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Confusion over Star Wars MMO business model

CEO discuses "micro-transaction" model for title, but corporate insists no decisions have yet been made

Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello suggested to investors yesterday that Star Wars: The Old Republic, BioWare's recently-announced MMO, will earn money from micro-transactions rather than subscriptions, reports our sister site, Eurogamer.net.

However, EA has subsequently distanced itself from his comments, according to Shacknews, stating there has been a "misunderstanding" and "no statements have been made about the Star Wars business model".

Riccitiello's description of Star Wars: The Old Republic as a "mid-session", "micro-transaction-based" game certainly came as a surprise.

Although it's true that business models weren't discussed at the game's unveiling in October, everything about its presentation suggested that it was a big-budget, premium MMO intended to compete with Blizzard's World of Warcraft for lucrative player subscriptions.

But Riccitiello's description aligned it more with the likes of free-to-play shooter Battlefield Heroes and trading-card RTS Battleforge in EA's line-up, or FIFA Online, which it operates in Asia.

"We are continuing to stick to the plan relative to building out our direct-to-consumer models which include micro-transactions and subscriptions," he said in a conference call. "The recent launch of Warhammer [Online] is a great example of that.

"Other initiatives we've announced, for example [the] Star Wars online MMO, are mid-session games which are micro-transaction-based," he continued. "You’ll be hearing more about those in the February [conference] call."

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Oli Welsh

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Oli was Eurogamer's MMO Editor before a seven-year stint as Editor. He worked here for a colossal 14 years, shaping the website and leading it.

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