Video gamers and Star Wars fans: There’s already a lot of overlap in those two segments of the population. So it’s not surprising that Electronic Arts(s ERTS) has done quite well with its line of Star Wars video games.
According to new data from the company, EA’s next Star Wars title — set to debut just in time for Christmas on December 20 — is on track to be a blockbuster success.
EA recently held a three-day beta test weekend for its upcoming Star Wars, The Old Republic game (SWTOR), and the results were really good. 725,000 users played, and the average gamer spent a solid 12 hours playing over the weekend, EA CFO Eric Brown said during his presentation at the annual UBS Global Media & Communications conference in New York last week, according to a research note by UBS analysts Brian J. Pitz And Brian P. Fitzgerald.
Two million people signed up for the beta test alone, which means the company is on track to make a nice chunk of change from the SWTOR title: EA will breakeven once it hits one million subscriptions, Brown said. That’s notable especially because of the development cost behind SWTOR, which is reportedly in the running to be the most expensive video game ever created. The kind of popularity it expects has required some preparation on EA’s part, Brown acknowledged, telling investors that the company’s servers are ready for launch.
According to sales data, Star Wars, The Old Republic will launch at the same time that lots of people are playing with new gaming gear. High definition console sales were up 60 percent year-over-year on Black Friday 2011, driven by Xbox 360 (s MSFT), which sold more units than during any other week in its six-year history, Brown pointed out during his UBS presentation. Of course, anything Star Wars has a massive built-in audience, but it seems that the timing couldn’t be much better for a new HD game launch in general.