EA: Old Republic launch reveal would play into Blizzard's hands

Firm doesn't want to tip off the competition or jam itself into a corner

EA CEO John Riccitiello has explained the publisher's reluctance to publicly announce a launch window for BioWare MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic.

According to the exec, doing so would be irresponsible to the publisher's shareholders as it would give competitors an opportunity to disrupt the launch. He also said it's vitally important to continue fine-tuning the game based on customer feedback from the ongoing beta test.


Announcing a ship date "would be irresponsible for two really good reasons", Riccitiello said at E3 yesterday.

"One, the competitive marketplace. Putting a window out there creates a window of opportunity for our principal competitor to put out an expansion pack or an ad campaign etcetera around out launch window. Bad move at this point in time.

"Second, you do a beta for a reason. You intend to learn something. If you have the answer before you ask the question you're not listening. We intend, [BioWare founders] Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk and [EA Games Label president] Frank Gibeau, to listen to their consumers.

"We have a best judgment as to when that's going to happen," Riccitiello added of the game's launch. "We've created our annual operating plan around it, but if we fail to listen, and sub-optimise a ten year revenue opportunity, a profit opportunity for jamming ourselves into a corner we're not the management team you should invest in."

EA said last month that The Old Republic may slip from its previously planned 2011 launch to a 2012 release.