The Old Republic goes free-to-play

The Old Republic goes free-to-play
Craig Chapple

By Craig Chapple

November 16th 2012 at 10:53AM

New microtransactions and virtual currency system options implemented into MMO

Bioware’s MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic has gone free-to-play.

The move to add a free option comes after the title has struggled since its release as a subscription-based game, garnering around one million users.

Although the subscription model has been kept intact, users can now play the game completely for free up to level 50, with new micro-transaction and virtual currency options implemented into the title.

"We want to give our players the freedom to enjoy Star Wars: The Old Republic when and how they want," said BioWare Austin GM Matthew Bromberg.

"There has never been a better time to start playing with us."

Despite early success for the title, which saw it accrue more than one million subscribers, making it the fastest-growing MMO of all time, subscription numbers peaked shortly after at around 1.6 million before declining.

As a result, BioWare Austin was forced to lay off a number staff as part of corporate restructuring in May, with the MMO having lost 25 per cent of its subscription base at the time.

The Old Republic reportedly cost publisher EA around $150m-to-$200m to develop, which if true would make it the most expensive game ever made.