Kotick: Star Wars Licensing Fees Will Hurt EA’s Profits

Begun, the MMO War has.

Bobby Kotick, the undisputed champion of the annualized sequel, had some not-so-nice things to say today in regards to competitor Electronic Arts’ strategy for entering the MMO genre that his company dominates like a [World of Warcraft reference of your choosing]. Kotick contends that EA is unlikely to be successful when they launch BioWare’s Star Wars: The Old Republic on December 20th. The problem, according to the Activision CEO, is that the man who brought you such ingenious innovations as “Greedo shoots first,” is going to rake EA over the Sarlacc Pit with steep licensing charges.

“LucasArts is going to be the principal beneficiary of the success of Star Wars,” Kotick explained to Reuters.

“We’ve been in business with LucasArts for a long time and the economics will always accrue to the benefit of LucasArts,” the Activision head honcho continued, “so I don’t really understand how the economics work for Electronic Arts.”

One could easily make the case that Kotick’s words are nothing more than some verbal sniping aimed squarely at what is potentially Wow’s biggest competition yet in the MMO space. Certainly the rights to Star Wars (SW) do not come cheap. That being said, the Death Star itself would likely not be large enough to house the sea of third party licensed SW products in this world. Surely someone outside of Skywalker Ranch must have made a profit on them somewhere along the line.

However, there is no denying World of Warcraft’s incredible track record of pummeling every last challenger that has arisen since it launched back in 2004. Who amongst us can’t name at least one of their gamer friends who threatened to leave WoW for the MMO flavor of the month only to come crawling right back?

Kotick isn’t shy about touting that little factoid. “If you look at the history of the people investing in an MMO and achieving success, it’s a small number.”

EA declined to respond directly respond to Kotick’s statements. They did, however, previously make it clear that a profit would be turned once the 500k membership plateau was crossed.

Lazard Analyst Atul Bagga reports that Electronic Arts spent somewhere in the neighborhood of $100 million making Star Wars: The Old Republic and that it would qualify as a major success if it draws in about two million paying customers.

[Source: Reuters]

[Image via Gamer Gourmet.]

Nick Santangelo
Nick Santangelo
Nick Santangelo

MASH Veteran

Nick has been a gamer since the 8-bit days and a member of the MTB editorial team since January of 2011. He is not to be interrupted while questing his way through an RPG or desperately clinging to hope against all reason that his Philly sports teams will win any given game he may be watching. Seriously folks, reading this acknowledges that you relieve MTB of any and all legal liability for his actions.

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