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Confusion over Star Wars MMO model

Could it be "micro-transaction-based"?

Electronic Arts chief 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.

However, EA has subsequently distanced itself from his comments, according to Shacknews. Apparently there's 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 lineup, 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."

Has Riccititello let the cat out of the bag, or is he just a little confused? Either way, it seems we'll have to wait until February at least to clear up this "misunderstanding" from the silver-locked boardroom potentate.

Star Wars: The Old Republic is in development for PC, and has no release date as yet. More info at the Old Republic gamepage.