DC Universe Online to offer free-to-play option

There are about to be a lot more metahumans romping around the streets of Gotham and Metropolis in DC Universe Online. Starting next month, Sony Online Entertainment will be offering a free-to-play option for both the PC and PlayStation 3 versions of their super-powered online game, letting players dip their toes into the MMO without spending a dime. If they do want to spend a dime, however, there are two other options to choose from that offer the ability to spend plenty.

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The pricing structure will be moved to a three tiered system: Free, Premium, and Legendary. John Smedley, President of Sony Online Entertainment, says that “All three levels will provide access to open world gameplay and missions, general game updates and fixes to the game, with each level offering different game options and benefits.” Those options and benefits are listed below:

  • 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 USD (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 USD 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.

This pricing structure makes sense – DCUO couldn’t go full-blown free-to-play after pushing lifetime memberships on its subscribers, and this system allows for the free option to almost be a demo of sorts. It’s not unlike what we’ve seen in other games that go from paid to free, with the only notable difference being the mid-level option, which is a nice addition to let players who want to bounce from paid to free do so without fear of losing content they’ve already enjoyed.

This is good news, and will hopefully pull back some of those who might have left after the game’s servers were offline during the PlayStation Network hacking. Being told that you can enjoy the same experience for free that you used to pay for is quite the incentive to boot it back up.

Sep 19, 2011

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