DCUO going ‘free-to-play’
Amid mass speculation that subscription numbers had significantly dropped off in the months since its initial release on the PS3, Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) has altered the business model of DC Universe Online (DCUO) to incorporate free-to-play.
When can you expect to get in for free and what does this mean for those that already purchased monthly or lifetime subscriptions (you didn’t buy one of those did you?)?
Starting in late October saving and or destroying the DC Comics universe won’t cost you a thing. In a PlayStation Store update likely scheduled for either October 18th or 25th in the US (October 19th or 26th in the UK) PSN users will be able to download and jump into DCUO without the pesky barrier of price.
“When we launched DC Universe Online, we introduced a very different brand of massive online game driven by fast action combat to PC and PS3™gamers and with that, we discovered a new type of online gamer. We’ve listened to our community, and we’ve determined that the free-to-play model is the best fit for DC Universe Online.” – John Smedley, President, Sony Online Entertainment
To facilitate the game’s smooth transition into the realm of free-to-play SOE is introducing a three tiered access plan to better meet the preferences of future players. The three tiers are as follows:
- Free - New players will now have access to the current gameplay inDC Universe Online (including Gotham City, Metropolis, and all current raids and alerts), with the ability to create two characters, join a league and many other benefits. Free level players will be able to purchase downloadable game packs/updates, additional character slots, powers and more through microtransactions
- Premium - Any player who has spent at least $5 USD (including former paid subscribers and new players who have purchased $5 of in-game items) will qualify for the Premium access level. Premium level players will have more benefits available to them than the Free level player, including additional character slots, additional inventory slots, and higher cash limits. Downloadable adventure packs, additional character slots, and more can be purchased in-game.
- Legendary - Maximum features and benefits are included at this level. Loaded with enhanced additional features, Legendary access will be available for a $14.99 USD monthly fee and includes all DLC packs at no cost, more than 15 character slots, more than 80 inventory slots, the ability to form unrestricted-sized leagues, and many other benefits.
- SOE press release
For gamers new to the free-to-play model expect the free version of DCUO to be a lite version of the full experience which can be supplemented via microtransaction. However, the case of DCUO is somewhat unique in that it has already released a notable amount of downloadable content which will be available to all at the start. Assume that any and all future content and ability updates will be made available for ‘free’ subscribers through the microtransaction system.
Whatever the case, DCUO’s evolution into a free-to-play game is certainly intriguing. Although DCUO won’t be the first massive online game to go free-to-play on the PS3 (that distinction goes to Free Realms) its high profile will make it an exciting download for many a gamer.
When DCUO hits the store as a free download do you expect to pick it up? If you have already put considerable time and money into the game does the institution of free-to-play bother you?