Star Wars: the Old Republic manager explains shift to free-to-play

Thursday, 30 August 2012 11:54 GMT By Dave Cook

Star Wars: The Old Republic is shifting to a free-to-play model after trying to capitalise on subscriptions from launch. General manager at BioWare Austin Matthew Bromberg has revealed to CVG why it’s making the switch.

With dropping subscription numbers, SWTOR’s move makes sense, but why has it taken BioWare Austin so long to see what we’ve all been thinking from day one?

Speaking with CVG, Bromberg explained, “Well we looked at it and thought, what is the size of opportunity for your brand? There are tens of millions of Star Wars fans, how many have tried our game? How many would like to try it? Clearly the awareness of the brand is really high so what’s standing in the way?”

“We did a lot of research and found that people who gave it a try but left found the subscription to be the biggest barrier. So it was a pretty straightforward decision for us.”

With less subscriptions to monetise, it’s unclear how BioWare Austin will respond to the drop in income. Bromberg explained, “Yes there is that risk, but we feel our existing subscribers see the value in the premium experience we are offering. We want to keep that full experience for them.”

“One thing we’re doing is rewarding subscribers with in-game currency for all the time that they’ve been subscribers,” Bromberg added, “and lapsed subscribers will have currency for the time they were there, which offers them a reward for coming back.”

“So our subscribers are going to be advantaged in this world, and from the feedback we’ve got from our subscribers they seem to be happy with it. But it’s not just about how we are charging people for the experience; we are also looking at creating very frequent content updates as well,” Bromberg concluded.