Following sales of the game that EA CEO John Riccitiello has called “disappointing,” and a drastic decline in active gamers and subscribers, it’s been announced that Star Wars: The Old Republic will open up free-to-play options to entice more players to the massively multiplayer online RPG.
Opening up this ‘Fall,’ EA will invite players to purchase The Old Republic and play the game with no monthly fees up to a level limit of 50, but with full character class and storyline access. Other restrictions will apply, however, and players still paying a monthly fee will continue to have complete access.
If you’re a free player and you want access to further features of the game, you’ll be able to make individual purchases of content or go for a full monthly subscription. To help spur things along, EA will be reducing the price of The Old Republic this month to $15, with one month’s free access.
GM of BioWare Austin, Matthew Bromberg, said of the move:
“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.”
Here are the main differences between the paid and free options coming to The Old Republic, with a full breakdown further below:
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.
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.
Star Wars: The Old Republic by BioWare and EA was released in December 2011 to initially impressive acclaim and sales, but month-on-month, active subscribers have dangerously declined to below the one million mark despite BioWare Austin’s efforts to add regular new content, features and improvements to the game.
Have you played The Old Republic? Interested in playing it? What are your thoughts on the game and why do you think it has been such a “disappointing” title for EA?