Old Republic: Transferring to free-to-play 'not easy,' says dev

But "I think it can work for different games," says director

Star Wars: The Old Republic's game director James Ohlen has said he believes MMOs built with the subscription model in mind are tough to transition to a free to play model.


"I think it can work for different games. It really depends on how you go with your game," he told PC Gamer.

"Games that have been built to be free-to-play from the start definitely work out. Now, there have been games that weren't free to play from the start and transferred over to becoming free to play that have worked as well. But it's definitely not something that's super easy to do."

In May EA revealed that its BioWare developed MMO had around 1.3 million subscribers, which was down significantly from 1.7 million in February, a loss of around 400,000 subscribers.

Declining interests in The Old Republic led to layoffs across BioWare. Associate lead Emmanuel Lusinchi later said MMOs are '"the toughest part of the game industry without a doubt" and that the downsizing was difficult to deal with.

At E3 EA announced that Old Republic will be free-to-play for new customers as part of a trial promotion until they reach a pay-wall at level 15.

In a separate interview following the announcement Lusinchi said BioWare must be flexible with pricing systems and that the MMO 'might fully adopt free-to-play' in the future.