September 20, 2011

DC Universe Online Going Free-To-Play

DC Universe Online's long-rumored free-to-play model has finally arrived, splitting up the MMO's payment models and accessibility between three increasingly priced tiers. "Free" players will have basic access and pay รก la carte for some new content and features, "Premium" players will have slightly more access and options and "Legendary" players will pay $15 a month for what's essentially an all-you-can-play buffet of what the game's got to offer. If you already shelled out for DCUO on PC or PlayStation 3 any time between its January launch and the upcoming free-to-play switch, Sony says existing accounts with active paid subscriptions will be granted Legendary Access.

Free: 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.

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.

"Our philosophy embraces learning from our experience and as a pioneer in the free-to-play space with proven successful games like Free Realms and Clone Wars Adventures, we believe this new model will expand the DCUO experience and offer more options that cater to every type of player so they can play the game in a way that fits them," said SOE president John Smedley.

The success of SOE's other F2P games probably isn't the only reason for the switch. MMOs from other companies, such as Lord of the Rings Online and Dungeons and Dragons Online, have seen their fortunes rise now that they've adopted subscriptional-optional business models. LOTRO developer Turbine said that the game's revenue tripled after they made the switch.

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