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

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.

  • 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-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.
    Reply
  • DroKing
    I hope you crash and burn EA.
    Reply
  • Would of made more money if it was just KotOR III :|
    Reply
  • amk-aka-Phantom
    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.
    Reply
  • kcorp2003
    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
    Reply
  • Kami3k
    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.
    Reply
  • tolham
    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.
    Reply
  • rad666
    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...
    Reply
  • invlem
    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.
    Reply
  • xerroz
    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.
    Reply