Sony Online Entertainment have announced that superhero MMO DC Universe Online will be going to a free to play model on both the PS3 and PC from October – and that gamers on both will be able to download the entire game for free.
Sony have announced that the latest MMO to go free to play will be their cross-platform DC Universe Online – a mere seven months after the game’s release. Both PlayStation 3 and PC gamers will be able to download the client for free, and the game will be switching to a microtransaction model from October.
DC Universe Online will now have three tiers of membership:
New players will now have access to the current gameplay in DC 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.
Any player who has spent at least $5 (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.
Maximum features and benefits are included at this level. Loaded with enhanced additional features, Legendary access will be available for a $14.99 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.
Those who paid out for a lifetime subscription plan on PC or PS3 will receive all the benefits of Legendary membership.
SOE have hastened to say that microtransactions will not break the game in any way, with neither super-powerful items nor experience available to purchase, and that the overall model will be similar to their hugely successful Free Realms.
Sony’s Lorin Jameson also denied that the move was prompted by a fall in subscriber numbers: ”In terms of ‘Is it a result in a drop in subs’ – absolutely not,” he told IGN. “This is the right business model. If I can be honest, the game ended up costing a lot more than we thought it would, and this was our preferred business model from day one.”
The game was moderately well received at launch – Greg Giddens gave it 7.2 in his BeefJack DC Universe Online review – but as a F2P MMO option on the PS3 in particular, it seems hard to beat and well worth trying out.
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