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Star Wars: The Old Republic May Go Free-To-Play

By - Source: Shacknews | B 65 comments

The BioWare team is looking into injecting Star Wars: The Old Republic with a free-to-play model.

It should come as no surprise that EA and BioWare are looking to add a free-to-play model into Star Wars: The Old Republic. Despite its success at launch, the MMOG shed 25-percent of its player base between February and the end of March: down from 1.7 million subscribers to 1.3 million. One report even suggested that an average of 334 people were on each server as of May.

To get players interested in the MMOG again, EA and BioWare may introduce a free-to-play model, allowing fans to play within the Star Wars universe without a subscription, and purchase virtual items when they choose. Other competing MMOGs have already moved to this scheme -- EverQuest and EverQuest 2, Dungeons & Dragons Online, etc -- and apparently it works.

In an interveiw with lead designer Emmanuel Lusinchi (that seems to have been pulled as of this writing), Lusinchi admitted that the publisher is looking into adding a free-to-play mode. "Free-to-play games wouldn't be competitors if they weren't any good, but "there are definitely good games out there and good games coming out, so of course all of this competition impacts your plan with what you want to do," he said.

"The MMO market is very dynamic and we need to be dynamic as well" he added. "Unless people are happy with what they have, they are constantly demanding updates, new modes and situations. So we are looking at free-to-play but I can't tell you in much detail. We have to be flexible and adapt to what is going on."

EA and BioWare may need to do something quick in order to keep The Old Republic out of the red. Funcom is launching its subscription-based supernatural MMOG The Secret World nest week. ArenaNet's long-awaited subscription-free Guild Wars 2 and Blizzard's World of Warcraft expansion Mists of Pandaria is also slated to arrive sometime in 2012.

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Top Comments
  • 23 Hide
    brickman , June 16, 2012 2:19 AM
    Would of made more money if it was just KotOR III :|
  • 22 Hide
    Ragnar-Kon , June 16, 2012 1:56 AM
    "Unless people are happy with what they have, they are constantly demanding updates, new modes and situations"
    EXACTLY!!! Nailed it on the head.

    "So we are looking at free-to-play"
    Apparently you really don't get it. Becoming free-to-play does not create content. Create quality content, and people will play. Free-to-play will get them to try, but they aren't gonna stay without content.
  • 21 Hide
    rad666 , June 16, 2012 2:39 AM
    Kami3kThe use to be good studios are now trash thanks to EA, Bioware, DICE, etc. All trash now.

    Not to mention all the good studios EA purchased, ran into the ground, and killed off like Pandemic, Origin, Westwood, etc...
Other Comments
  • 22 Hide
    Ragnar-Kon , June 16, 2012 1:56 AM
    "Unless people are happy with what they have, they are constantly demanding updates, new modes and situations"
    EXACTLY!!! Nailed it on the head.

    "So we are looking at free-to-play"
    Apparently you really don't get it. Becoming free-to-play does not create content. Create quality content, and people will play. Free-to-play will get them to try, but they aren't gonna stay without content.
  • 19 Hide
    DroKing , June 16, 2012 2:05 AM
    I hope you crash and burn EA.
  • 23 Hide
    brickman , June 16, 2012 2:19 AM
    Would of made more money if it was just KotOR III :|
  • -6 Hide
    amk-aka-Phantom , June 16, 2012 2:20 AM
    Quote:
    Despite its success at launch, the MMOG shed 25-percent of its player base between February and the end of March: down from 1.7 million subscribers to 1.3 million.


    400K Mass Effect 3 players are not happy with the single player :D  (and no, this has nothing to do with the endings)

    Ragnar-Kon"Unless people are happy with what they have, they are constantly demanding updates, new modes and situations"EXACTLY!!! Nailed it on the head.So we are looking at free-to-playApparently you really don't get it. Becoming free-to-play does not create content. Create quality content, and people will play.


    I disagree. I won't pay for an MMO, I don't have enough time to play one, but if it's FTP, I'll play it and there will be more than enough content for me.
  • -4 Hide
    kcorp2003 , June 16, 2012 2:20 AM
    DroKingI hope you crash and burn EA.


    that will be bad for gaming in general and for studios who needs money to make their big games. Publishers are in a middle of a transition trying out new things to gain money in this difficult economy. and gaming in general is going thru a transition too.

    the extra credits show is a real eye opener you should check it out.
    http://penny-arcade.com/patv/show/extra-credits
  • 4 Hide
    Kami3k , June 16, 2012 2:23 AM
    kcorp2003that will be bad for gaming in general and for studios who needs money to make their big games. Publishers are in a middle of a transition trying out new things to gain money in this difficult economy. and gaming in general is going thru a transition too. the extra credits show is a real eye opener you should check it out. http://penny-arcade.com/patv/show/extra-credits


    Lol yea ok.

