EA and BioWare announced today that it will be expanding Star Wars: The Old Republic by adding a new free-to-play option this fall.
This option will give players access to each of the eight character classes and storylines up to level 50, with certain restrictions.
Unlimited game access, including new higher-level game content and new features, will be made available through individual purchases or through a subscription option.
“Players want flexibility and choice. The subscription-only model presented a major barrier for a lot of people who wanted to become part of The Old Republic universe,” said Matthew Bromberg, GM of BioWare Austin.
The game will also go on sale for $15 in August with a free month as an incentive to get people playing.
“Since launch, we’ve been listening to feedback from our fans and adding new content and refining The Old Republic at a breakneck pace,” added Jeff Hickman, the game’s executive producer.
“We believe we are in a position to help improve the service even more, not only by continuing to add new content, but also by expanding the game to many more Star Wars fans, increasing the populations on worlds and the vibrancy of the community.”
- Subscription — A service designed for players who want unrestricted access to all the game features via ongoing subscription or by redeeming a Game Time Card. In addition to gaining access to all game content as our current subscribers do now, subscribers will receive ongoing monthly grants of Cartel Coins, the new virtual currency that will be introduced later this fall. Cartel Coins can be used to purchase valuable in-game items including customizable gear and convenience features that will enhance the game play experience.
- Free-To-Play — The first 50 levels will be Free-to-Play, with restrictions on access to new content and advanced player features. Some restrictions can be “unlocked” with Cartel Coins.
During its Q1 FY13 call to investors, CEO John Riccitiello called “sales of SWTOR disappointing”, but it was offset by sales of the Battlefield 3 Premium Service.
Star Wars: The Old Republic has less than a million subscribers, at present, and the firm said during its call 40% of players didn’t like paying a subscription, and many said they would come back if it went F2P.
EA announced during its Q3 FY12 call the sub base went from 1.7 million subscribers to 1.3 million, which is a 25% decline.