Analyst firm Cowen and Company has described EA's MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic as "highly derivative" of World of Warcraft and suggested the game may miss its 2011 release.
"We got hands-on time with the game, and were largely unimpressed," stated Doug Creutz, senior research analyst covering the media and entertainment sector, in the firm's E3 report.
"Despite promises from EA/Bioware that the title represents a major step forward in MMO design, what we saw was essentially a World of Warcraft clone with Star Wars character skins and the Bioware RPG nice/nasty dialogue tree mechanism bolted on for non-player character conversations."
What we saw was essentially a World of Warcraft clone with Star Wars character skins and the Bioware RPG nice/nasty dialogue tree mechanism bolted on
Doug Creutz, Cowen and Company
Creutz also described the PC game's visuals as "competent but hardly breathtaking," but makes allowances for the landscape in which the demo was set. "Granted, we were playing in a desert area, so other areas may be more impressive-looking... on the other hand we question why EA chose a desert level to showcase the title."
It goes on to interpret EA's silence on a release date as a sign the game will be delayed until 2012, and cites this as the reason for the recent drop in EA's share price. The game was originally planned for a spring 2010 launch, and will be developer Bioware's first MMORPG.
Cowen and Company did however praise EA's Battlefield 3, which "looked impressive and was the clear leader in positive buzz at the show" and THQ's Saints Row: The Third, stating "we would compare the opening mission to the opening sequence of the James Bond movie Goldeneye - if it were directed by the creators of Jackass."
It also showed an interest in Activision's Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure, which allows physical toys to interact with a variety of consoles. "Activision management thinks in terms of billion-dollar franchises, and we think Skylanders has the right elements to have a chance of reaching that goal."