BioWare on SWTOR F2P: Not Trying to Squeeze Every Penny Out of It
Speaking with CVG, BioWare Austin’s general manager, Matthew Bromberg, said the studio is trying to figure out how to “grow” its business, but it wouldn’t be trying to nickel-and-dime players in order to do it. First and foremost, the conversion to free-to-play is to get more people into the game, he said.
“Obviously we are a business and we have to grow that business, but my primary intention is to make as many people play this beautiful game that we’ve made,” Bromberg said. “It just so happens that the business will naturally grow as more people come to play the game, but we’re not trying to squeeze every single penny out of it.”
Bromberg said moving to the free-to-play model for SWTOR made sense given how many Star Wars fans there are out there in the world. The plan is to grow the game and its player base, largely because BioWare was finding that the subscription model was what was turning players off.
“We looked at it and thought, what is the size of opportunity for your brand? There are tens of millions of Star Wars fans, how many have tried our game? How many would like to try it? Clearly the awareness of the brand is really high so what’s standing in the way?,” he said. “We did a lot of research and found that people who gave it a try but left found the subscription to be the biggest barrier. So it was a pretty straightforward decision for us.”
It has been a pretty complex task to move SWTOR from a paid model to a F2P one, though, Bromberg said. And while BioWare has high hopes that the conversion will bring in more players, it sounds as if this is a pretty big learning curve for the company.
When CVG asked, straight up, if Bromberg thought F2P would make more money than the subscription model did, he said, “I don’t know.” But it sounds as though he and BioWare at least thinks it’ll bring people back to its MMO. That might be enough of a start, at least.
Check out the complete interview right here.
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