BioWare considering making Star Wars: The Old Republic free to play

BioWare is considering making its $200 million MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic (SWTOR) free-to-play after the game suffered a substantial drop in subscribers, developer layoffs, and impending server merges.

BioWare is considering making its $200 million MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic (SWTOR) free-to-play after the game suffered a substantial drop in subscribers, developer layoffs, and impending server merges.

 
Emmanuel Lusinchi, Lead Designer of the game, told GamesTM magazine: “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.”
 
He added that SWTOR is facing stiff competition from free-to-play titles, many of which are “definitely good games” and that this “impacts [our] plan with what [we] want to do.”
 
The comments were featured in an article on the GamesTM website, quoted from the magazine, but the article has since been removed, suggesting it was published ahead of time or BioWare did not want its free-to-play plans revealed to the public.
 
 BioWare considering making Star Wars: The Old Republic free to play
 
It seems only a matter of time before the game goes free-to-play, however, and it appears that the studio is definitely making plans for the transition to the new payment model. Last week at E3 Zacks Equity Research commented on the impending introduction of micro-transactions to the game: “EA expects to earn significant revenue from additional features and through micro-transactions by selling in-game based items.”
 
This is a model that has been used to great success by competing MMO developer Turbine, which transitioned both its Dungeons and Dragons Online and Lord of the Rings Online games to a free-to-play approach. Both games have since seen huge increases in players and a substantial boost in revenue for the company, lending many other firms to follow suit.
 
The move to free-to-play will take some time, however, as new code needs to be developed to change the game so that it can be bought piecemeal or earned through excessive grind in-game. It is not clear how BioWare will approach things, but it seems that we can definitely expect an in-game store, likely starting with exclusive speeders and pets and progressing from there to include more essential parts of the game.
 
Source: Massively