Online games, it seems, just want to be free.
Electronic Arts on Tuesday announced that it will offer up substantial portions of its “Star Wars: The Old Republic” multi-player online game to players for free starting this fall. A premium version with unlimited access to all levels, plus any new content, will still be available for $14.99 a month.
The move by the Redwood City, Calif., game publisher is an acknowledgment that the current economic climate makes it virtually impossible for a subscription business model to thrive on the Web, where thousands of free games now compete aggressively for attention.
“Players want flexibility and choice,” Matthew Bromberg, general manager of BioWare Austin, one of several studios that developed the game, said in a statement. “The subscription-only model presented a major barrier for a lot of people who wanted to become part of the ‘Old Republic’ universe.”