Star Wars: The Old Republic Going F2P

Why am I always surprised when Forbes talks about mmos?

So, BioWare is setting this up as a freemium style game. Either you play for free with some sort of restrictions and have the option to go after microtransactions, or pay for a sub and get some bonuses.

What confuses me is what’s going to happen to that initial cost to buy into SWTOR. They have two obvious options: abandon the buy in for the game, or keep it and turn the game into a semi guild wars style system. Lets look at the ramifications of both.

Free to Start Scenario

This payment system will turn SWTOR into a pure freemium game: anyone can start and play for free, but if you want the real goods you have to sub up.

Buuuuuuuuuuuuut, there’s a problem. What about all of those people who’ve already paid to buy the original game. Sure BioWare can give them some bonuses for being loyal and all, but how will they feel when people start getting for free the things they had to pay for. Not a solid way to build a cohesive and loving community if you ask me.

Buy to Play Scenario

This is the situation I think is more likely, mostly because of this quote from the press release about the game going F2P:

As the first step towards adding the new Free-to-Play option this fall, in August at retail Star Wars: The Old Republic will go on sale for $14.99 USD, including one-month of free subscription

unless they are trying to get as many people buy the game as quickly as possible before saying “Oh, you don’t actually need this to play!” (Not gonna lie, this is totally possible.)

But in the more reasonable scenario where people will still need to buy the game to start playing, BioWare will have somehow given this game every single possible means of monetization. Not only will they be getting income from the initial buy in and the subs from those who do pay, but also from the microtransactions.

It’s a buy to play freemium item shop game?

Anyway, I’d like to see how this all pans out. Also, if they do put everything on sale and then screw everyone over, I get to say that I told you so…

-key

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