Permanent free-to-play trial for Star Wars Old Republic

EA in new bid to pour customers into its under-populated MMO

Star Wars the Old Republic will be free-to-play for new customers as part of a trial promotion by Electronic Arts.

Users can play the game completely for free until they reach a "Level 15 Class" pay-wall.

The freemium trial initiative has proven to be a useful tool in bolstering the popularity of other MMOs such as World of Warcraft. It will also allow EA to draw in more active playing users which will likely mask the declining paying player base during EA's quarterly financial briefings.

Old Republic, released in December 2011, peaked at about 1.7 million active users in February. The latest figures show the number fell to 1.3 million.