BioWare announced at E3 last week that Star Wars: The Old Republic will be free-to-play for the first 15 levels, but this may be just the beginning for the MMO's FTP venturing.
GamesTM interviewed Emmanuel Lusinchi, the lead designer for SWTOR, and he acknowledged that the free-to-play model was definitely putting on the competitve pressure. “The MMO market is very dynamic and we need to be dynamic as well," Lusinchi said. "Unless people are happy with what they have, they are constantly demanding updates, new modes and situations. So we are looking at free-to-play but I can’t tell you in much detail. We have to be flexible and adapt to what is going on.”
Considering how MMOs are struggling all over, the free-to-play option is probably the smartest for BioWare at this point. It will be interesting to see how far they take it, and if the FTP-model will become an almost mandatory model for any MMO.