As expected, Sony Online Entertainment have announced that DC Universe Online is going free-to-play (F2P). Starting in October – roughly 9 months following the subscription-based launch of DCUO – players can get back into Gotham and Metropolis with no money down.
I could point and mock and make fun of some of the patently ridiculous comments SOE’s CEO John Smedley is reported to have said as PR for the move (although I’ll note that any player base increase is likely heavily influenced by the free time players got due to the SOE / PlayStation Network hacks, not because people are buying the game), but that’s too easy. For me, the more interesting thing is that DCUO is more popular on the console in terms of player population, “three to one, PS3 to PC”.
DCUO could very well be the first mainstream console MMO hit, especially now that it is F2P. No, not the “first console MMO ever” (see: Phantasy Star Online, Everquest Adventures, Final Fantasy XI), but the first one that shows that MMOs on consoles can draw a large enough audience to be worth seriously targeting.
It also puts DCUO, City of Heroes / Villains and Champions Online all on equal F2P footing. Now there’s a superpowered brawl just waiting to happen…