Big announcement as part of EA’s earnings conference call yesterday, is that EA will be taking BioWare’s Star Wars: The Old Republic Free 2 Play “this fall” (November)
From the earnings release:
- STAR WARS®: The Old Republic will move to a more accessible two-tiered pricing model in November. Players can chose between a $14.99 premium monthly subscription and a free-to-play model with some restrictions on content and advanced features. Players will be able to purchase upgrades with in-game currency.
On the call itself, EA provided what (to me) is information that contradicts with the F2P conversion of TOR. They stated that TOR only needs 500,000 subscribers to remain profitable, and that the current subscriber count is “substantially” above that mark. From my experience, games switch from subscription to F2P when they’re no longer above that mark… so I don’t understand the switch to F2P less than a year from release (Even STO made it more than a year, and it bled subs faster than TOR).
The conspiracy theory fan in me, is led to believe that EA has planned for TOR to go F2P all along, and is “encouraging” BioWare to convert now, thinking they’ll be able to make more money via the cash store.
The problem is… nothing was announced that would require a cash store to obtain! Yes, they introduced the mandatory “F2P Premium currency” called cartel coins.. but even TOR’s on FAQ is vague on what you’ll be able to buy:
Cartel Coins will be the new in-game virtual currency used for the Cartel Market. Cartel Coins may be used to purchase specialty items that allow you to customize and equip your character cosmetically. With Cartel Coins you will be able to purchase in-game items including customizable gear and convenience features that will enhance the game play experience. Cartel Coins will also be available for purchase from our website in various price packs.
Given that the Collector’s edition vendor hasn’t received a single update since the game was released (despite multiple promised “soon” updates).. I can’t see that there will be a lot of items in the cash store that will ever change (or, change more than once a year). So, a logical guess is that the cash store will sell the various XP boosts, and… xp boosts, maybe with a side of XP boost?