Going free-to-play seems to be the trend in massively multiplayer online games lately, with a range of titles ditching subscription fees in favour of micro-transactions — and the response, always seems to be a very good one. The same goes for Cryptic Studios’ Champions Online, they launched the Free for All update on January 25th and are already seeing great results and huge influx of new players.
Free for All allows players to experience the the whole of the game’s level 1-40 content, without ever having to pay a penny. This has led to an increase in “Champions Online’s online concurrent user, unique login and revenue totals by over 1,000 percent”. Cryptic Studios are so pleased with this result that they’re rewarding players by way of an in-game present. CEO, John Needham states, “We’re extremely proud of what the Champions team has accomplished with the Free for All launch. It’s a pleasure to thank our fans and welcome new ones with this gift.” The gift in question is a free XP boost, which can be obtained through the game’s C-Store’s Bonus tab by anybody who has either a free account or a gold membership.
Gift or no gift, I’m glad to see the subscription fees that so many found difficult to justify slowly disappearing. It just goes to show that when developers give us a little, they can certainly get a lot in return.