Bioware MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic was up to nearly 1.7 million monthly subscribers at the end of February, Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello has told investors.

The game was only released in New Zealand on 1 March, but had been available since before Christmas in North America and Europe. The "vast majority" of players are into full-on paid subscription mode, having passed beyond the free month of play time included with the game, EA said.

Analyst Doug Creutz of Cowen and Company is expecting SWTOR to reach 2 million monthly subscribers by the end of June.

By contrast, Blizzard Entertainment's competing MMO World of Warcraft had 10.2 million subscribers as of December 2011. It may be seeing a reduction in numbers, however, as Blizzard recently slashed 600 jobs and launched a generous scheme to attract former subscribers back to the game.