Following the falling subscriber numbers, developer BioWare has made the decision to offer gamers a free to play option for massively multiplayer online role playing game Star Wars: The Old Republic.

Players will be able to play the title at no cost until they reach level 50, leaving the whole of the main story free for each of its eight character classes.

They will, however, have to pay through microtransactions or using an in-game currency called Cartel Coins, which is to be launched in the autumn, for higher-level and extra content, such as customisable gear and convenience features.

Gamers who still want to subscribe can, which will give them specified blocks of game time as well as all the extra content that would otherwise require payment. They will also get a free monthly allowance of Cartel Coins to spend in-game.

Those who are subscribed to the game before it becomes free to play will be granted Cartel Coins based on the number of months they have been playing.

Some of the examples of items gamers can buy with the new currency include a Kowakian Monkey Lizard pet, a Sith throne emote and the mask of Darth Nihilus from Knights of the Old Republic II.

"Players want flexibility and choice. The subscription-only model presented a major barrier for a lot of people who wanted to become part of The Old Republic universe,” said Matthew Bromberg, general manager of BioWare Austin.

Jeff Hickman, executive producer of Star Wars: The Old Republic added: "Since launch, we’ve been listening to feedback from our fans and adding new content and refining The Old Republic at a breakneck pace. We believe we are in a position to help improve the service even more, not only by continuing to add new content, but also by expanding the game to many more Star Wars fans, increasing the populations on worlds and the vibrancy of the community."

It is believed the move to free to play was hastened as the number of subscribers to Star Wars: The Old Republic dropped below one million.ADNFCR-1220-ID-801436762-ADNFCR
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