Electronic Arts' Star Wars: The Old Republic has hardly turned out to be the blockbuster the company had hoped for. In order to bolster subscribers willing to spend a monthly fee to play the online title the company has taken an ambitious approach announcing that in July major portion of the game will be open for all players to play free.
EA has struggled to get "Star Wars: The Old Republic" off the ground since its December launch. Just last month the company announced it had lost 400,000 subscribers in its fiscal fourth quarter. Moving to a partially free to play plan might be the jumpstart the game needs. The announcement follows similar decisions made by other developers of the so-called massively multiplayer online game genre, or MMO, which lets millions of gamers play the game together.
From July, EA will offer 15 "levels" for free, meaning gamers will be able to join and play the beginning phases of the game without paying.
In addition to offering free to play content, EA and Star Wars: The Old Republic producer Bioware, have said they will be adding new content such as PvP warzones to the game, more challenging group and high-level content a new version of Nightmare difficulty, new companion characters, playable species, and more.
The free-to-play announcement was one of many at EA's press conference. FIFA 13, Dead Space 3, and new versions of SimCity, Madden Football, and Need for Speed were demoed, while an agreement with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) to produce fighting games and a premium service for Battlefield 3 players were unveiled.