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EA: SWTOR generating significant dev costs, 500K subscribers would be profitable


Electronic Arts and BioWare's Star Wars: The Old Republic has already established itself as the "largest ever development project" at the company, but Chief Financial Officer Eric Brown said that a moderate subscriber base could turn the "significant development costs" into profits -- "on a dime." During an investor call yesterday, the CFO stated that with a half a million subscribers, the game would be "substantially profitable, but not the kind of thing [EA] would write home about." The target for the publisher appears to be something with more than six zeros in it, as Brown said, "Anything north of a million subscribers it's a very profitable business."

Adding color to his remarks, the executive claimed, "There's been a fair amount of talk on various blogs describing spend that are vastly higher than anything we've ever put in place. Don't read 'gamer blogs' as having any substance. Some of them bring a chuckle, but they also bring a frustration to those who are being responsible for managing EA [research and development] dollars when they read falsehoods out in the press."

Brown reiterated that Star Wars: The Old Republic is expected after the fiscal year ends in March, but before the end of calendar 2011. He said the game is currently being focus tested, "not at the beta scale of testing," and has "only gotten stronger."

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