Star Wars: The Old Republic goes free-to-play up to level 50 this fall

dayz hits 1 million users star wars the old republic free to play

Not even one full year after the MMO’s release, EA and BioWare will make Star Wars: The Old Republic a free-to-play game. The companies announced on Tuesday that, with some restrictions, they’ll be able to play through eight character class progressions up to level 50 come this fall.

“Players want flexibility and choice,” says Matthew Bromberg of BioWare Austin in a press release, “The subscription-only model presented a major barrier for a lot of people who wanted to become part of The Old Republic universe.”

“Since launch, we’ve been listening to feedback from our fans and adding new content and refining The Old Republic at a breakneck pace. 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,” says executive producer Jeff Hickman.

What’s unspoken in these sunny, benevolent press release statements is that Star Wars: The Old Republic is shifting to a free-to-play model out of desperation, not altruism. In February of this year, 1.7 million people were playing The Old Republic, and many of them were not monthly subscribers yet. That number fell to 1.3 million by May. Even after losing 400,000 players just months after the game’s December 2011 release, it looked like EA and BioWare’s troubles were just beginning.

Hence why both companies have rushed to bolster the game’s population with free-to-play content. In July, The Old Republic became free up to level 15. Designer Emmanuel Lusinchi said in June, “The MMO market is very dynamic and we need to be dynamic as well. Unless people are happy with what they have, they are constantly demanding updates, new modes, and situations. So we are looking at free-to-play but I can’t tell you in much detail. We have to be felxible and adapt to what it going on.”

Designer Daniel Erickson meanwhile refused to tell Digital Trends in July if the game would go fully free-to-play in the near future.

The plan now is to make the game available for just $15 in August in time for the free to level 50 option to hit in the fall. A new virtual currency called Cartel Coins will accompany the free-to-play transition, with many game features requiring additional purchases using the coins.

The monthly subscription MMO is officially on life support. Only World of Warcraft remains.

Editors' Recommendations

Movies & TV

Pedro Pascal officially cast as 'The Mandalorian' as Disney show fills out cast

The Mandalorian, Jon Favreau's live-action Star Wars series planned for Disney's streaming video service, will be one of the most expensive television shows ever made. Here's everything we know about it so far.
Mobile

Looking for flexible and inexpensive phone service? Check out our favorite MVNOs

Looking to switch from a major carrier to something a little more affordable? Luckily, there are a ton of great MVNO options to choose from. Check out our guide to the best MVNOs, from Boost Mobile to Google Fi.
Home Theater

Kill your cable and switch to streaming with our painless guide

If you're going to quit cable or satellite for a streaming TV solution, you're going to want to get it right the first time. We've outlined exactly how to get started, step by step. Follow our lead, and you'll never look back.
Home Theater

New TV? Here's where to go to watch the best 4K content available

Searching for content for your new 4K UHD TV? Look no further. We have every major source of the best 4K content, along with the cost, hardware requirements, and features that make each service worth a look.
Gaming

Some ‘Fortnite’ players aren’t too happy with the new Infinity Blade weapon

The most recent update for Fortnite added the Infinity Blade melee weapon to battle royale, and some players aren't happy with how much it has changed the game during competitions.
Gaming

Soulja Boy’s ‘new’ console appears to include stolen Nintendo games

Rapper Soulja Boy recently released his SouljaGame console, and it includes several emulated games that appear to be stolen from companies like Nintendo, SNK, and Capcom. A handheld version is also available.
Gaming

These are the best video games you shouldn't leave 2018 without

Developers showed up with a number of amazing games this year. Each capitalized on something unique but there's always one that outdoes them all. Here are our picks for the best video games of 2018 and game of the year.
Computing

Razer’s classic DeathAdder Elite gaming mouse drops to $40 on Amazon

If you're looking to pick up a new gaming mouse for the holidays, Amazon has you covered with this great deal on the classic Razer DeathAdder Elite gaming mouse with customizable buttons, RGB lighting, and a 16,000 DPI optical sensor.
Gaming

Xiaomi’s Gamepad 2.0 turns the Black Shark into a mini Switch

Chinese phone manufacturer Xiaomi has introduced the Gamepad 2.0 for its Black Shark gaming phone that launched earlier this year. The new gamepad is similar to the Switch Joy-Con, with one piece attaching to each side of the phone.
Gaming

How do Nintendo Switch, Xbox One X compare to each other? We find out

The Nintendo Switch is innovative enough to stand apart from traditional consoles, but could it become your primary gaming system? How does the Switch stack up against the Xbox One?
Gaming

Skateboarding legend says ‘Tony Hawk’s Skate Jam’ will appeal to his fans

Tony Hawk's Skate Jam is now available for free on iOS and Android devices, and Digital Trends had the chance to talk to the legendary skater about its development and how it captures the magic of his best games.
Gaming

Cops called to handle ‘Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’ noise end up playing the game

A group of friends were playing Super Smash Bros. Ultimate on the Nintendo Switch when cops arrived to respond to noise complaints from neighbors. In an unexpected twist, the officers ended up playing the game, too.
Gaming

The third DLC for ‘Spider-Man’ swings onto PlayStation 4 next week

The third part of Spider-Man's episodic DLC, Silver Lining, releases on December 21. The episode focuses on Silver Sable and Hammerhead, and it includes three new suits for Peter Parker.
Gaming

Have a spooky dance party at an abandoned mansion with Fortnite's new challenges

The Fortnite season 7, week 2 challenges have arrived in Battle Royale. From searching for chests to dancing off at an abandoned mansion, here's how to do them and the rewards you get for completing them.