When an online MMORPG goes free to play it is usually a sign that the game is facing problems like lack of subscribers, a substantial loss of players or being unsuccessful in the competitive market. A considerable amount of MMORPG developers have decided to follow the free to play route to attract more players. Lord of the Rings online, DC Universe online and Star Trek Online all have allowed players to jump into their worlds with no initial charge and, for the most part, had major success in increasing the player base in their game. This is evident in the first week of DC Universe going free to play with 1 million new players coming into their game.
Star Wars: The Old Republic had a great start with the initial release selling 2 million copies, with 1.7 million daily users, making TOR the fastest growing MMO in history. Recently Knights of the Old Republic has lost 400,000 players and are now standing at 1.3 million active players. This is nearly 25 percent of the initial player base that have stopped playing. An interview with BioWare Lead Designer Emmanuel Lusinchi and GamesTM has stated in interest in the free to play model stating “We are looking at free-to-play, but I can’t tell you in much detail.”
Lusinchi has said that the MMO game space is dynamic so they must also be dynamic. He states “Unless people are happy with what they have, they are constantly demanding updates, new modes and situations.”
The interview was posted up on GamesTM website but was quickly pulled down.