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Star Wars: The Old Republic a big risk for EA, say analysts, everyone else on Earth


It's no secret that EA has a lot riding on the success of Star Wars: The Old Republic. What is a secret, however, is just how big a risk the recently launched MMO poses for the company. As reported by Reuters, Robert W. Baird & Co analyst Colin Sebastian believes that EA may have sunk more than $300 million into the development of The Old Republic. Others estimate somewhere between $100 million and $300 million but, either way, it's a hefty investment to lose if Sith fever doesn't catch on – not to mention the loss of expected monthly subscription fees.

EA revealed in February this year that its Old Republic business would be profitable at 500,000 subscribers and at least one analyst, Sterne Agee's Arvind Bhatia, believes the game should handily reach that quota. Bhatia expects the game to sell 3 million copies and lasso 1.5 million subscribers by the end of the year. Should The Old Republic fail, Bhatia believes EA's 2012 earnings could be reduced by up to 20 percent.

It's also worth pointing out that one analyst, Cowen & Company's Doug Creutz, believes The Old Republic may have already hit the 1.5 million player mark. Of course, the best way to learn of the MMO's success is simply to crack open your window, because you can bet that EA will be shouting it from the hills the moment The Old Republic starts turning a profit.

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