BioWare Austin is considering making Star Wars: The Old Republic free-to-play.
The MMO’s lead designer Emmanuel Lusinchi spoke to GamesTM about possibilities for the game, which has lost 400,000 subscribers since February this year, stating that the studio is “looking at free-to-play”.
"The MMO market is very dynamic and we need to be dynamic as well," explained 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."
Obviously this isn’t concrete evidence of the move (publisher EA has made no comment as of yet), but it obviously shows there’s some conjugation a-happening.
Lusinchi said the rising quality of free-to-play games had affected BioWare's decision-making. "I think it's more than the free-to-play model - it's more that there is a lot of competitive offers," he said.
"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."
It was only last month when we saw layoffs within the SWTOR team, they were accompanied by honest and true comments, again from Lusinchi:
"The MMO is the toughest part of the game industry without a doubt and we live in tough economic times in general."
Apparently the quantity and quality of the game’s content shouldn’t suffer with these recent staff losses. "We have a very large development team still, definitely one of the biggest in the industry, and we have a very complete and detailed plan for the rest of the year," he added.
Star Wars: The Old Republic had 1.3 million users when tallied up at the end of March this year. EA has blamed the loss of subscribers on causal gamers leaving after their first month.