With BioWare and Electronic Arts reassuring players and analysts that Star Wars: The Old Republic is doing fine – both in terms of content and growth – the company has shown quite the opposite. Actions like free time, server mergers and layoffs generally point to disgruntled players and underpopulated servers. Clearly, the companies have taken actions to stem the bleeding, but few expected the idea of free-to-play to come out of Lead Designer Emmanuel Lusinchi’s mouth.
In a since-pulled interview with GamesTM, Lisinchi stated that “We are looking at free-to-play, but I can’t tell you in much detail. We have to be flexible and adapt to what is going on.”
Talk about a bombshell.
Lisinchi goes on to say that the investigation isn’t specifically related to the drop in subscription numbers. The main issue is competition coming from the F2P sector. Perhaps the first outright admission by a AAA game, Lisinchi states that “there are definitely good games out there and good games coming out.”
I’ll say. Firefall, the subscriptionless Guild Wars 2, SMITE, End of Nations and many more point to the F2P business model finalizing its stance as a disruptive innovation. Ushering in MMOGs as piecemeal consumption items instead of a retail product with Software as a Service (SaaS) attached.
Why the article was pulled? That’s a completely different story. Without a specific retraction coming from GamesTM, the safe bet is that the news wasn’t supposed to get out in this fashion.