Star Wars: The Old Republic to go free to play

EA to adopt free-to-play mode for Star Wars: The Old Republic as players leave

Star Wars: The Old Republic is set to go free-to-play after shedding over a million subscribers since its launch last December

The adoption of the new freemium business model was announced by the game's developer, BioWare, and its publisher, Electronic Arts (EA), who also revealed that the game's number of subscribers have dipped below 1 million. At the time of its release in December, Star Wars: The Old Republic attracted around 1.7 million subscribers.

Under the terms of the new model, players will be able to play the game until their character is up to level 50, although parts of the game's content will be locked off.

The news coincide with the release of EA's first quarter results which showed an overall loss of $130 million for the quarter ending June 30 and net income of $201m, which represent a 5 per cent drop from the same period last year.

SWTOR represents one of the biggest investments that EA have made as a videogame publisher and it's one of the company's flagship titles.

Analysts have estimated that SWTOR cost EA anywhere between $100m and $500m in terms of development costs and marketing, although these figures are purely speculative. EA has declined to confirm these costs, although the President of EA Labels, Frank Gibeau, maintains it's still possible for EA to break even, as long as subscriber figures are around 500,000.