DC Universe Online to do away with subscription fees

 On paper it is a clear winner. Take the popular DC Comics roster of superheroes and villains, mix in a MMORPG element, then let players create their own avatar based on their favorite characters to join. Open that formula up to PS3 users as well as PC, and Sony Online Entertainment should have the next big MMORPG on their hands. But things haven’t worked out quite that way.

In a recent press release, SOE has announced that it will move away from the monthly subscription required to access the online DC world, and instead offer three service plans, including two that do not require a monthly subscription. There will still be a service plan for those that absolutely love paying the $14.99 monthly fee, and those that have been paying will be placed on the middle rung, but new users can now access the game at no cost.

The DC Universe Online has seen more than its shares of struggles, and this pricing shift could be just what the site needs. Or not. The game actually sold better on PS3 than on PC when it was first released, which is a problem when you consider that the PlayStation Network was down and users were unable to connect for nearly a month. For another type of game that might not be a major issue, but for a game that is built around an immersive experience that requires a certain level of commitment and maintenance, it may have been enough to drive off users for good. 

“When we launched DC Universe Online, we introduced a very different brand of massive online game driven by fast action combat to PC and PS3 gamers and with that, we discovered a new type of online gamer,” John Smedley, President, Sony Online Entertainment, said in the press release. “We’ve listened to our community, and we’ve determined that the free-to-play model is the best fit for DC Universe Online.”

The three tiers will be:

Free— Users can access the game and receive updates at no cost. They will have two character slots, 28 inventory slots, and 12 bank slots (more of each category can be purchased). Free users will also have a 1500 max in-game currency limit and be able to join, but not form leagues. DLC expansion packs must be purchased separately.

Premium—Premium users are those that have spent $5 at any time in DCU Online, or are planning to (this includes former subscribers). The premium users will have access to online access and game updates, have 6 character slots, 42 inventory slots, 5 auction slots and 24 bank slots (more can be purchased). Premium users will also have to buy DLCs, and can join, but not start leagues. They will however be able to trade items and have a 2000 in-game currency max.

Legendary—For those willing to continue shelling out $14.99 per month, you will receive access, updates and the DLC expansions at no cost. You will also receive 16 characters slots, 20 auction slots, 48 bank slots, be able to trade items and cash, and have unlimited in-game currency. Premium users can also form or join leagues.

For more details on the differences in the gameplans, you can check dcuniverseonline.com.

The new pricing models will hit both the PS3 and PC in late October.

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