While it’s not exactly boldly going where no game has gone before, Star Trek Online will indeed be exploring a new frontier by the end of the year: the world of free-to-play access.
According to Industry Gamers, the MMO based on the iconic science-fiction franchise will transition to a free-to-play model by the end of 2011. By doing so, it’s hoped that the game will find a greater audience in the U.S. and China.
After launching in February 2010, Star Trek Online was one of several Cryptic Studios titles acquired in May by Perfect World Entertainment, a Chinese firm that owns a number of free-to-play MMORPGs.
“Incorporating a free-to-play model into Star Trek Online enables any interested captain to explore the galaxy to his or her heart’s delight,” reads a statement about the announcement on the Star Trek Online website.
The decision to follow the free-to-play model was revealed during a conference call with Perfect World investors.
“This is going to be launched by the end of this year,” said Perfect World CFO Kelvin Lau. “I think [with the] free-to-play model we have a bigger potential in [the] US market and also in China market.”
Cryptic’s other MMO, Champions Online, is already is free to play.