The lights are on
While it's always possible for games to sell out, it's a pretty rare occurrence for major releases, and it's becoming even more unlikely thanks to the advent of digital downloads. Apparently being downloadable won't help BioWare's upcoming MMO, though. Today at a Star Wars: The Old Republic demonstration during Gamescom, EA revealed that they will be purposely limiting the number of copies available at launch, both for retail and digital.
According to the representative speaking at this demo, EA and BioWare made the choice to limit the number of copies of the game available for purchase in order to assure a smooth launch. It's fairly common for popular MMOs to suffer from long wait times and server crashes for the first few months after launch because of the stress put on servers. EA says it would rather make sure the experience is quality for the first gamers to get in than to sell as many copies as possible but ensure a subpar experience for everyone.
The representative said that EA has an exact number set for how many copies will be sold before the publisher turns off digital sales, but they aren't going to share that number. If it is hit, the publisher will be working non-stop to expand its server capabilities as quickly as possible so the game can once again be open to new players. However, the representative was unsure if this would take hours, weeks, or as long as a month.
Star Wars: The Old Republic still has no official release date, but EA seems to be targeting a wider beta sometime in the coming months, which suggests that the final release isn't too far off. The moral of the story? EA wants you to pre-order its game real bad.