Electronic Arts is planning on putting a cap on the amount of players that will be able to access Star Wars: The Old Republic at the launch of the MMORPG this fall. While no specific number has been announced, there is an exact target of player volume that can be reached with a combination of physical and digital sales of the game. Once that cap is reached, Electronic Arts will halt sales of digital copies and wait until server performance can be stabilized to continue selling the potentially popular title. Official reps for Electronic Arts didn’t indicate how long the server upgrade process would be between sale periods.
Since digital sales will be limited to the Origin store, it should be a simple procedure for Electronic Arts to halt sales of the game. It’s possible that this move will be perceived by the public as artificially limiting the supply of the Star Wars title to increase demand over time. Fans of the game could potentially become annoyed if the title is unavailable shortly after launch. In addition, this move could backfire on Electronic Arts if the game is heavily preordered, but falls prey to negative reviews from the gaming press which reduces the chances of future sales.
The launch date of the game is currently unannounced, but the game will be going into beta testing in September with selected weekends that will allow players to try out the MMORPG. Bioware and Electronic Arts are expected to announce a fall date for the launch of the game to take advantage of the lucrative holiday shopping season. Assuming physical copies aren’t limited from being activated like digital copies once a player cap is hit, it’s also possible that the price of physical copies could skyrocket on third party sites like eBay and Craigslist. If Electronic Arts does plan to cap all copies of the game until servers are capable of handling the load, copies that are purchased for the holidays may not work once received.