BioWare Considering Star Wars: The Old Republic Going Free-to-Play in the Future

BioWare’s Emmanuel Lusinchi, lead designer on the company's MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic, says that the company is looking into the possibility of switching the game from its current monthly subscription-based business model to free-to-play. Speaking to GamesTM, lead designer Emmanuel Lusinchi said that the MMO space is ever evolving, and acknowledges that BioWare must adapt to the changes.

"The MMO market is very dynamic and we need to be dynamic as well," Lusinchi said. "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."

Of course, BioWare would be foolish not to consider the free-to-play model. Even though they haven't said it publicly, even Blizzard is considering changes to World of Warcraft at some point. Companies like Sony Online Entertainment and Turbine have moved the majority of their games to a free-to-play model.

Star Wars: The Old Republic launched in December of last year, attracting 1.7 million paying subscribers by February. Last month Electronic Arts acknowledged that the game had lost 400,000 subscribers, falling to 1.3 million paying users.

Update: The interview over at GAMESTM has been yanked and gives a 404 error when you try to visit it.

Source: GameSpot

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  1. 0
    GrimCW says:

    lol sounds like EA is going for some damage control with that update. how long before someone at EA denies the comments for him, or gets him to deny them, and then goes into a few other cover ups before it goes live and EA denies then they ever denied it was going to happen :p

    bet the guy is on report too for saying that.  as to WoW.. they've already started a partial F2P in that lvls 1-20 are all free to play for anyone. unless they removed that.

  2. 0
    GrimCW says:

    thats only the trial period, bioware is considering further F2P options supposedly, as in full game F2P with premium content locked ala Everquest/Everquest 2 style i'd imagine for subscribers.

    and the same can be said for ANY MMO that has a decent sized player base, yet we've seen some pretty major MMO's goes F2P very quickly as of late. the everquests weren't exact unpopulated among others.  ya gotta figure, 15 bux a month for 1000 people alone is 180,000 a year, and theres no doubt these games are still well over that when they went F2P despite lacking content updates and patches. throw in that half of'em already had in game stores, and sold/sell expansions.. even more made.

  3. 0
    Attack_Gypsy says:

    SWTOR F2P is level 1-15, which means you get the starting world and the capital world, that's it. Period. It isn't much, although some of the quests at that level are pretty awesome.


    I doubt SWTOR will go full F2P anytime in the next 2-3 years. They are making money. About 15 million a month or so.

  4. 0
    faefrost says:

    Buy to Play like Guild Wars, with a 6 month expansion schedule would have been perfect for the game. With each pack advance the character class stories and quests. That is what the game is good at, and that is what people would have paid for each cycle. Sort of a Mix between an MMO and Mass Effect. But there is nothing there to make an ungoing subscription worthwhile once you hit max level and the story runs out.

  5. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    Glad to hear it – played the beta and mildly enjoyed it.  However, I never felt it was worth a subscription, and have been proven right by all the stories of post-launch woes.  I always said, though, that if it was free-to-play ala Dungeons and Dragons, or buy-to-play ala Guild Wars, I'd be on it like white on rice.

  6. 0
    -Jes- says:

    The only thing that can ever outright 'kill' an mmo (or even a game), least of all the WOW juggernaut, is it's own creators.

    Platinum Example: Starwars Galaxies

  7. 0
    GrimCW says:

    meh never got into WoW, to basic and it kinda ruined the story for me in Warcraft 3 when they brought back Uthar and Grom, whom both died in the Warcraft 2 expansion first mission for either race.

    among other petty nuances :p

    i think its biggest saving feature is its ability to run on horribly low end computers with virtually no loss in anything visual or performance. that and since Starcraft was such a hit in the asian countries i swear Blizzard could sell a box of digital turds and they'd suck'em up faster than  than ya could bat an eye.

    not saying they don't have quality, they do, they def do, but the quality is blown way out of proportion to the actual end product IMO.

  8. 0
    hellfire7885 says:

    Indeed. I mean, many called this a "WoW killer" which to me raised expectations.

    Say what you will about Blizzard, for everything they do wrong, they do a fuck ton more right.

  9. 0
    GrimCW says:

    yar, among other issues such as the LFG system being terrible.

    tbh for a game that allows for so much solo play, i'm disappointed i can't enjoy the side stories of some flashpoints and such without spending hours finding a group in an empty server.

    i don't play enough to get into a guild, and i'm of the "age group" where most people i know wouldn't even know what the game is, let alone ever touch it. makes things outright terrible in regards to finding gaming partners that wouldn't get me accused of being some sort of pedo freak with the way society thinks these days.  last thing i need is some phsyco parent sending cops my way simply for having left a voice com on their kids Xbox profile. even though i still subscribe to the "DO NOT give out ANY personal information over the internet" rule of my younger days… as such, i don't even use facebook :)

    back to the game though. they've added lots of new fun content (again though most of it only enjoyable to guilded players/friends) and even tried to fix the bad LFG system, but they haven't exactly worked out class roles being.. well… actual roles.. problem with over balancing and making things soloable right through end game is it obscures players idea's of what they are class wise.

  10. 0
    GrimCW says:

    see, not even a year in and considering it already..

    and people stood up and claimed it'd never even get considered, nor that the games population had ever gone down… yet both instances only months apart have been confirmed.

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