On EA's investors conference call, EA Labels boss Frank Gibeau admits that BioWare's Star Wars: The Old Republic's subscription base has fallen beneath one million and that the publisher has been "disappointed" with the game's performance.
Gibeau also mentioned that the break-even point for the game is 500,000 subscribers and even though the game is well above that figure, the numbers they have now are "not acceptable."
One quick and easy way to fix this dropping playerbase is making the game free-to-play ((F2P); and EA is doing just that -- though, not entirely.
While the game will still have a paid subscription model, it will be offering a tiered F2P option starting this fall. Players will be given access to each of the eight iconic Star Wars character class storylines, all the way up to level 50, with certain restrictions.
"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.
Unlimited game access, including new higher-level game content and new features, will be made available through individual purchases or through a subscription option.
Starting fall of this year, there will be two different ways to play Star Wars: The Old Republic:
- 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.
As a first step for the game having a F2P option this fall, the game will be on sale starting August for $14.99 including one-month of free subscription.
"Since launch, we’ve been listening to feedback from our fans and adding new content and refining The Old Republic at a breakneck pace. 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, " adds Executive Producer Jeff Hickman.
Now that the The Old Republic will have a F2P option, will you be giving it a try or has the ship sailed already for this MMORPG?