Posts Tagged ‘supply’
Bioware is reporting (through EA CFO Eric Brown) that more than 1.5 million folks have signed up as potential beta testers for Star Wars the Old Republic. Brown says that it is an exciting foreshadow of the success of the game, and while we can’t necessarily disagree, it was hard not to see this coming.
For starters, it has the words “Star Wars” right there in the title. That alone has got to be worth about a million sign-ups, right? Secondly, it’s made by Bioware. You figure that’s worth at least a few hundred thousand more as folks are keenly aware of how good Bioware games have been in the past. Finally, you have a huge marketing budget with super slick cinematic trailers. When you tally it up you get 1.5 million people that are so desperate to try out the game for free that they’re willing to help you work on testing it. If you want to become one of the millions, you can sign up here to throw your name in the hat.
For some of these 1.5 million SWTOR beta testers, playing the game has already become a reality. Bioware started up its “Beta Test Weekends” program in March, wherein every weekend a select number of people get the opportunity to beta test the game. Very strict NDAs are involved so little is known about it publicly, but it seems to be a select group of people that are being given access, as you would expect. However, Bioware has mentioned that from here on out the number of testers participating in the beta would be greatly increased, so if you’re on the waiting list be sure to keep an eye on your email for a chance to see first hand if the game is living up to the hype thus far.
One of the major things being tested in the beta is the server load, and even if things go well Bioware isn’t about to roll out the release unprepared. Instead, Bioware will intentially limit the number of copies of Star Wars the Old Republic that are available at launch. It’s a method called phased introduction, which is commonly used with large hardware rollouts. In this case, since an MMO is so similar to a hardware rollout, it makes a lot of sense. Bioware doesn’t want all their servers crashing and burning on day one because five million people all tried to log on at once. Instead, expect lots of “sold out” signs as Bioware makes sure that the servers will handle those precious few people that get the game on day one, and will gradually roll out more copies of the game as server capacity is increased and tested. This is essentially the same thing that is happening with the beta, as they started with a small crew and once everything was stable for them began rolling out more and more invites. Don’t expect to be able to get around these limitations by just buying the game digitally either, as both the physical and digital versions of the game will be restricted. Yes, that’s right, you may actually see a “sold out” sign on a digital product that has no physical presence to sell out of. When you see it and are ready to vent, just remember that it’s for the greater good.