Only seven months have passed since the game was first released, but, in a somewhat surprising move (at least to me), Sony Online Entertainment announced that their acclaimed superhero MMO, DC Universe Online, is going free to play next month on both the PS3 and the PC.
In order to sustain the free-to-play business model, DCUO will have three tiered subscription levels – Free, Premium, and Legendary – and plenty of available microtransactions.
All new players will start at the free level. The Free tier will give players access to the full game, but will limit the amount of characters the player can create and limit the amount of gold and items each character can hold. All game updates will be free, but DLC will only be available for purchase.
The Premium tier will be available to all players who have spent at least $5 on the game in some form – this includes free-tiered players who spend on microtransactions and former DCUO players who have previously paid for subscriptions. The Premium tier will grant a higher threshold on character slots, inventory slots, and gold.
Lastly, the Legendary tier is available to those who wish to continue their $14.99/month subscription with the DCUO. The Legendary tier will give the player free access to all DLC and will have increased slots in every category. Current subscribers will automatically be given Legendary access, but will have the option to drop to premium, if desired. Previous lifetime subscribers will, of course, have lifetime Legendary access.
This is all well and good, of course, but one has to ask — why the change? Well, SOE wouldn’t divulge the exact number of current subscribers, but SOE President John Smedley said subscriptions have increased since they’ve combined servers a few months back, and that the change is business model was not in response to subscriber numbers:
“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.”
Well, I don’t know about you — but with the rejuvenation that the New 52 is bringing the DC Universe, I’m ready to dive headfirst into my own little adventure in the DCU. Look out, Metropolis: Fat Lightning is a-comin’!