Page 17 of the latter document contains a footnote that reads:
1 These forward-looking statements are valid as of May 4, 2011 only. The Packaged Goods title release schedule excludes Star Wars: The Old Republic, which is expected to launch in either Q2 FY12 or Q3 FY12.
Q2 FY12 is July through September 2011, and Q3 FY12 is October through December 2011.
UPDATE: Stephen Reid sent a reminder via Twitter about the release date window.
Star Wars: The Old Republic is expected to launch in the second half of 2011.
Hit the jump for the Live Blog of the call as well as a transcription of the points discussed.
- Reaffirmed Star Wars: The Old Republic will ship in CY 2011.
- Star Wars: The Old Republic will be launched as a Digital Service.
- Subscription revenue expected to rise with the launch of SWTOR.
- "While we fully anticipate launching Star Wars: The Old Republic in Q2 or Q3, the low end of our guidance range assumes the outside possibility of a January launch."
- Server infrastructure for Star Wars: The Old Republic is a significant FY12 cost investment.
- SWTOR mentioned as a Subscription based MMO.
- Over 1 million testers (signed up)
- We're holding the date for two reasons:
1. Don't want to tip off the competition.
2. To get more information from testing.
- Question: "On a beta test for Star Wars, it sounds like you guys are already ongoing with that, but how long does a test like that before full product launch can actually take place?"
Response: Frank: "With regard to your question on Star Wars, typically MMOs have about a six month run in terms of beta testing. We've been continuously testing STar Wars already and have already embarked on that process, so we feel very good about the type of telemetry and feedback that we've got coming in from that, and we have a very sizable signup list of beta testers that are actively engaged with making the game better."
- Question: "Just a quick question to follow up on the beta, if I could, for a moment. Can you give us a little bit of color as to what the level of interest is at this point in the Star Wars beta, and then if we're looking at your guidance for the year and the range of your guidance, can you comment a little bit about what's at the high end in terms of the assumptions behind Star Wars--is that kind of what the timing may be with the launch of the game, or if you could give brackets around what we might be thinking of in terms of a sub-level."
Response: Eric: "So this is Eric, and I'll take the second part of the question first. So, our guidance range at the high end of 90 cents. We give it a ship date range of fiscal Q2 to fiscal Q3 for Star Wars, and so Star Wars shipping earlier, ie Q2 vs. Q3 is factored into the 90 cent upper range. We are not giving any specidifc subscription or subscriber targets or ARPU. The only thing we've said about business models is that it's expected to be a monthly subscription based, but beyond that we haven't given any specific metrics for that. . . . if the ship date should slip by a couple months from Q2 into the latter portion of Q3, it's north of 5 cents, 10 centes in terms of variability based on the ship date of Star Wars. In terms of your first question about interest in the beta, it's exceedingly high. The demand metrics for this franchise are amongst the highest we've ever seen at Electronic Arts, and in fact the customer data coming in from the beta test of intent to purchase, quality rating, desirability, are all at the very high end of what our partners in the testing groups have seen. We're very excited and confident that we've got the right game."
- Interest in beta is exceedingly high. The customer data coming in from the beta test are at the high end. We're very excited and confident we have the right game. Demand metrics among the highest EA has ever seen. (paraphrase)
- The customer data coming in from the beta test are at the high end. We're very excited and confident we have the right game.
- Expect to sell the client via Digital Download. SWTOR will lead to digital growth.
- Question: "So, Eric, the Star Wars game: can you talk maybe about the difference in run rate before and after the game ships in terms of pre-build and then ongoing service beyond that?"
Response: Eric: "Well, I think here's the way to look at it (and we made some specific comments about what our year looks like when measured with a portion of the year with Star Wars versus where we exit the year where Star Wars is fully in operation): So, we open the year with Fiscal 12 with Star Wars still in development, with us incurring expense to our P&L's with fairly significant R&D expenses. At the end of the year, Star Wars will be live, and we'll have some of the costs shift from R&D into cost of goods as we activate the live services--you know, the game masters, the customer care, etc. But all in, the Star Wars P&L flips from beind dilutive at the beginning of the year to being highly accretive at the end of the year."