At the risk of TSA turning into an Uncharted 3 update site, it’s perhaps worth looking into Naughty Dog’s venture into the free to play market and some of the pricing decisions they’ve made before the game launches tomorrow. Pricing? In a free to play game? Who would have thought?
Now, before I appear all snarky and downbeat about the system, let’s bear in mind that for nothing you can play the multiplayer mode of one of the best PlayStation 3 games out there. Yes, it’s capped (and we’ll come back to that) and it’s a little restricted, but – yeah – it’s free.
But here’s the rub: if you want to do anything away from the core game, it’ll cost you. For starters, it’s just competitive – if you want to try co-op you’ll need to pony up $9.99 for Arena and another $11.99 for Adventure. And if you want to raise that level cap beyond level 15, that’s another $4.99 to get to level 25 and a further $19.99 to remove the restriction completely.
That’s not free.
Curiously, anyone who has already bought the game and has the online pass stored on their profile on their console (but doesn’t have the disk) won’t be able to use the online pass to unlock anything – the download (a hefty 5 GB) stands alone.
Of course, on top of that, there’s the DLC to buy. Our advice: if you’re interested, $39.99 will get you the full digital download with the complete multiplayer and all the DLC. We’ve not heard anything about European pricing (expect that tomorrow) but that seems to be the best option.
“We’ve looked at some models for other games, though nothing really played too great an influence on us,” Naughty Dog’s Robert Cogburn said today. “We kind of just broke down the game a la carte. You can get the single-player, or the competitive, or the co-op. Or you can get the ‘Game of the Year’ edition for all of it.”
“The idea behind trying these different options – or business models, arguably – is we’re just trying to see what people might gravitate to. We’re going to be keeping a close eye on this and it will be interesting to see what type of model ends up being the most popular.”
This model is already extremely popular on smartphones – and we’d anticipate a lot more titles fitting into this ‘freeium’ model next generation.