It’s not secret EA is basically banking the company on SW:sRPG, and from the outside looking in it SEEMS the game should be a hot ticket in its first month, but is EA a little TOO cocky here?
First they announced that the game will only be available online through their EA-only Steam-clone called Origin. Now perhaps not a huge deal, but plenty of gamers prefer Steam, and some are borderline exclusive to it (it’s the only site I check now for games). Alone this would not be THAT big a deal, but IMO it is a factor.
Next we have the recent $150 CE move. Not only is the price silly, but there are some real key details missing. That in-game vendor for instance, what does he sell? A single fluff hat, an entire ‘best looking’ outfit, or a one-shot death beam of insta-win? What if he is the only source for a non-combat Yoda pet (I know SW nerds, wrong timeframe blablabla) or some other ‘must have’ for SW fans and you miss out on the CE because it’s ‘sold out’? It does not take much to enrage MMO fans, and SW fans are also a pretty emo bunch. Just a few loudmouths missing out on something could cause a lot of negative feedback, and such things tend to spiral out of control (EVE Monocle anyone?).
Other information, such as, you know, a release date, are also missing. What if the upcoming beta is not as clean as EA expects and SW gets pushed back 6 months? Dropping $150 that early is not going to make people very happy. What if beta shows what many already expect, that SW will be a fun one-month romp. Is that $150 you dropped still worth it? Can you cancel at that point?
Do we even know the pricing model yet? Is this a sub-only MMO? Is it sub + frequent paid expansions? Is it sub + ‘micro’ transaction? And if so, what exactly can you pay extra for? Pure fluff, or the final chapter of your character’s story? Or will EA be selling side stuff like guilds, full AH access, and other ‘non-critical’ (but critical) functionality? Asking someone to drop $150 on a CE before it ‘sells out’ without the customer knowing the above is pretty ballsy at best, and pretty exploitative at worst.
Hype alone at this point will make SW a big seller early, but remember that EA is calling this an MMO, and an MMO lives and dies by how well it retains players. Will this early shady treatment of the game’s most loyal supporters (people who don’t think twice about dropping $150) come back to bite EA? Or are SW fans so fervent that even if EA asked them to walk through fire for a glowstick, they would pay extra for the chance to go first?