The Old Republic unveiled its latest expansion: Galactic Starfighter. I'm looking forward to this. I absolutely loved X-Wing and TIE Fighter back in the day. TIE Fighter in particular is in my Top 10 Best Games Ever, maybe even Top 5. If Bioware can capture a fraction of the magic of those games, I think they'll be very successful.
The most interesting thing about this expansion is how Bioware is releasing it. It's completely free for everyone. However, subscribers get access significantly earlier, about 6 weeks, than Preferred Players. Subs are also the only people who get access over the Christmas break. Then it's another month or so until F2P players get it. That's a lot longer than most early access programs.
It's also a good strategy to reduce server load. Only a portion of the playerbase will be able to try out the new content when it is first released. Then, perhaps when interest among the subscriber set is waning, there will be a rush of new blood.
It's interesting to see The Old Republic pivot back to emphasizing subscriptions. The Hutt Cartel expac is now free to subscribers. Now this new perk of time and exclusivity.
It's interesting that Bioware doesn't seem to be worried about people picking up a sub for 2 months and then dropping back to Preferred. Or maybe they feel that $30 is roughly the price of an expansion, and is $30 they might not have gotten otherwise. Plus they might get away with reporting that subscriptions jumped by a significant number for the last quarter, and then neglect to say anything when they fall back down.
In any case, as a subscriber I'm pretty happy with this method of release. It's a solid perk that makes subscribing worthwhile, but Preferred and F2P players will still get the content eventually. A perk that does not need to be maintained forever.