Funcom, going the way of free-to-play with Age of Conan isn't entirely off the table. At least so says Erling Ellingson in a recent interview with IncGamers. There's certainly a precedent with Anarchy Online having gone that route long ago and its director -- at that time -- was also Craig Morrison. So really, all bets are off on this one.
Still, for the time being subscription remains the primary method of play. Our guess? Funcom is probably waiting for the first expansion or two before opening the original game for free to play access, much like they did with Anarchy Online. So if anything, this probably won't be happening for a couple more years. That is, unless things rapidly go south for the Norwegian games developer. But with The Secret World looking quite interesting. they've got a good chance at making a comeback.