After both a leading developer and an Electronic Arts executive have suggested that free-to-play is one of the possibilities for the future of the MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic, one of the leaders of BioWare has also weighed in on the subject and the difficulties of making the transition from subscriptions.
James Ohlen, who is the game director working on Star Wars: The Old Republic
, told PC Gamer that, “I think it can work for different games. It really depends on how you go with your game.”
He added, “Games that have been built to be free-to-play from the start definitely work out. Now, there have been games that weren’t free to play from the start and transferred over to becoming free to play that have worked as well. But it’s definitely not something that’s super easy to do.”
The biggest success story when it comes to moving business model is The Lord of the Rings Online
, the MMO based around the Tolkien books, which started out as a challenger to World of Warcraft and then limited its ambitions and became free-to-play.
The developers at Turbine have since then said that the game has seen an increase in both the number of players and in the revenue that it created.
They have also delivered more content for the game and another big expansion is planned for this year’s fall.
BioWare has already announced that it will allow all interested gamers to create a Star Wars: The Old Republic
account and then play with any character up to level 15 without having to pay for anything.
BioWare also plans to deliver a new planet for subscribers during 2012 and a number of pieces of content for high-level players.
A new quest chain will also be introduced which allows players to get access to the HK-51 assassin droid as a companion.