    The use to be good studios are now trash thanks to EA, Bioware, DICE, etc. All trash now.
  • 4 Hide
    tolham , June 16, 2012 2:38 AM
    Ragnar-Kon"Unless people are happy with what they have, they are constantly demanding updates, new modes and situations"EXACTLY!!! Nailed it on the head.So we are looking at free-to-playApparently you really don't get it. Becoming free-to-play does not create content. Create quality content, and people will play.

    i think you have a point, but making the game free-to-play makes it easier for people on the fence to pick it up and end up paying for stuff in other ways. i have no real interest in this game but my one friend says its really great. i have no intention of paying for the game, but if it beomces free-to-play there's a much greater chance i'll start playing and then maybe ill buy something in game later on which is money bioware wouldn't have seen otherwise.
  • 21 Hide
    rad666 , June 16, 2012 2:39 AM
    Kami3kThe use to be good studios are now trash thanks to EA, Bioware, DICE, etc. All trash now.

    Not to mention all the good studios EA purchased, ran into the ground, and killed off like Pandemic, Origin, Westwood, etc...
  • 17 Hide
    invlem , June 16, 2012 3:19 AM
    It doesn't help that people play these games 8 hours a day, and pretty much blow through the content in a matter of 1-2 weeks.

    SW has a ton of content, and quite frankly is one of the most polished (at launch) MMO's I've ever laid my hands on. They did a good job, but couldn't keep up with their customers who eat content at a ridiculously fast pace.

    I think succeeding in the MMO market is much harder now than back when AC, EQ, WoW made their debuts, the gamer has changed, they expect more content, and they fly through content much faster than they used to.

    It also doesn't help that most MMO's today are made to be super easy, you used to have to work to get the high content stuff done, it would take multiple, many attempts to kill a boss. Now all the developers do is bow to the forum spam of crying gamers citing that the content is too hard.

    The challenge is gone because the have to appeal to the crying masses, then the content runs dry because people can get to the end without having to putting effort (and time) into getting through the content.

    That's my rant, summary:
    1. People whine
    2. Content is made easier
    3. Everyone flies through easier content
    4. People whine because there's not enough content
    5. Developer screws them self over in a vicious cycle, they can't keep up with new content demands, they lose subscribers.
  • 0 Hide
    xerroz , June 16, 2012 3:27 AM
    F2P would definitely lengthen this game's lifespan and help EA recoup that massive cost. I played GW2 beta recently and if I was to buy that game I would feel very enticed to buy the boosts they offer in their shop. There's boost that increase the amount of exp you earn or even increase the chance of finding magical items, among other cosmetic stuff and little things like items that summons a vendor or repair npc. I tried the SWTOR beta and thought it was a great game but I can't find myself paying $15 a month since I wouldn't be getting my money's worth because I don't always have time to play so if it went F2P I would definitely start playing it and maybe buy whatever stuff they sell.
  • 0 Hide
    Efrayim , June 16, 2012 3:32 AM
    invlemIt doesn't help that people play these games 8 hours a day, and pretty much blow through the content in a matter of 1-2 weeks.SW has a ton of content, and quite frankly is one of the most polished (at launch) MMO's I've ever laid my hands on. They did a good job, but couldn't keep up with their customers who eat content at a ridiculously fast pace.I think succeeding in the MMO market is much harder now than back when AC, EQ, WoW made their debuts, the gamer has changed, they expect more content, and they fly through content much faster than they used to.It also doesn't help that most MMO's today are made to be super easy, you used to have to work to get the high content stuff done, it would take multiple, many attempts to kill a boss. Now all the developers do is bow to the forum spam of crying gamers citing that the content is too hard.The challenge is gone because the have to appeal to the crying masses, then the content runs dry because people can get to the end without having to putting effort (and time) into getting through the content.That's my rant, summary: 1. People whine2. Content is made easier3. Everyone flies through easier content4. People whine because there's not enough content5. Developer screws them self over in a vicious cycle, they can't keep up with new content demands, they lose subscribers.


