Old Republic Admits New Reality, Becomes Free-to-Play -- So Yes, This is the End of New Subscription-Only MMOs
Basically to no one's surprise who's been following the game industry closely, the developers of the Star Wars: The Old Republic MMO finally announced it's going free-to-play and freemium, with subscriptions becoming an optional option for full content access:
“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,” said Matthew Bromberg, GM of BioWare Austin.
No kidding. This solidifies my sense that the Old Republic is the end of subscription-based MMOs. I'm willing to predict World of Warcraft introduces a freemium option in the next year or two, with the only hold-outs being legacy, niche MMOs like Eve Online (though I wouldn't bet on that one either). The wonder is it took EA and Bioware so long to admit that freemium was the new reality -- Lum the Mad was talking about what a bad idea subscriptions were last year.