RMT Impact of SWTOR Going Free-to-Play

By Frank Lewis,
Star Wars Wars: the Old Republic will be shifting to a free-to-play model sometime this Fall, and we theorize what this might mean for the demand, supply and price of SWTOR Credits.

News of the free-to-play conversion broke over the weekend, and it was executive producer Jeff Hickman who explained why the subscription only model was no longer working for the sci-fi MMO.

Hickman said monthly subscriptions served as a "major barrier" for fans who want to play the game but cannot afford to. "Many players who have left the game said they would happily come back if they could play without the commitment of a monthly fee," Hickman said.

Free-to-Play Model Details
SWTOR has been bleeding subscribers for quite some time now (down to a million players by last official count) and the new free-to-play model should bring back a portion of those who left.

Under the free-to-play model, there will be two classes of players. Subscribers who continue paying the monthly fee will receive unlimited access to all game features and future Game Updates at no additional charge. Meanwhile, free players can level all the way up to 50 (free trial before only limited characters to level 15) without shelling out a single cent although they will receive "game play restrictions that limit game options and access to certain game content," said Hickman.

This kind of two-tier player system was also implemented in DC Universe Online, which proved massively successful. Millions returned to the superhero MMO after it opened a free-to-play option.

RMT Implications
A resurgence of SWTOR players will boost demand for the in-game currency. Assuming that free players will be allowed to raid, PvP and purchase from the marketplace, then RMT sellers should see orders spike this Fall. Free players - led by so-called big spenders or "whales" -- are known to spend a lot on their favorite free online games so it will be up to each shop how to lure the incoming free-to-play crowd.

The supply of SWTOR Credits should skyrocket as well as more farmers - both of the professional and casual kind - flood the game. But this would take some time. One of the fastest ways to grind SWTOR Credits is through completing daily missions that are only unlocked for the highest- level characters.

Lastly, in terms of prices, SWTOR Credits prices should hold steady, if the EverQuest free-to-play example in March is any indication. EverQuest Platinum prices kept relatively even over the three months after the long-running MMO turned free-to-play.

If anything, SWTOR Credits prices will be mainly determined by the how much new demand overwhelms new supply, which will be slow to come. There is also the gambit factor posed by the SWTOR cash shop, whose additional wares might compete for the share of budget players allocate for SWTOR Credits.

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