Bobby Kotick has told Reuters he doubts that Star Wars: The Old Republic will benefit Electronic Arts, saying the licensing costs mean that “Lucas [Arts] is going to be the principal beneficiary” of any Star Wars product. Bobby Kotick is the guy you put in a movie when you want to instantly communicate the idea of “cash-savvy” – so when he says he “doesn't really understand” the deal, he's probably not trying to sound humble.
Above: In this image of a lumbering behemoth combating a team of plucky upstarts, Activision is represented by... actually we have no idea
Addressing questions as to whether The Old Republic could steal players away from Activision Blizzard's World of Warcraft (whose subscriber base has taken some hits this year), Kotick countered that EA's problem is less one of population numbers and more one of economics: “Lucas [Arts] is going to be the principal beneficiary of the success of Star Wars... the economics will always accrue to the benefit of Lucas.” He also argued that historically speaking, most MMO properties don't end up making money for investors.
EA has said that The Old Republic needed to reach 500,000 subscribers in order to become profitable. Reuters quotes analyst Atul Bagga as predicting the game could reach between three and four times that number, and that a substantial portion of these are likely to be WoW players. You'll get your chance to take sides when the game releases on December 20.