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Star Wars: The Old Republic Edging Closer To F2P Model

Lead Designer hints at interest in the business model.

Everyone expects it will happen soon enough but it seems that now BioWare are ready to publicly acknowledge the possibility. Lead Designer on The Old Republic, Emmanuel Lusinchi, has been interviewed for an upcoming issue of GamesTM.

Star Wars: The Old Republic has been generally very well received but some large figures have been thrown around regarding falling subscriber numbers. Added to that, the free-to-play model has seen huge growth and much of that is in direct competition to The Old Republic’s genre and increasingly dated paid-for strategy.

Lusinchi seems to indicate that BioWare is monitoring the success of those F2P competitors and basically waiting for the perfect time to switch from a paid model to a free one, should that time ever come.

The MMO market is very dynamic and we need to be dynamic as well. 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

I’ve been told that The Old Republic is well worth a go, even for those who aren’t usually MMO fans. If it went F2P there would be nothing stopping many hesitant Star Wars fans, like myself, who aren’t sure about an MMO from jumping in. So, increasingly, it seems likely to happen but exactly when it might happen is still unknown.

The interview with Lusinchi has potential to be very interesting – a chat with a major developer about a mediocre success in a changing market – so hopefully it won’t all be picked open and posted as news soundbites before we get a chance to read it.

Source: GamesTM

  1. The Lone Steven
    Never heard of him.
    Since: May 2010

    The main problem that SWTOR has is that once you’ve completed the main story there is nothing left to do and chances are people are leaving SWTOR untill there is more content. Well, that is what i’ve heard. Plus, it would have been better off as a single player game, imo.

    When it becomes free to play, and i have a gaming PC, i may give it a try.

    Comment posted on 15/06/2012 at 10:04.
  2. IAmJacksMedullaOblongata
    Since: Nov 2011

    The MMO market is so different to when WoW was at its height. Developers rushed into developing their own in an attempt to grab a slice of the pie. But these games take so long to develop.

    Elder Scrolls Online is probably looking at TOR’s dwindling numbers and thinking: “Oh shit, this is not going to go as well as we initially thought.”

    Even Blizzard, beavering away on the successor to WoW, must be thinking the game has fundamentally changed.

    WoW was an aberration; a fluke. Right place at the right time. In the future all MMOs will be free to play from their beginning. Just my 2c, of course ;)

    Comment posted on 15/06/2012 at 10:25.
  3. Greg Aldridge
    Team TSA: Writer
    Since: Oct 2008

    SW:TOR is great, though I’m short of gaming time at the moment so not giving it all the attention it deserves.
    It’s the first MMO I’ve played and that said seems to strike a good balance between single player and multi-player content. Possibly because there are so many of us new-to-MMO players the community is more welcoming of MMO noobs compared to some of the tales my friends tell me of other well-known MMOs.
    With (currently) four classes and two factions there are eight single-player storylines to experience each of which will get you to (or at least close to) the current level cap (50) as long as you’re prepared to play some side quests too without even bothering with the multi-player aspects.
    When the next update rolls out in July you’ll be able to take a character up to level 15 for free. And of course being an MMO it does not require a very high spec modern PC if you’re prepared to dial down the graphics.

    Comment posted on 15/06/2012 at 10:58.
  4. RocketSOL
    Since: Oct 2008

    I bought SWTOR in january and played for the free month provided with the game. It was my first experience with an MMO and I loved it, partly due to being a massive Star Wars fan. I havn’t gone back to it as i’ve been far too busy but it’s definitely worth having a go. If it does go F2P then I have no excuses to get back on it!

    Comment posted on 15/06/2012 at 12:07.
  5. shields_t
    Since: Oct 2008

    Sadly I just don’t have the time for MMO’s, espcially since I’d lap this one up. I’m going to have even less time when mini-shields_t is born too.

    Comment posted on 15/06/2012 at 13:13.

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