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Electronic Arts said today that its critical online game, Star Wars: The Old Republic, had 1.3 million active subscribers in the fourth-fiscal quarter ended March 31.

The video game giant announced the news as part of its quarter and year-end fiscal report after the close of trading on the stock market today.

According to the accompanying press release, fiscal Q4 full-game downloads were up 76 percent year-over-year, contributing $60 million in the quarter, driven in part by Mass Effect 3 and Star Wars: The Old Republic. EA also plans to release two new content packs – Legacy and Allies – both becoming available in fiscal Q1 of this year.

Star Wars: The Old Republic (SWTOR) is a well-funded massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) with full voice-acted cutscenes and high production values. It was created as a competitor to Activision Bizzard’s venerable MMO, World Of Warcraft, the online game to beat.

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Our own reviewer, Heinrich Lenhardt, gave SWTOR high marks, citing the storytelling, mutliple classes, and a game that’s fun to play as a singleplayer as well as with others.

Founded in 1982 and headquartered in Redwood City, California, EA is a publisher and developer of video games for consoles, computers, and mobile devices. Some of their high-profile titles include The Sims, Madden NFL Football, FIFA Soccer, Need for Speed, Battlefield, Star Wars: The Old Republic and Mass Effect.

EA’s number of active subscribers is consistent with EA’s original goal. It is down from 1.7 million subscribers in the previous quarter (Star Wars launched on Dec. 20). But EA said that it has a stable number of subscribers now after the initial casual players cycled through the game. So far, 2.4 million units have sold through at retail.

In a conference call with analysts, EA chief executive John Riccitiello said that Star Wars is an important title, but not as important as EA’s top five properties, which include Medal of Honor, SimCity, The Sims, Battlefield, and Madden NFL Football. He said the Star Wars title is more important to revenues than Tiger Woods PGA Golf. Riccitiello said that investors have been very focused on Star Wars. He said the game is profitable.

Frank Gibeau, another top executive at EA, said that no one is directly competing with EA’s Star Wars title in the massively multiplayer online space, and no one else has the Star Wars brand behind it.


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