Electronic Arts and BioWare are betting big on Star Wars: The Old Republic, easily the highest-profile competitor to World of Warcraft since Blizzard assumed genre dominance, but nailing down a release date has been a constantly moving target. In discussing its latest fiscal results, publisher EA was just as cagey about when The Old Republic will be released. Their only guarantee? Before March 31, 2012.
"We are preparing the launch of Star Wars: The Old Republic," said EA CEO John Riccitiello on today's financial call. "The launch date, while in our fiscal year, is not yet certain."
In EA's own breakdown for the next year, the company "assumes" The Old Republic will ship within the calendar year (read: before the end of 2011), but has baked in the possibility of a slip into 2012. Just today, BioWare and EA announced Mass Effect 3, originally scheduled for holiday 2011, is now early 2012.
"While we fully anticipate launching Star Wars: The Old Republic in Q2 or Q3," said CFO Eric Brown, "the low end of our guidance range assumes the outside possibility of a January launch."
If you're not following EA's explanation so far, here's a summary: The Old Republic's coming this fiscal year and expects it before 2011's end...but there's a chance it won't actually arrive until next year. Okay.
Unsurprisingly, EA believes the launch of The Old Republic will be "the biggest event of the year."
"We currently have over one million double-opt-in beta testers for the world’s first story-driven, fully
voiced MMO," said EA Games president Frank Gibeau. "Everyone is waiting for us to announce the ship date… Sorry, but that’s not going to happen today. We’re holding the date for two reasons--first, we don't want to tip off the competition; second, we want more data from the beta test to guarantee a spectacular experience at launch."
The wait continues. Ironically, this all comes on Star Wars Day. May the 4th be...oh, nevermind.