The massively multiplayer online first-person shooter (MMOFPS) game Dust 514, which is slated to be available exclusively on PS3, will be a completely free-to-play affair. Game maker CCP had originally planned to charge a nominal price for gamers to download the title from the PlayStation Store, but that plan has been scrapped because, CCP says, it didn’t want to confuse gamers. The experience inside the game itself will not change at all.
Dust 514 was built on the freemium model, which means that players can download and play the game for free, but as they progress and want new items or expanded feature sets, that’s the point at which they’ll need to start forking over some cash. The price that would have been charged, around $10 to $20, would have been immediately converted into in-game currency, so gamers weren’t actually paying for the download but were forced into investing at least some money in the experience.
In an interview with Eurogamer, CCP executive producer Brandon Laurino was quoted as sayin, “It was a relatively confusing proposition and we wanted to make it unambiguously that this a free-to-play game” (sic). The freemium model has become increasingly adopted in the world of digital downloads, where getting consumers to actually own a new product is simple and as such, there’s no need to charge a price at the outset. Some studies have suggested that freemium games actually earn more money than games that charge a small price but have no in-game transactions.