Realtime Worlds to launch APB on July 2

UPDATE: Flexible payment model will allow talented gamers to play for free - Jones

Realtime Worlds has confirmed both a release date and the pricing structure for its anticipated MMO APB.

According to the FAQ section of the game's website, it will launch in Europe on July 2 and the US on June 29.

A price-plan has also been set for the game, with users being given the option of either buying a package of gameplay hours, or a longer term subscription.

The retail price of the game will be £34.99 ($49.99) both in physical form and as a digital download, said the site, which will include 50 hours of gameplay "out of the box", plus unlimited time in the game's social districts where users can customise, socialise and trade on the marketplace.

Once the 50 hours is up they will then have the choice of either topping up game time for £5.59 ($6.99) for an additional 20 hours, or purchasing a 30 day unlimited package for £7.99 ($9.99)

Discounts will also be available for users buying 90 and 180 day packages and the retail package will contain a bonus 100 RTW points towards future purchases.

"An additional benefit to this evolutionary model is the ability for you to convert your own customisations and rewards to tradable products to give to friends or clan-mates or to place on the Marketplace to earn more RTW points (convertible to game time) or in-game cash," said the site.

Realtime Worlds CEO David Jones has spoken previously about online distribution and payment models, saying that games are perfect for treating as services.

"We do have to think like a service-based company, it's absolutely right for our market and for it to be delivered," he said.

"In some respects we should have been ahead of the music industry - it went digital pretty damn quickly. We should have been there, we're perfect for that, but they just got carried by the wave. I think we'll follow, but it's taking a risk - it depends how pioneering people want to be."

UPDATE: Jones has released a statement on APB's upcoming release and the pricing model the studio decided to go with.

"We wanted to provide a simple and flexible way for occasional and core players alike to pay for their play without being financially tethered to the game," he said.

"The model also provides an opportunity for customers to subsidize their costs by leveraging their talent or market savvy in the 'points' Marketplace. Highly talented players could potentially even play for free in this way.

"We’re delighted to finally be announcing the release date for APB, and we’re looking forward to welcoming players on to the mean streets of San Paro. Gamers will soon get to experience a world of unparalleled customization, conflict and celebrity – whether they choose to be a Criminal or an Enforcer."

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Latest comments (6)

Terence Gage Freelance writer 7 years ago
It seems like a really interesting business model, and I hope it works really well for RTW. Best of luck to you, guys.
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Sam Maxted Journalist / Community / Support 7 years ago
The problem with this model from a player point of view is that unless there are mechanisms to discourage it, the best items in-game will only ever be auctioned for RTW points, and not for in-game cash. Without the correct safeguards in place, in-game cash could be seen as "useless" by the community, as it was in Runes of Magic when it became possible to sell items on the auction house for Diamonds (their microtransaction currency) instead of Gold.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Sam Maxted on 30th April 2010 12:39pm

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Thomas Bidaux CEO, ICO Partners7 years ago
I feel like Realtime Worlds is struggling to understand how to monetize their game. This model isn't really innovative (it is actually going back to the AOL days) and doesn't seem to have be tailored around the game core concept, but rather chucked in because Subscription doesn't really make sense for this kind of game.
I wish the game to stay live long enough to transition to a model that makes more sense...
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Show all comments (6)
Jay Crowe Creative Director, Bohemia Interactive7 years ago
Realtime will have done their research on the business model's potential pitfalls and benefits. Furthermore, in my judgment, the proposed price plan does offer a degree of innovation.

Rather than being tied to a monthly subscription the '20 hour' deal offers the kind of minimum length of gameplay you might expect from, say, an expasion pack. Moreover, the proposal to enable determined player to subsidise their own subscription is a model that I will be watching with interest.

In regard to @Thomas Bidaux's comment, I'm not in a position to judge whether the subscription-driven plan is 'tailored around the game's core concept' - I'm just not familiar enough with it to make that type of statement.
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Jonathan Lindsay Creative Director, Playomic7 years ago
Seems a little vague. I know I can spend RTW points in the Marketplace, but how do I get these precious points? I assume RTW points are purchased mainly, or solely, with real world cash ("RTW points (convertible to game time) or in-game cash"). Does this mean I can buy lots of in-game currency for real cash? If that is the case, and this article gives no clues, what is to stop the in-game currency suffering from hyper-inflation and becoming meaningless? Also, "tradable products to give to friends or clan-mates", does that mean I can get awesome weapons and other items very quickly simply by being friends with elite players? Are there restrictions to dissuade this (required skill etc.)?

Seems to me that subscription is the safe and somewhat unnecessary part of the business model, the auction with cash currency points system however is being used by many free-to-play games and when done correctly generates considerable revenue (Bigpoint style games, etc.).

RE 'games as services' and the "We should have been there, we're perfect for that", many many many companies were there and some of them are now doing very nicely thanks to their foresight (Blizzard, NCsoft, Nexon, Jagex, etc). So in that regard at least, RTW is not doing anything revolutionary, they are simply walking a well trodden path.

Chances are I have misunderstood the article, if so I look forward to someone putting me straight.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Jonathan Lindsay on 30th April 2010 6:57pm

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Carlos Massiah Game Developer, UtilityFunction7 years ago
>>The problem with this model from a player point of view is that unless there are mechanisms to discourage it, the best items in-game will only ever be auctioned for RTW points, and not for in-game cash.
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