13 year old Everquest goes free-to-play
Storied MMO adopts new business model on its first teenage birthday
EverQuest, Sony Online Entertainment's venerable MMO, will be adopting a free-to-play business model as it reaches its thirteenth anniversary.
The game, which has seen numerous updates, and runs concurrently with its sequel, EverQuest II, will turn thirteen in March. Various new payment methods will be introduced as it does, including a free-to-play option, game unlocks and the traditional full subscription model.
Three payment tiers will be established: free-to-play, which offers the lowest level of access, a one off $5 payment which gives 'silver' access, and the $15 a month 'gold' access.
"The game will now be setup to be flexible so that you can decide how much to pay, based on how much fun you're having," said Thom Terrazas, EverQuest's producer.
Given how many of the game's long-term loyal players will want to experience the end-game content which is likely to only be included with gold membership, it seems likely that many will continue to use that system.
Whether such an old title can stand out among the crowd of free-to-play games enough to attract new customers to microtransactions and eventually subscriptions, remains to be seen.
However, when EverQuest II went free-to-play last year, Sony claimed that new player registrations had risen by 300 per cent.