Despite a rough start, Star Wars: The Old Republic has enjoyed the spoils of a free-to-play business model since last July. Not only has it introduced a wealth of new players, but it has made the game much more profitable for EA.
EA President of Labels Frank Gibeau stated during the latest earnings call:
Since it was induced in November, we've added more than 1.7 million new players on the free model to the service, and the number of subscriptions has stabilized at just under half a million.
The really interesting thing that's happening inside the service right now is monthly average revenue for the game has more than doubled since we introduced the free-to-play option.
Almost exactly a year ago I predicted that free-to-play would become the new standard, and it appears it has. Virtually every upcoming MMO, barring Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, is deferring to use the free-to-play model with a cash shop.
On one hand it's nice that you and your friends can play a game without having to pull out your wallets, but the way free-to-play has been implemented has done more harm than good. Several games, including Neverwinter, provide serious advantages to those who cough up money. These games aren't taking notes from Dota 2 or Path of Exile which find a way to be profitable without making purchases seemingly required, not by a long shot.