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Posted by patrickklepek
The MMO business model started as monthly subscriptions, but it's been rapidly changing.

Sony Online Entertainment finally launched the long-delayed DC Universe Online back in January, but "late" next month, less than a year later, the game will swap business models and become free-to-play.

This move applies to both the PlayStation 3 and PC versions of the game, so if you've been looking for a way to give this superhero MMO a go, there's suddenly a much cheaper method on the horizon.

The monthly subscription has been the go-to model for MMO games for years, but few have been successful enough to convince a sizable number of users to stick around. SOE's seen success with free-to-play games, such as Free Realms and Clone Wars Adventures, so the company knows the territory.

“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 CEO John Smedley in a press release this morning.

Rather than break down what you are and aren't getting myself, SOE made this nifty graphic. In a nutshell, the "free" version of the game comes with some caveats.

Staff
Posted by Scodiac

I'll be playing again.

Posted by Silver-Streak

I'll check it out again. Had lots of fun at launch, but the content was pretty much nonexistent, to the part where you had to go against the developer's own stated rules to hit cap. (You were supposed to follow only your own mentor's/city's quest lines to cap, along with the instances. Instead, you ran into walls that required you to goto the other city and do the other mentor's missions)

Posted by dexterslu

I'm actually excited about this, being able to play this for free on the PS3 is going to be a really cool experiment I think..

Posted by TheSilentTruth

I was interested, until I saw the limitations on inventory and in-game currency...

Posted by darkjester74

Sweet, Ill give it a go. Played it on a free trial a friend gave me. Fun for what it was but no way it justified a monthly fee.

Posted by Feikken

Well, that was quick.

Posted by mrcraggle

Can't wait for DC Universe: Not Like This

Posted by RE_Player1

If people want to start a PS3 Giant Bomb guild type thing I'd be down with that. We can figure out what server, faction, and to get around the voice chat limitation we can just use skype.

Posted by onan

Who didn't see that one coming? (probably the people who preordered at gamestop.)

I'm down, although I'm a little confused about that "premium" model. It doesn't say anything about spending $5 a month, just 5. So kind of like how you become a "premium" Team Fortress 2 player by either having owned the game previously, or purchasing a single hat or weapon? If it's not a monthly fee, I'm absolutely down with that. In my min DCU still has a bit of retail clout so it would be like picking it up for $5.

The "free" plan is a little too crippled for my tastes, although not nearly as crippled as the WoW trial accounts.

Posted by MooseyMcMan

Neat, I guess. I'm still not interested if I can't actually play as Batman though. But that's just me!

Moderator Online
Posted by Landon

Can i download the PS3 version for free, or do I have to purchase the disk?

Posted by Qkey

I wonder if the no-trade limitation on free accounts are to combat gold farmers? I don't think even Chinese prisons are desperate enough to farm money in DCU online.

Also, I love the “(...) offer more options that cater to every type of player so they can play the game in a way that fits them," quote. I bet there are people who like their free mmo experience limited on top of being just plain boring.

Edited by VicRattlehead

lol, they want me to pay to use the voice chat? how about give it to me for free considering it was completely fucking broken the first 2 months after launch when i gave up on the game and is free to use in every other online enabled game on the PS3... is there anyone working for Sony that actually knows wtf they are doing?

Online
Posted by Jazzycola

Hmm I may end up buying it on a steam sale if that ever happens

Posted by SlightConfuse

seems a bit restricting might give it a go though

Posted by foxhound421

As a casual MMO player, I never renewed my DCUO subscription after the trial period even though I enjoyed my time with it. I still have the disk for PS3, and when they hit the free-to-play switch i'll re-install it. I'd rather pay for DLC expansions that I want than pay a monthly subscription fee. I spend waaaay too much money on gaming as it is. The last thing I need is a game that's also a bill.

Posted by xxNBxx

Take note EA. SWOR will need to change not long after it's release.

Posted by NinjaCommando

I shall try it if it's free!

Posted by CrimsonAvenger

Do I still have to buy a copy to play it on the PS3?

Posted by darkjester74

@Landon said:

Can i download the PS3 version for free, or do I have to purchase the disk?

F2P usually implies the client is free to download as well. Not 100% sure for DCU, tho.

Edited by Scodiac

@Landon: You'll be able to download it for free. It's happening sometime in October.

@onan: The 5 dollars isn't monthly. I read on their site that if you spend 5 dollars it will upgrade you to premium for the lifetime of your account. Also, people who actually bought the game like me will be premium from the get-go without the 5 bucks.

