Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Star Wars: The Old Republic Release Date

swtor-box-art-small Man, I can't wait until the Google spiders get a hold of that title.
One of the most talked about topics surrounding Star Wars: The Old Republic is the release date. What they have said publically is Holiday 2011 which covers pretty much anything from October to the end of the year.
I never expected a release date at E3, but for a while I've pinned my hopes on getting a release date at PAX Prime (AUG 26th - AUG 28th). The BioWare guys have shown an affection for PAX, even granting permission for one of the Penny Arcade writers write about his Beta experiences. BioWare has used PAX EAST and PAX PRIME for many of the major announcements about the game. Letting PAX be the show where the release date is revealed makes sense. PAX PRIME is about 10 weeks from the middle of November, which gives BioWare a nice ramp up window.
I've sinced backed off that idea. I don't think we'll get a release date at PAX PRIME. I've been following the game for over a year now, and I believe BioWare when they say they can't give the release date because they don't know what it is yet. There is still one vital piece of data BioWare needs before they can settle on the release date, and that is the stress test. We are going to see that stress test in September with the Beta weekends. These will be large invite Beta events lasting just a weekend making for an idea stress test.
BioWare has to see the results from that stress test before deciding on a date. If the results are good, they will go full steam ahead for launch. If those results are not good, SWTOR could be pushed into 2012. (que "Price Is Right" you lose music). But let's go with the glass half full. If the first weekend goes well, then BioWare waits for the second weekend. They may even wait for third. That puts them with high confidence in the stress test results in late September. EA's John Riccitiello has stated they want about a 4 to 6 week window between announcing the release date and go live. This is too short, they hope, for any of their competitors to launch something to compete with their release. They are wrong, but I'll talk about that tomorrow.
So 4 to 6 weeks from last of September puts us in late October to early November. My personal guess for the release date is November 8th through the 15th. We'll see how close I get.
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