While we've known that DUST 514 won't be as free as originally thought, there's still hope for a true free-to-play version to come. CCP's Hilmar Veigar Pétursson told GamesIndustry.biz that while PlayStation 3 owners will have to contend with a "cover charge" -- estimated to be between $10 and $20 -- before accessing the game for the first time, the company may drop it entirely in time.
This fee is meant to help with the initial start-up costs for DUST 514, and will be refunded to players in the form of in-game currency that can be spent on unspecified in-game microtransactions. Pétursson isn't ruling out the possibility that the game might go completely free-to-play in the future, however:
"You're really getting the game for free but you have to pre-buy credits in the beginning. We might go fully free-to-play down the line, but in the beginning we have a cover charge just to manage the initial launch of it. We have always been a big believer in growing up a social network behind the game in a slow and predictable way. Because we have seen that if you don't do that you can end up with a very unstructured experience, where there's no cohesion to the community. By growing it at the beginning we help to make a healthy environment initially."We first reported on this cover charge during last month's E3. Pétursson says that CCP will see how the cover charge plays out during the game's testing period. The company is just now recovering from a hotbed of controversy involving EVE Online's approach to in-game item sales.