Star Wars: The Old Republic Goes Free to Play, BioWare Explains Why
BioWare explains why their MMO is going free to play.
Star Wars: The Old Republic hasn't lived up to the expectations of its creators. The company's attempts to capitalize on a subscription-based model similar to World of Warcraft and other MMOs have met with little success.
Soundly dropping in subscriptions mere months after its release, its makers at EA and BioWare Austin have announced plans to make the game free-to-play to bring those numbers back up and welcome players back into the game.
Amid the decline in users, the move towards free-to-play makes sense, but BioWare Austin is only now coming clean with why they didn't opt for the more sensible model upon the game's launch to begin with.
In a new interview with Computer & Video Games, BioWare Austin's Matthew Bromberg asked a few rhetorical questions,
"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."
Not without a plan, BioWare Austin will monetize the free-to-play version of the game by rewarding players who've subscribed to the game, and reward those who've left for coming back.
"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."
With the additional bonuses and in-game currency, subscribers will be advantaged among free-to-play players. According to the studio, players who were polled seemed happy with the decision—although I personally can't help but wonder whether they were simply pleased to know that the game wouldn't be shutting down any time soon.