    ^This
  • 1 Hide
    vilenjan , June 16, 2012 3:52 AM
    If you want the casual players $$ than you have to make content casual friendly. Games like EQ, AC and DAoC were not casual friendly, and the best of them picked at less than 5% of WoW's subscriber base.
    And yes casuals want the content to be easy and accessible, and yes casuals get bored much faster than the hardcore. But if you want all that $$ than you got to play by those rules.
    SWOTR had a great leveling experience, but the end game was inferior, outdated version fo what WoW had.
  • 1 Hide
    Antimatter79 , June 16, 2012 4:00 AM
    Well damn, if there is a chance it may go F2P, I guess now I'll have to wait b/c I was gonna buy it. I wonder how many new subscriptions they've cost themselves just by saying that. If they're gonna go F2P, I guess they should give some nice in game items or something to players who have purchased the game in maybe the last 30 days from the day they make the switch. Maybe a really cool set of in game items and currency for those who have maintained a paying subscription without lapse since day 1.
  • -1 Hide
    hijaxhfx , June 16, 2012 4:04 AM
    Well i know that if it does i wont play it anymore f2p just seems cheap to me and it then turns into a lot more other issues that i don't wanna see or get into .. i am willing to stick it out for them to fix the mess they made, cause i do love playing the game.
  • 0 Hide
    ScrewySqrl , June 16, 2012 4:28 AM
    no surprise here. I predicted SWTOR would go free-to-play within a year of launch. the subscription model of MMO is dying.
  • -3 Hide
    velocityg4 , June 16, 2012 4:33 AM
    I'm glad the game is spiraling down. With the abysmal number of players I guess this goes to show most KOTOR fans refused to get this bile. Although I doubt they will ever make a KOTOR III. One can always hope. Maybe after this flop and Galaxies they will realize that Star Wars and MMO do not mix.

    I'm at least looking forward to the fan made KOTOR III using the KOTOR II framework to build it. From what I have seen it looks pretty good and has some voice actors. Hopefully this will get finished.
  • 0 Hide
    Kami3k , June 16, 2012 4:34 AM
    ScrewySqrlno surprise here. I predicted SWTOR would go free-to-play within a year of launch. the subscription model of MMO is dying.


    I'll go tell CCP that, oh wait....
  • 3 Hide
    amdfangirl , June 16, 2012 5:14 AM
    velocityg4I'm glad the game is spiraling down. With the abysmal number of players I guess this goes to show most KOTOR fans refused to get this bile. Although I doubt they will ever make a KOTOR III. One can always hope. Maybe after this flop and Galaxies they will realize that Star Wars and MMO do not mix.I'm at least looking forward to the fan made KOTOR III using the KOTOR II framework to build it. From what I have seen it looks pretty good and has some voice actors. Hopefully this will get finished.


    Appeal is the problem. KOTOR 1 & 2 vs. TOR

    KOTOR: You are Revan Sith Lord, redeemed Jedi Master who saves whole Republic... etc. = Super Awesome
    KOTOR 2: You are the Jedi Exile, commited genocide and won the Mandolrian War... etc. = Awesome
    TOR: You are a generic jedi/sith/bounty hunter/soldier who fights a cold war as a little pawn = Meh

    The subscription model doesn't help. P2P subscription means people want to grind through the game asap to save money from having to subscribe again. That means 8 hour gaming days. To stop this, devs need to make more grinding. More grinding = less epicness. I would rather have HQ content with tons of epicness that I can play whenever I want without the pressure of "I got to finish the game before the next monh to avoid the sub fee".
  • -1 Hide
    Kami3k , June 16, 2012 5:49 AM
    amdfangirlTOR: You are a generic jedi/sith/bounty hunter/soldier who fights a cold war as a little pawn = Meh


    You are certainly not a generic jedi or sith.
  • -4 Hide
    airborne11b , June 16, 2012 6:19 AM
    Kami3kLol yea ok.The use to be good studios are now trash thanks to EA, Bioware, DICE, etc. All trash now.


    Funny, because a lot of the really great games have been backed by EA. Ultima Online, Command and Conquer series, Sim City series, The Sims series, Medal of Honor, Battlefield Series, Crysis series, MASS EFFECT TRILOGY!!!, and Deadspace just to name a few good ones.

    Battlefield has been some of the best online gameplay of all time, it's pretty legendary, and BF3 is amazing, especially the new CQ content.

    You haters need to stop ragging on EA.
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