SOE is busy developing Planetside 2 which features free-to-play elements, possibly using an auction house system. F2P is a business model 'here to stay'.
UPDATE: John Smedley has clarified what he told a Chinese website about Planetside 2 in an interview as there was some "really bad translation going on". There will be no "RMT auction house" in SOE's Planetside 2, and its beta isn't locked down yet.
"...while I have publicly mentioned the game will be some form of free to play before...the Blizzard style auction house isn't a part of that. I was asked what I thought of that move by Blizzard I said I thought it was a good idea and it would help with farmers," he said.
"I also said we had done that years ago with Station Exchange. So no.... There is no RMT auction house (in fact we haven't ever even talked about an auction house for the game period). We aren't ready to announce specifics yet but expect something that will be very player friendly. I mentioned League of Legends as something I really liked."
Planetside 2's beta is "aiming for late this year or early next year" - they're unsure. SOE president John Smedly did at least say he believes "SWTOR will be the last large scale MMO to use a sub model." He adds BioWare is "doing an awesome job."
A number of triple A MMO projects have turned from full subscription models to adopting free-to-play, and the studios have seen dramatic increases in revenue. Age of Conan, Champions Online, Dungeons & Dragons and Lord of the Rings Online have all switched.
Sony's John Smedley is a strong supporter of free-to-play. Planetside 2 is scheduled for some major testing later this year in North America. It's possible the shooter MMO will use an auction house system similar to League of Legends or Diablo III to make money.
Even World of Warcraft has gone slightly free-to-play by altering their trial version to allow characters to be played entirely for nothing, capping their maximum level at 20. Will Star Wars: The Old Republic inevitably embrace the ways of F2P?
Star Wars: The Old Republic last 'AAA MMO' with subscriptions [UPDATE]
09 September 2011 | By Simon Priest