EA’s “largest ever development project,” Star Wars: The Old Republic, has been creating headlines aplenty with its possible $100 million development cost. Mind you, that figure’s speculative and came out of an equally speculative comparison to World of Warcraft, though chief financial officer Eric Brown has confirmed the MMO’s cost is up “significantly” from the publisher’s average, $30 million packaged game.
In any case, EA isn’t too bothered about the investment.
“I don’t pay much attention to that talk,” EA Games Label president Frank Gibeau said in a recent interview. “What I try and concentrate on is, is it a good game and is it ready to go?”
Gibeau points to the game’s “vast” content — 200 hours of gameplay per class, plus the crafting, raids, multiplayer — saying: “It’s a gigantic game. And that costs money.”
And it’s fully expected to be worth it; “..when you get one of these launched they persist for a long period of time. Ultima is on its first decade and it still has tens of thousands of subscribers and is widely profitable for us. It’s just the nature of the beast that you have to build this amount of content.
“Do I wish it wasn’t this expensive? Absolutely, but I think everybody does. At the same time it doesn’t really do us much good to comment on how much it costs. Ultimately what matters is whether it’s a good service and do people really like the game?”
With 1.5 million beta applicants, the interest is certainly there. As will profits EA would feel comfortable bragging with should subscription numbers cross the 1 million mark, which one analyst believes it will manage in a year.