Sony Online Entertainment is making their superhero MMO free-to-play next month.
Sony Online Entertainment just announced that DC Universe Online will be going free-to-play in late October. Players will soon be able to download the game for free on both the PC and PlayStation 3 and then choose from one of three subscription levels:
- 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 (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 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 Executive Producer Lorin Jameson told IGN that the move has nothing to do with subscription numbers. "This is the right business model," he said. "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."
SOE President John Smedley emphasized that they really like the free-to-play model in an interview with Massively. "We view free-to-play as the future, and we're very interested in it and excited about it," Smedley said. He also confirmed that the game's subscription base is "like three to one, PS3 to PC" and noted that Free Realms' free-to-play success on the console helped drive them to this decision.
Smedley also told Massively that they'll be adding non-recurring payment methods down the road. "Forty percent of players who quit EverQuest II cite recurring subscriptions as a major reason," he said. "Part of the future is giving players the ability to play and pay the way they want to."
DC Universe Online launched in January. The "Fight for the Light" content pack was released earlier this month as a free download for active subscribers, giving players access to Green Lantern's light power set. SOE combined all of the game's servers into four worldwide MegaServers last month in an attempt to boost the population on each shard.