Next month, Electronic Arts will release its second title this year meant to undermine the hearty foundations of cross-industry rival Activision. Last month Battlefield 3 went "above and beyond the call" – though notably didn't go above and beyond Modern Warfare 3's sales numbers or Xbox Live rankings – and next comes The Old Republic, which hopes to provide lapsing World of Warcraft subscribers with a Star Wars-flavored MMO-ternative.
"Lucas is going to be the principal beneficiary of the success of Star Wars," Activision CEO Bobby Kotick said at the Reuters Media Summit, referring to EA publishing partner (and more importantly Star Wars license owner!) LucasArts. "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."
Earlier this year, EA said half a million subscribers would be all it needed to make the immense investment in The Old Republic a profitable one. With more than 1.1 million players abandoning Azeroth between March and November of this year, EA won't have a hard time hitting that minimum, but longevity is the true sign of a successful MMO and something that WoW has in spades.
While analysts and investors worry about Activision's lack of diversity in its portfolio, Kotick points out that Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure has outperformed expectations and the game's superpowered figurines run the risk of selling out. "(Skylanders) are in high demand," Kotick said. "Retailers across the board are concerned that they will be out of inventory well before Christmas." But can't Santa just make more?