'Star Wars: The Old Republic' is still pulling in well over $7.5m per month. Photo: AFP
Having launched its subscription-based assault on the west's dominant online role-playing game World of Warcraft in December 2011, Star Wars: The Old Republic is to add a substantial free-to-play option during November 2012.
Following a February high of 1.7 million subscribers (in contrast to WoW's December numbers of 10.2m), publisher Electronic Arts revealed on July 31 that numbers had dipped under the 1 million mark, while remaining above the 500,000 that were needed to keep the game in profit.
To that end, a subscription option will be kept on the table, offering the full range of character creation choices and weekly bonus missions, as well as priority access to and faster navigation around the gameworld in exchange for $14.99 a month.
The move will have been made with an eye on the August 28 launch of Guild Wars 2, made by ArenaNet of Washington State and published by NCSoft of South Korea, and a title which requires one up-front payment (roughly the same price as a standard retail game) with no monthly fees and a focus on socially motivated adventuring.