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Updated: Star Wars: The Old Republic BioWare looking into free-to-play

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UPDATE

games™ would like to make a correction to the original article posted 14 June.  While Emmanuel Lusinchi was discussing whether Old Republic could transition to other business models, we misquoted the lead designer in the original post. Lusinchi did not explicitly use the words “free-to-play” but did answer a question about the possibility of The Old Republic going free-to-play by saying “we are looking into everything.”

Here is the entire quote from the interview: “The MMO market is very dynamic and we need to be dynamic as well,” he says. “We are looking at everything but I can’t tell you in much detail. This decision is a little bit above my pay grade. We have to be flexible and adapt to what is going on.”

EA Labels President Frank Gibeau recently spoke to GamesIndustry.biz about the future of Star Wars: The Old Republic: “We’re going to be in the business from a long term standpoint so absolutely we’re going to embrace free access, free trial, ultimately some day we can move in and embrace that model. It’s all a matter of timing and thinking things through. We have a great business right now and we’re not looking to make any abrupt changes.”

EA announced at E3 that Star Wars: The Old Republic would include free-to-play up to level 15. Whether or not this was what Lusinchi was referring to or whether BioWare has larger plans for free-to-play remains to be seen.

ORIGINAL STORY

BioWare’s Star Wars: The Old Republic has faced some hard times since launching at the tail-end of 2011. Lead designer Emmanuel Lusinchi discusses the effects of losing over 400,000 subscribers earlier in the year and facing off increasingly stiff competition from free-to-play competitors.

 

“I think it’s more than the free-to-play model – it’s more that there is a lot of competitive offers,” suggests Lusinchi. “If it was just free-to-play games and they weren’t very good it wouldn’t even be a question but there are definitely good games out there and good games coming out, so of course all of this competition impacts your plan with what you want to do. Unless people are happy with what they have, they are constantly demanding updates, new modes and situations.”

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Still, the advantages of free-to-play haven’t gone unnoticed by the developer. Asked whether it would be feasible to adapt The Old Republic to a free-to-play model, Lusinchi confirms that BioWare has been investigating the model.

“The MMO market is very dynamic and we need to be dynamic as well,” says Lusinchi. “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.”

Read the full interview with Emmanuel Lusinchi in games™ issue 124 out 5 July. Subscribe to games™ in print or digitally.

Further Reading

5 videogame climaxes better  than Mass Effect 3’s ending
Kinect Star Wars review
Could Origin’s rise eventually threaten Steam?



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  1. Jota

     You mean, the stuff they said would release cosntantly and sudently become an xpac for extra $$ that they don’t get anymore from subs? They’re very low on pop right now…

  2. Niezgrani.pl - o grach od innej strony. Czyżby Star Wars: The Old Republic miało przejść w model free-to-play?

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  3. jgelling

    I agree with SWTOR’s lead designer: the problem isn’t just free to play, the problem is the free to play competitors are actually good games.

    Maybe if SWTOR were a good game with replay value it could compete with those other games?

  4. jgelling

    Also, that picture above about does it for the horrible character art in this game: we have a Sith assassin(?) dressed like a clown, wearing a hockey mask and apparently using his Force flamethrower power? WTF?

    That’s either an evil Sith pictured above or Bobo The Clown’s having a falling-down day.

  5. Heatherrainlover

    They do release content steadily and will have another huge content release, 1.9, before the expansion even comes out.

  6. DurkaDurkaStan

    I didn’t believe that when it was said in the first place.. expecially considering it didn’t really change anything.. it just had a good story that you didn’t have to read.

  7. Joe Loder

    Combined with the disaster that was Dragon Age II, I have lost a ton of faith in Bioware.

    That being said, the Free-To-Play movement will work if it’s done right.  Star Trek: Online is the model to follow there.  Make it possible to play right to the maximum level, and then give an in game system to earn the premium content (Though it takes a powerfully long time to earn) and also sell the premium content for cash, and it’ll work.

    Even as big a Trek nerd as I am, I would never have played the game if I had to pay for it monthly.  But they got me hooked on the F2P model, and have made money off of me wanting a lot of the premium ships and other gear.

    SW:TOR would benefit, and they might even get me in.

  8. Danko

    Adapt or Die.  BioWare understands this.  The industry standard revenue model is now Free to Play, even Crytek announced it will no longer make pay to play games ever, console or PC.  I am willing to bet in 5 years there will no longer be a subsciption based MMO on the market, not even WoW

  9. Ethern33

    Why don’t they just have a limited free to play. And if you want updates you have to pay for members? That way people can at least see whether or not its worth paying for.

  10. Star Wars: The Old Republic’s Long Road to Free-to-Play | Games Impulse

    […] SWTOR Lead Designer Emmanuel Lusinchi acknowledges to GamesTM that SWTOR could be free-to-play before the year is out. The original post read: “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.” It was later amended to read that Luscinchi had actually said “We are looking at everything but I can’t tell you in much detail. This decision is a little bit above my pay grade.” (Source: GamesTM) […]

  11. SWTOR FREE TO PLAY TIMELINE - GOOD BORROWED ARTICLE - WINZEN_TWEEN: Blog - IGN

    […] SWTOR Lead Designer Emmanuel Lusinchi acknowledges to GamesTM that SWTOR could be free-to-play before the year is out. The original post read: "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." It was later amended to read that Luscinchi had actually said "We are looking at everything but I can't tell you in much detail. This decision is a little bit above my pay grade." (Source: GamesTM) […]

  12. Star Wars: The Old Republic’s Long Road to Free-to-Play | PlayFTW! | Play For The Win!

    […] SWTOR Lead Designer Emmanuel Lusinchi acknowledges to GamesTM that SWTOR could be free-to-play before the year is out. The original post read: “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.” It was later amended to read that Luscinchi had actually said “We are looking at everything but I can’t tell you in much detail. This decision is a little bit above my pay grade.” (Source: GamesTM) […]

  13. ARSE Gaming » News » Archive » Star Wars: The Old Republic’s Long Road to Free-to-Play

    […] SWTOR Lead Designer Emmanuel Lusinchi acknowledges to GamesTM that SWTOR could be free-to-play before the year is out. The original post read: “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.” It was later amended to read that Luscinchi had actually said “We are looking at everything but I can’t tell you in much detail. This decision is a little bit above my pay grade.” (Source: GamesTM) […]


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