DC Universe Online to go free-to-play in October

DC Universe Online was launched less than a year ago as a massively multiplayer PC and PS3 game using the super hero-based DC Universe as its setting. The game used the traditional monthly subscription model for revenue. But today the game's developer and publisher Sony Online Entertainment has announced that the game will offer players a free-to-play option later in October. In a chat with IGN, the game's executive product Lorin Jameson claims the reason for the switch is not due to the game losing players. He says, "In terms of 'Is it a result in a drop in subs' – absolutely not. This is the right business model. 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."

The official DC Universe Online web site has the details on the three levels of membership that the game will have in October. The free players will be able to access much of the game's content while players who have paid $5 or more for any of the game's content will be named as Premium members. They will get access to extra character and inventory slots and more. Players who stick with the $14.99 per month subscription plan will be able to access DC Universe Online as a Legendary member. Those gamers will get all of the game's future DLC content for free along with more features. People who purchased lifetime memberships for the game will still be able to play the game as a Legendary player.

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A dual model is a smart move.

It gives gamers more choice, while keeping the server populations up and also pushing developers to provide more content.

With a flat subscription, the numbers bounce, so it is hard to predict a business model.

This gives the game some 'stability' while also keeping the developers on their toes, as there are direct sale incentives to keep new content releasing. This should also help the developers force the managers to fund new projects of content that players will want to purchase, instead of just assume the 'subscribers' will stay.

This game has strengths and weaknesses, having played it, going all the way back to beta.

It is not a traditional MMO, there is very little 'social' to the game, but it makes up for this with a rich world of physics and a gameplay style that is more like a good single player console title. There is no crafting, etc. However, you can lift a car off a person, or if you are Villian, convince someone to jump off a building instead of saving them. The game's physics are only touched on in ways, but have a lot of potential in what can be created with them.

As for superhero games, it is not as 'rich' in content or diversity as City of Heroes; however, feeling like a superhero is what the game provides beyond what other titles have brought before. Picking up a truck and smacking someone with, or running across the city and leaping on buildings provides the feeling of being 'super'.

Champions online had potential, with some of the same 'gameplay' and physics, but it has never evolved to a point that is as rich as it could be. In both you can use cover and dodge bullets, but Champions misses the fluidity that DC Online provides.

City of Heroes will always hold a dear place in super hero fans, and some of its travel powers are still rather fun, but nothing like DC Online. Champions Online travel powers are one of the biggest disappointments, as it feels like you are stuck in mud all the time, with none of the travel powers being smooth or fun except maybe Acrobatics.

Good luck to the DC Online game, even though they have Sony over their heads, that has destroyed more MMO games than any other company, and in epic fail ways. (SWG *cough*)

AFineFrenzy said,
Your move, Blizzard!

One of the few companies that doesn't have to worry considering the revenue that WOW still brings in now.

AFineFrenzy said,
Your move, Blizzard!

One of the few companies that doesn't have to worry considering the revenue that WOW still brings in now.

Does this include the PS3 version? Played it for the free month but never got around to renewing the subscription!

This is the way of the future it seems. Which is great for all of us.. Paying $5 here and there for additional content is much better than paying $15 every single month... My only fear with this new model is that games will not be near as feature rich or nearly as polished or as good as they could be due to the budgets being cut.

City of Heroes has gone through constant revision (much less grind then when it launched), and have overhauled the graphics engine, and is now free to play.

etempest said,
City of Heroes has gone through constant revision (much less grind then when it launched), and have overhauled the graphics engine, and is now free to play.
City of heroes was never grind. In fact the leveling speed was fast even back at launch. Now the leveling speed is rediculous. I know people who have hit lvl 50 in 6 hours. I have even hit 22 in less than 1 hour.

Gotenks98 said,
They are only doing it because city of heroes just did it. Its got nothing to do with the right model and such.

Probably has in the long run, a lot of MMORPG's are struggling these days