In a telling announcement about the state of MMOs (that aren't World of Warcraft), Sony Online Entertainment today said it will be offering a free-to-play option in venerable MMORPG Everquest 2. EQ2 players will have a choice of either a subscription-based or free-to-play business model -- two "distinct experiences operating in parallel."
According to SOE, Extended provides access to premium subscription-quality content through free and optional paid membership levels. You'll be able to download EQ 2 through a new downloader that will allow you to check out Everquest without a full installation. Players can register within minutes, download the client to join other people, and launch into adventure in EQ's 3D world, then decide if they want to switch to a subscription mode or pay for content a la carte. According to Sony's press release, "Excitement with every breath and adventure around every turn is now available for free!"
"As the digital entertainment market evolves, SOE is focused on continued innovation in content delivery that best fit the needs of the growing consumer base," said Sony Online Entertainment President, John Smedley. "Our goal with Extended is to offer players an alternative to our current subscription program that gives them the option to choose a program that best fits their play style."
If you need more guidance as to which MMO payment plan is right for you, check out Sony's Everquest 2
"Membership Matrix." (Nothing says "fun-gaming" like a complicated payment chart!)
Extended goes into Beta on August 17.
I'm all for options and trying before I buy things, but the addictive nature of MMO's make me afraid of micro-transactions in those kind of games -- I know I'd end up dropping a lot of money on this game, so I avoid it like I avoid heroin. Addictive personality FTL.
What about you? Are you planning on checking out Everquest 2's new options?