It might mean nothing. Developers tend to talk about calendar years, executives tend to talk about fiscal years.
Thank you! We've got way to many "experts" in this forum that have come up with arbitrary start and cutoff dates for every phase of a massive undertaking they frankly have no clue about. Then, when reality doesn't meet their dreamworld, they come up with new opinions on what actual MMO Developers can and can't do... and it's just ludicrous.
I don't care what Johnny MMO Gamer expected with the alpha and beta schedule. I, for one, do not believe that a development team with over a decade of experience in designing, testing, and releasing an MMO and expansions put forth a 2010 release date with the thought that everything would go smoothly during the Alpha and Beta phases. These phases are MEANT to find mistakes. That's like a Broadway director announcing an opening day under the assumption that there will be no hiccups in rehearsal, choreography, set construction, lighting, costume, and sound design. It never, ever happens that way, so they put wiggle room into their production schedule because, while they may not know what is gonna get behind, they know Something will. And people talented enough to land these jobs know that fact too.
Could XIV slip to 2011? Certainly. But it isn't because they've had a couple week slowdown at the beginning of Alpha. If it does slip, it hasn't had a shot at making 2010 for awhile now, or many more things would have to delay a properly set-up testing phase. Me? I'm gonna listen to what SE says. They've referred to (or inferred) calender year 2010 since the official reveal, including Wada himself less than a month ago. Let's let them actually say it before we start this whole thing. E3 can't get here soon enough, I swear.