‘WildStar’ Going Free-To-Play, Is The Latest MMO To Drop Sub Fee

WildStar, the quirky, sci-fi/western MMORPG, is going free-to-play. Announced via Twitter this morning, WildStar is the latest major MMO release to drop the subscription fee less than a year from its initial launch.

WildStar‘s free-to-play move is going to launch this autumn, but NCSoft has plenty of information on their website for anyone interested. In explaining the free-to-play move, the developer stated that it was simply to give more players a chance to experience the game.

“Since launch we’ve listened to all of your feedback and worked hard to improve your game experience. Part of that goal has always been to bring more players in to experience WildStar, and that’s what Free-to-Play is all about.”

In an interview with PCGamesN, WildStar’s product director put it bluntly, saying, “[Subscriptions are] the antithesis of inclusivity. You want as many players to play your game, but then you turn around instantly and say ‘Nope, you can’t play the game.’ It doesn’t make any sense.”

WildStar’s free-to-play move comes on the heels of another large MMO dropping its sub fee: The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited. ESO dropped its sub fee, but still requires players to purchase the game to play. WildStar will be different in that it will allow anyone to download and play the frontier-themed MMO, much like the models used by The Lord of the Rings Online and others.

The writing on the WildStar’s wall was plain to see. NCSoft, publisher of WildStar made public their earnings report, showing that WildStar‘s revenues had dropped from $25.5 million to just $5 million by the end of the fiscal year.

Community reaction to WildStar‘s free-to-play transition has been pretty positive, which is great for the game developers. Normally a move like this is met with some animosity by the player base, but so far it’s been overwhelmingly in support of WildStar’s bright future.

For those interested in trying the new free-to-play model before it officially launches, beta sign-ups are available on the WildStar website. Also, WildStar isn’t doing away with the sub fee, but is instead giving player a choice to pay it or not. WildStar also lays out its free-to-play vision in a handy FAQ on their website. For those who maintained a subscription since WildStar’s launch last June, the developers are promising unique items as a thank-you.

Excited about WildStar’s free-to-play transition? Sound off with your thoughts in the comments below.

[Image via WildStar]