Phantasy Star is no stranger to corporate deals, especially in Japan, where tie-ins with magazines like Famitsu, fast-food companies like Pizza Hut, and even the vocaloid voice synthesizer have appeared in recent years. In the West, PSO had the Yahoo! Cup, and PSU similarly had the 1Up Cup, but nothing as blatant as including rolled-up magazines as a weapon, or a corporate mascot as a character. Maybe we're missing out.
At TGS 2010, Sega revealed Phantasy Star Online 2, which is scheduled for release in 2011, ten years after the original PSO came out on the Dreamcast. The new PSO2 is going to be released on the PC, and is currently assumed to be Japan-only. This will be the second PC PSO release after 2005's PSO: Blue Burst, and the first new PSO title after PS0 on the DS. Not many details are available right now.
There is a trailer at SegaBits, which mostly shows clips from the Phantasy Star games over the last decade (PSO, PSU, PSP, PS0). PSO-World have some information translated and will probably have more as it is available.
SOE revealed "EverQuest II Extended" as a free to play service with optional micro-transactions and optional subscriptions. There have been a number of titles going F2P, most recently LoTRO, but unlike Turbine, SOE seem to want to add F2P alongside their traditional subscription model.
Free players in EQ2x will have access to all of the game except for the most recent expansion (which mostly focused on end-game content) and eighty character levels, though with limited race and class selection. There are also limited levels of spells and gear, as well as bag and coin restrictions. Some of this can be alleviated by purchasing new races and classes; it also looks like paying a one-time $10 fee will lessen some of the restrictions.
The only way to totally unlock all content is by subscribing -- either $15/mo ("gold") or $200/yr ($16.66/mo) ("platinum"). The higher figure for the yearly subscription seems odd, but platinum subscribers do get free access to the Sentinel's Fate expansion, as well as $5 in Station Cash (SOE's micro-transaction currency) each month. That said, I don't see anyone paying that.
What's more is that according to the membership matrix, gold members, who pay the same $15/mo cost as subscribers to regular EQ2, won't be able to have access to Sentinel's Fate, and neither gold nor platinum will have access to more than 4 races (out of 19 total races in the game) without paying for them. It just doesn't seem like a good deal. And although subscribers to 'regular' EQ2 will be able to copy (not transfer) their characters to EQ2x servers, the reverse is not true -- much like EQ2's LiveExchange-enabled servers, character movement is one-way.
The Guardians Advanced Content patch has been scheduled for July 19th, with the servers scheduled to be offline through the 20th.
Sega have announced that players who own AotI will need to delete it, and then re-download it from the XBL marketplace in order to play online. So current players should delete their AotI install, then watch the website for details, then re-download the expansion when everything is back up. Of course, for players who don't already own AotI, it has become free to download in the recent months.
Sega announced that the 'Supplemental Update' was being renamed 'GUARDIANS Advanced Content' and would be released on the Xbox 360 servers on July 19th, 2010. This also marks the end of 'classic' PSU, although now that the expansion is a free download, no one should be affected.
There is a large article on PSUPedia which details the changes that are coming.
Sega announced today that the Ambition of the Illiminous expansion pack, which was formerly 800 points/$10 USD, will be available as a free download in the Xbox Live Marketplace. Since online service will be ending for all non-AotI users, this is a pretty nice thing for Sega to do, and will possibly help keep the users who haven't upgraded yet in the game.
Sega have announced that the 'Supplemental Update' will be coming to the XBox 360 servers sometime this summer. They have also announced that as a result, online service for the base game without the expansion pack, (which they refer as PSU 1.0) will end on June 21st. This will not effect offline play for PSU 1.0. To continue playing, it looks like anyone who doesn't already have it will have to spend the 800 MS points for the expansion.