That little statistic was taken straight from MMORPGs very own beta offer page. I don't know what the figure originally started at (25k?) but the number of beta keys being offered is high. Absurdly high. In fact, it's so high that I don't ever recall any other game posting so many "beta" keys and still maintain the facade of beta. With a launch date of December 22, 2011, I think we can safely assume beta is all but done and even stress testing is by and large a done deal. So what does that leave us?
Twenty five thousand Metric Ass-tons of marketing. Bioware and Lucas Arts have taken the advertising beta to a whole new level, if not elevated it to a fine art with this tactic. How do you combine a subscription game that you're supposed to pay for at the store with the hands on word of mouth usually associated with free to play gaming? Exactly like this. You let everybody and their goddamn brother "beta" your game for a taste test, shut it off a few days before the release date (all the while enduring the 'will you delete my character?' rants in the official forum' and then hopefully sell the real release as if the game DVD were pressed into gold disks.
What am I saying? This is Starwars. Even if the game was merely World of Warcraft with Light Sabers (ahem), it would still sell like it was pressed into gold disks based on fandom alone. Normally I'd say that advertising betas- especially one of this magnitude -are a double edged sword, but here? Since the guarantee to sell is already there, an advertising beta is only icing on the cake and thus receives my Evil Genius in Marketing Runner Up Award for 2011.
It'll also be interesting to see how many of those keys actually get used between now and then as a slightly non-scientific barometer of future sales. About the only drawback I can see here is that it reeks of needy attention. It all but screams "Please, please please make our Christmas a profitable one?"