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.