There has been speculation for some time that EA and Bioware’s MMO would go free to play and today during EA’s investor call they finally announced that the game will be going free to play.
Less than a year after launch the MMORPG will remove the subscription model which Bioware stated was a “major barrier” for those who want to join the game. There will still be a subscription model for those who want all the perks and ” Cartel Coins” to buy gear and other items. However, the game will be essentially free up to level fifty for all classes supported with microtransactions. There will be restrictions for free to play players but these have yet to be announced.
Star Wars: The Old Republic subscription levels have dipped from 1.7 million shortly after launch at the start of 2012 to below 1 million according to EA President Frank Gibeau, but they are above the half million mark according to Gibeau.
With this latest announcement are we seeing one of the last big attempts at a subsciption model for an MMO? All indications are that future MMO titles are moving toward a free to play model supported by microtransactions.
Blizzard will have been watching this move closely, and with big changes coming to World of Warcraft in the Mists of Pandaria expansion, Blizzard could follow suit in the future to help keep WoW subscription numbers up.
Boiware has now released a free to play FAQ to help players understand the changes.