Though the story is developing and we’ll have an update soon, theverge.com is reporting that EA has announced free-to-play intentions for Star Wars: The Old Republic this fall. Earlier this summer, Forbes reported that EA was “looking at free-to-play” but few other details were nailed down.
UPDATE 3:28pm: Gamespot is now reporting via Twitter that the in-store price of The Old Republic will drop to $15 in August, and will come with a one-month subscription.
UPDATE 3:40pm: EA has revealed that each of the eight character story lines will be playable up to level 50, though some restrictions are imposed on free-to-play members. Most of these restrictions apply to extra content and “advanced features,” according to theverge.com.
EA seems to be looking to expand upon the subscription-only methodology that games have had since the mid-2000s. Says Matthew Bromberg, GM of BioWare (a division of EA): “Players want flexibility and choice. “The subscription-only model presented a major barrier for a lot of people who wanted to become part of The Old Republic universe.”
Now, players will be able to choose between free-to-play, full subscriptions, and redeemable Game Time Cards. Subscribers will have the added bonus of receiving Cartel Coins every month, which are used to purchase upgrades and gear in-game.
Executive producer Jeff Hickman cites fan feedback for the change, adding: “”We believe we are in a position to help improve the service even more, not only by continuing to add new content, but also by expanding the game to many more Star Wars fans, increasing the populations on worlds and the vibrancy of the community.”
Along with this announcement of galactic proportions, EA has also released a list of features on The Old Republic‘s website, defining which items will be available for free-to-play gamers, and which require a subscription. That list can be seen here.
UPDATE 4:15pm: EA has now announced that the free-to-play access will go live in November.