EA at Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference: SWTOR to Release in March Quarter?

Or is it?
I love to keep up withwhat is happening at EA and with gaming in general. Since Eric Brown,CFO of Electronic Arts, is at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference, Iwanted to listenin to the call to see if any important infomraiton was disclosed about EA,BioWare and of course, Star Wars: The Old Republic, a huge source of thefinances of EA right now.
If investor financial calls are not your thing, you’velucked out because I took a listen and I will pass on the important bits toyou.
The conference happened at 1:10P PT / 4:10P ET and containeda lot of the usual boring bits. I entertained myself messing around on Twitter a bit and waiting forgood parts.
One of the most interesting questions was in regards toSWTOR:
Q:Can you give any updates on how pre-orders and awareness level are trackingagainst your milestones and what are some of the factors that could push alaunch into early next year rather than late this year on a calendar basis?
And the answer:
“”Withoutbeing specific about the number of pre-orders, but what I can tell you is thatthe first, I think, five days or so that we opened for pre-orders, we racked upmore pre-orders on Star Wars than we had on any other title in that same periodof time. So the demand is definitely there. A lot of people have been waiting forStar Wars. We have about a million and a half people who have dual registered,that is they provided email address contact information and they alsovolunteered to do free beta testing if they’re able to get an invite. So,there’s a huge built-in community. There’s also a built in community of BioWarefans. BioWare is known for its high quality games, its great story telling,RPG. And obviously there’s a great story arc that goes through Star Wars: TheOld Republic. So there’s built in demand and anticipation there just from theBioWare side of things, let alone from the Star Wars fan base.

What did EA have to say in regards to release dates?
“Interms of timing, again, we haven’t given a street date yet. We won’t do so forsome time, possibly at our next upcoming earnings call towards the end ofOctober.”
They reiterated once again that the most important thing wasquality and making sure they do not push for a release too soon, thus affectinguser experience and quality of the game. So really, there was nothing new thatwe have not already heard.
With one exception… there was one little phrase that causedmany fans to panic:
“Butwe did hold out a slight possibility that it could slip to our March quarter.”
Stephen Reid postedon the official forums to remind us all that we should not make too much ofthings that we hear on investor calls. He stated again that nothing has changedin regards to release date and that they are still looking at a holiday 2011release time. So again, we are being told to expect release around Nov-Dec2011.
If you’d like, you can hear the full call for yourself atthe Electonic Artsinvestor site.