Betas are typically restricted, a testing ground for online services, a chance to test design balance, but when you're attempting to craft an MMO to take over the world a few select thousand just doesn't cut it. You need 2 million people to help you out!
EA has just announced that over 2 million gamers helped test Star Wars: The Old Republic, and that number makes sense on a whole different set of levels. To begin with, EA is expecting a huge launch, so it makes sense to test their server capability on a grand scale, secondly — 2 million people already engaged with the new game you are about to launch? That's some pretty solid pre-release marketing right there.
Apparently EA had over 250,000 people playing concurrently and over 750,000 unique users over the Thanksgiving weekend. Solid numbers considering EA has gone on record saying the game needs 500,000 users to turn a profit.
But bizarrely, despite the fact that Australians were actually involved in the beta, we still don't have a local release date for the game.
As soon as we hear anything, we'll let you know.
The Old Republic Draws 2M Beta Volunteers [Gamasutra]