Recently, Cryptic Studios announced that beginning next year their superhero MMO, Champions Online would be following in the model set out by both Dungeons & Dragons Online and The Lord of the Rings Online, by going free to play. The hope was that the success that Turbine has enjoyed using microtransactions to fund LotRO and DDO could be repeated with Champions, thus saving a potentially failing game from death. But what about Cryptic's other MMO, Star Trek Online? Could it also someday be a free game for players? In an interview with Eurogamer, Cryptic CEO Jack Emmert claimed that Trekkies could soon be heading into the final frontier at no cost, but you may have to spend some time playing Champions in order to make that happen.
Quoth the Emmert, from Eurogamer:
"We're not sold one way or the other with Star Trek yet. If people want Star Trek to go free-to-play then get in and play Champions and help make it a great success, because that would send a strong message. If we did Turbine's level of success that would certainly merit the discussion. . . I'm not going to say we'll do or die if we don't get five times our revenue or whatever the stats were that Turbine did. We're just hoping to open it up and increase the fanbase, and we'll just wait and see - I'd love it if we got their results, but hey, if that doesn't happen it doesn't happen."
Although the free-to-play model for MMOs has been around for a while, with it being almost the industry standard in Asia, its adoption in the West has been slow in the coming. As the market gets more flooded, and with so many MMOs struggling to find players, companies are looking for ways to avoid being the next A.P.B., and if microtransactions are sustainable, it could become more prevalent.