The staggered international release of Star Wars: The Old Republic can be partially blamed on World of Warcraft’s launch, more than seven years earlier.
Speaking at the Citi 2011 Tech Conference, as reported by Gamasutra, EA chief financial officer Eric Brown said the publisher looked to World of Warcraft for inspiration.
“We’ve actually studied WoW pretty carefully. We spent a lot of time studying the first twelve months or so of WoW, and just to be clear here, when they initially launched, they did not launch in dual geographies. They went North America only,” he said.
Although The Old Republic is not region locked, eager fans outside the US and Europe were disappointed to learn the game would not be offered in local retailers at first launch. EA and BioWare have repeatedly argued a staggered launch will give them the chance to ensure quality service worldwide.
“We really want to make sure that the first group of users into Star Wars has the best experience,” Brown echoed.
“Quality of service is really important to us. In the short term, we would [opt] for a higher level quality of service versus a sheer numerical count of subscribers, because we’re quite confident that, with a great game experience at launch, we’ll get this viral effect.”
Brown also hinted BioWare has plans to follow a similar update cycle to World of Warcraft.
“[BioWare] has built in a very extensive development plan to make sure there is enough content coming out in intervals. We haven’t specified it, but industry norm is 18-24 months. And the idea there is to keep the game fresh and interesting for all of the players,” he said.
No release date has been set for The Old Republic, although it is expected before the end of the year.