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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Did Eric Brown mislead investors at the EA Earnings Conference Call?

At the latest EA Earnings Conference Call (transcript):
Brian Karimzad - Goldman Sachs - Analyst
One on The Old Republic, can you help us understand how the capacity management is going to work at launch? What kind of leadtimes you have to add capacity? And how do you plan to manage the effect of people wanting to level up, put their friends together if demand starts to
significantly exceed the capacity out of the gate?
Eric Brown - Electronic Arts Inc. - CFO
Yes, I think we're in pretty good shape to do that. We've got a very aggressive plan to be able to scale multiple millions of users coming into the STAR WARS franchise in service this fall.
We're looking at pre-order campaigns and telemetry coming in from retail as well as online to get a sense of the overall base and it's very strong. We're pretty relaxed about what we're going to be able to achieve there.
We'll be able to scale up and light up new servers on a fairly quick base. We've got a plan to do that over the months following ship and we have a lot of capacity built into that.

But is EA really ready "to scale multiple millions of users coming into the Star Wars franchise" when they have such a limited release?

Stephen Reid recently addressed the "red zone" issue to the fans on the forums:
To all of our fans outside of North America and Europe:

Today we've announced the pre-order details for the initial launch of Star Wars: The Old Republic. BioWare and LucasArts are completely focused on building an exceptional game and an exceptional game service to go with it. Unfortunately, to achieve the goal of an exceptional game service certain territories could not be serviced at launch. This decision was undertaken with a quality player experience as the primary goal.

We are humbled by that level of excitement and anticipation around the world for The Old Republic. As soon as we have more information about additional launches in more territories, we’ll let you know.

We are committed to delivering Star Wars: The Old Republic to BioWare and Star Wars fans around the world, and to growing a truly global community.

It appears that these two statements contradict one another. We have Eric Brown telling investors that EA is ready to handle millions of customers and quickly scale up to meet demand, and then we have Stephen Reid telling customers that because they can't handle the demand, they are going to stagger launch.

Which is it?

1 comment:

  1. I don't see how these two issues clash. Anyone who has ever tried playing games where the servers are across vast distances, will know. If you play (for example) in Eastern Russia, and try and reach a server either in Europe or in texas, you will face horrible lag. If millions of millions of europeans try and play on that same server, they will not.

    I see no contraditions.

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