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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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