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Electronic Arts and BioWare’s long-awaited, big budget Star Wars: The Old Republic has seen an unprecedented drop down the UK sales charts. According to Chart-Track, the licensed massively multiplayer online game plummeted from 10th position all the way to 38th during the week ending on December 31.
The steep decline is not a good sign for the momentous MMO, largely accepted to be one of the most expensive games ever made. Released on December 20, The Old Republic quickly reached one million registered users globally. Leading up to its release, the game was expected to either be the first real threat to Blizzard Entertainment’s monopoly over the MMO space, or a massive failure a la most other titles in the genre, including Sony Online Entertainment’s oft-troubled Star Wars: Galaxies, whose servers were recently taken offline.
While retail copies in the UK took a hit, the game is also available for purchase digitally on EA’s Origin service. GamesBeat has reached out to EA regarding the current global sales numbers for The Old Republic, digital or otherwise. We will update the story if and when that information comes.
Update: EA has stated that it can’t talk because of its earnings quiet period, but analysts have weighed in on the activity within the game. Merrill Lynch said EA and BioWare are reportedly limiting supply of the retail product so that they can steadily “pulse players into the game” over time in order to ensure good online performance for everyone. Analyst Colin Sebastian at Baird Equity Research said that peak player usage numbers for the game are at about 350,000.