EA’s MMORPG Star Wars: The Old Republic (or as many a jaded KOTOR fan calls it: Star Wars: Not Knights of the Old Republic 3) has been losing subscribers at a somewhat consistent rate. Last month the active subscriber amount was sitting at 1.3 million which, if you think about it, is still a hell of a lot of players. But seeing as how every MMORPG developer compares their game to Blizzard’s World of Warcraft, 1.3 million isn’t enough.
The Old Republic’s lead designer, Emmanuel Lusinchi, has now said that BioWare Austin is beginning to look at the free-to-play model. Speaking to GamesTM, Lusinchi said: “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.”
What exactly is going on? Well, according to Lusinchi, the MMO market is a volatile one and if developers don’t adapt, then their games are doomed. Makes you wonder why publishers launch new MMOs with subscription models to begin with, doesn’t it?
Lusinchi believes that the quality of an MMO is what justifies a subscription price, however he also believes that many of the free-to-play MMORPGs on offer show exceptional quality.
“I think it’s more than the free-to-play model – it’s more that there is a lot of competitive offers… 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.”
Don’t forget that this just means that BioWare is evaluating its options with regard to The Old Republic – it doesn’t mean the game is definitely going free-to-play. It probably will, but until publisher EA says anything on the matter, you’ll just have to keep paying that monthly subscription.