TERA changing to Free-to-play in Japan and Korea
Man, Japan gets everything cool first! TERA, the action-MMO with a fantasy setting, is being changed into a free-to-play game in Korea and Japan. TERA launched on PC in South Korea in January 2011, notably ahead of the May 2012 release date for North America and Europe. Maybe it's that difference in the release dates as the reason why there's no plans (as of now) to make the game free-to-play in North American.
On the En Masse Entertainment forums, Community Manage Catherine "Minea" Park wrote this regarding the change in business model:
As you may have read today, NHN (the publisher for TERA in Korea) has decided to change TERA’s business model to be free. The industry has shifted in this direction and the Korean gaming market has always been on the forefront of this shift. NHN’s decisions are their own as is every territory that services TERA. TERA currently remains a subscription-based game in North America and Europe.
Regardless of the news from Korea, the good news is that TERA will continue to grow and improve with new game contents in North America, and all contents will be available for us should we decide to evaluate their use. As mentioned in A New Year for TERA, we will be following up in January with more information on the upcoming content including Crucible of Flame, an instance with scalable rewards and the new 3v3 battleground, Champion’s Skyring.
According to MMO Culture, TERA will become free-to-play in Korea on January 10, with Japan changing by mid-February. Even in the US, MMO players are leaning more towards free-to-play models -- mainly because there's so many to choose from -- and games with subscription-based models have adapted to the market. I'm inclined to think that En Masse Entertainment wouldn't make the game free-to-play in North America, much like Star Wars: The Old Republic, DC Universe and Lord of the Rings Online have done in the past.
[Source: En Masse Entertainment Forums]