The game that is rumored to have the largest development budget in history is now free to play.
Electronic Arts' MMORPG Star Wars: The Old Republic
has had a hard time holding on to subscribers
since it launched as a pay-to-play game less than a year ago.
Paid subscriptions quickly jumped up to 1.7 million during the game's first two months on shelves, but those subscribers didn't stick around.
By May that count was down to 1.3 million. By the end of July
it was under a million, at which point EA announced to its anxious investors that it would introduce a free-to-play mode.
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EA has never publicly stated the game's development cost, but popular analyst projections range from $150 million to $200 million, which would make The Old Republic
the most expensive game in history, and one that is almost certainly not living up to the company's expectations.
The game still has a subscription model in place: for $14.99 a month, loyal players still get infinite access to all of the game's content. However, a new mode introduced Thursday allows players to play up to level 50 in the game, with some additional restrictions.
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also introduces a virtual currency system, so that players can purchase virtual goods and unlock features with real world money, as is typical with free-to-play titles.