EA is going to be limiting copies of their upcoming SWTOR (one we widely anticipate, mind you). They’re not doing it to give the illusion that the game is more popular than it is, rather they’re doing it to decrease the likelyhood of unstable servers come launch day.

It plans to do this both at retail and digitally. There is apparently an exact number of copies it believes it can handle; should that number be exceeded, digital sales will be cut off and EA will try to increase its server capacity. They aren’t giving anyone a specific number and they aren’t saying how long that threshold will stay in place.

Hopefully it won’t come to this. EA’s Frank Gibeau talked about an “aggressive plan” to scale their servers to accommodate millions of players if need be. “We’re pretty relaxed about what we’re going to be able to achieve there. We’ll be able to scale up and light up new severs on a fairly quick basis. We’ve got a plan to do that over the months following ship, and we’ve got a lot of capacity built into that.”

He reiterated what we had heard previously, that it will take only half a million subscribers for TOR to be profitable. “And anything north of a million, as we approach a million and a half or two, starts to look like a great investment, and justifies the entire purchase price… of BioWare in a very positive way,” he said.

Whenever The Old Republic finally comes out — it’s still without an exact release date — there will be several versions available. A lot of JOB guys and gals have scooped up their preorder and this news of the limited number of digital and retail copies will give more people incentive to go ahead and pick up a copy now while they still can. It will be sold in almost every major retail store and will be exclusive to EA’s Origin digital distribution service.