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LEGO Universe builds free-to-play option

Joins City Of Heroes in offering freemium membership model

MMO Lego Universe will start offering new players the chance to download and explore the game for free in August.

Gamers will be able to play for an unlimited amount of time, but their access will be limited to two adventure zones, compared to the 15 available to paying subscribers. The MMO will also switch from a boxed product to a free digital download.

"We see LEGO Universe as a key element for our digital play division, and are adjusting the business model to make the game more accessible to players, without the immediate obligation to purchase or subscribe," said Jesper Vilstrup, vice president, the LEGO Group.

Currently members pay $10 a month, and this option will still be available for those that want access to the full game and features like community competitions and expansion packs. The company was also clear on the fact that there are no plans to introduce microtransactions.

Just yesterday NCSoft, announced that its superhero MMO City Of Heroes would also move to a free-to-play model.

"Freedom is about getting more content into the hands of our players, whether they are subscribing or playing for free," said executive producer Brian Clayton. The game will be retitled to City of Heroes Freedom, and launch with a new update later this year.

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Latest comments (3)

Paul Smith Senior QA Tech, Codemasters5 years ago
"The company was also clear on the fact that there are no plans to introduce microtransactions."

To me, this is the sort of game that screams microtransaction/F2P. Easy access for younger players without credit cards and all those potential customisable Lego pieces to be sold on the in-game store.
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Ken Hay Owner, Grasp the Thistle5 years ago
It would fascinating to know the drop off rate of original subscribers. Having spent 20 on the game and then to be faced with a monthly subscription of 7.50 is off putting to many - read parents' comments on various sites and they feel cheated. To find out that Lego is "adjusting the business model" sounds like a major retreat and has the potential to further antagonise. I agree with Paul's comment re microtransactions - it's perfectly set up for that.
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Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game5 years ago
Switch to microtransactions, so that when some kids who don't fully understand in app purchases and virtual transactions get hold of their parents credit cards and run up ridiculas amounts of money, and it gets splashed over all the papers like Smurf village did, LEGO can deal with the fallout?
Frankly, whilst microtransactions are a very good way of making money, I find the idea of aiming them at pre-teens who are likely in many cases to not quite understand what they are doing, a bit distasteful, and I'm glad LEGO is sticking to its guns.
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