Posted by S0ndor

They seem to have struck the right balance here by providing worthwhile services to paying customers, all the while keeping the free experience robust enough to make people actually want to play it.

Posted by Doctorchimp

Free huh?

Still couldn't pay me to play it.

Posted by rand0mZer00

That's pretty cool. I passed on DCU when it came out, but I'll sure give it a try now.

Posted by Firelogic

@slightconfuse: That's the idea. Give the most basic game away for free and hopefully entice you to do micro transactions to expand the game. Anyone complaining about the bare-bones nature of the free versions doesn't understand the idea of F2P.

Posted by NickM

I'M B4TM4N. Close tab.

Posted by BoG

The subscription model is interesting. They limit your bank account? I don't plan on jumping in, but it looks like they've given a good amount of content to free players, yet also given a lot of incentive to pony up some cash. The middle-of-road option is cheap enough that they'll score there, too. Well played.
Posted by Artie

What is the purpose of limiting text chatting and inventory slots?

Posted by norry

I did play this before and no doubt will try it again, still sitting on my hard drive. I have to say, there's nothing really compelling in the paid for features, I'll probably keep it free and dip my toe in the water from time to time.

Posted by Winsord

Woo, I was hoping this and Star Trek Online would go F2P and now they both are. I really just prefer the model of being able to spend the money if I get into it, not spending the money and then hoping I get into it.

Posted by Fuga

Goddamnit Jeff, why did you buy a lifetime subscription.

Posted by Turambar

The limitations placed on mail and chat functions for free players is kind of absurd...

Posted by Hector

I will definitely try this game for free but thats about it.

Posted by Kinapuff

I may try it out now that it's free, though I can't stand such limitations supposedly imposed in the image.

Posted by ignignort

This is getting kind of gross, for people who paid full price for this they probably knew once the numbers start to go down lets switch it to f2p. Just leave it like that from the start if you think it's going to be successful.

Online
Posted by onimonkii

this is pretty much the only thing they can do with champions AND city of heroes being free to play now

Posted by LadyShayne

At least this will give me something else to do on my PS3. My poor, poor PS3.

Posted by WinterSnowblind

@ignignort said:

This is getting kind of gross, for people who paid full price for this they probably knew once the numbers start to go down lets switch it to f2p. Just leave it like that from the start if you think it's going to be successful.

I can't see I feel much sympathy for people who pay subscriptions for games that are obviously designed to be F2P. The developers obviously thought they'll get as much money as they can from subscribers, then switch over to the F2P model once the numbers drop. It's a pretty dirty tactic, but people seem to keep falling for it.

It's not really any different than what we're seeing at the moment with DLC. Developers keep charging ridiculous prices for very little content.. simply because people keep buying it.

Posted by Forum_User

@Turambar said:

The limitations placed on mail and chat functions for free players is kind of absurd...

Gold seller spam tends to be a huge problem in MMORPGs with free accounts.

Posted by TFArchive

I need to stop trying MMO's, I bought lifetime subs to DCUO and STO :( And I don't play either

Posted by ArbitraryWater

Well, of course it is. It's the tactic that every non-World of Warcraft MMO of the last decade has done.

Posted by DeviTiffany

Awesome. DCUO looked fantastic, but I never really cared to pay for it. I wish more MMOs would go the hacky slashy style of combat that DCUO has. It's much more engaging than hotkey based stuff.

Posted by McShank

What i want to know is if you had bought the game and paid to play it before it goes f2p, do we get something for all the money we put into it? Like free premium for 3months? forever? Or do we all get fucked and have to keep paying to keep what we had while others can play for free?

Posted by Nocall

Awesome. This game was primed for F2P right from launch. It's the best Action MMO you can play with a controller on the PC, IMO.

Posted by TheChaos

I called this before the game even came out.

Posted by Boopie

I am going to say there is no way in hell the PS3 version will be free to download but I am usually wrong about everything

Posted by WinterSnowblind

@McShank said:

What i want to know is if you had bought the game and paid to play it before it goes f2p, do we get something for all the money we put into it? Like free premium for 3months? forever? Or do we all get fucked and have to keep paying to keep what we had while others can play for free?

You paid for what they were offering at the time, they owe you nothing.. Like I said in my last post, I find it pretty hard to have any sympathy. Everyone and their dog saw this coming.

Posted by Renwood

I'll give it a fair shake, if nothing else. Was interested in the game; just not enough to pay for it every month.

Posted by McShank

@Boopie said:

I am going to say there is no way in hell the PS3 version will be free to download but I am usually wrong about everything

sony are not as cheap and assholeish about their online service as Microsoft is, so good chance it will be free to DL since its their own company's game.

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