed that their BioWare-developed Star Wars MMO, Star Wars The Old Republic, will not be releasing this spring, instead moving into the next fiscal year.

“EA is incurring significant development costs for the Star Wars MMO, which is expected to ship in calendar 2011 but after the close of fiscal ’11,” CFO Eric Brown has said. That puts the title back potentially as far as December but, as reported last week, EA may still be hopeful for a September release.

The publisher have also stated that previous rumors and rumblings about the massive development costs of the game have been greatly exaggerated. During a financial call CEO John Riccitiello stated: “500,000 subscribers saw the game is substantially profitable but it’s not the kind of thing that we would write home about. Anything north of 1m subscribers is a very profitable business.”

Fairly modest numbers given the franchise and developer, “so it’s our view that we can be very successful without fundamentally challenging the market leader [World of Warcraft] because we think we’ll probably hit the smaller competitors harder when we get out there. Of course, we have no particular ambition to be a distant number two. Our ambitions are higher than that, but we throttle back a little bit relative to our financial projections.”

Riccitiello made clear that reports of ridiculous dev budgets had no merit: There’s been a fair amount of talk on various blogs, describing spends that are vastly higher than anything we’ve ever put in place.”

SWTOR has a fair way to go before it’s released, will EA manage to convince half a million people to grab the game on launch?