Uncharted 3’s Free To Play Game Comes At A Price

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.

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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.

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26 Comments

  1. So there’s little point in me downloading it tomorrow so U3’s multiplayer can be saved to the HDD as I’m lazy?

    Damn. Oh well, hopefully there’ll be enough poor players online that even I’m able to rack up a few kills now. :P

    • I was thinking that too. If that was an option then i’d play it a lot more often and i think there’s other people out there who are the same.

      Ah well, i likely won’t play it again, i only really re-visit Uncharted for its SP set pieces. I just played the helicopter and train scenes from Uncharted 2 yesterday. It’s still incredible. I wish i could play it for the first time, again.

  2. or simply buy the goty edition from shopto for a score!

  3. So, basically, if you want to do anything outside of the ‘free’ aspect you might as well buy the GOTY edition for not much more and get everything with it!

  4. “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) ”

    I think we call it “traded in”. Why would you expect to be able to trade in yoru game AND continue to play the digital version of the game? The answer is simple, you shouldn’t. If you want to write stories about ripping people off, go look at Xbox double dip subscriptions, rather than beating up one of the best developers out there.

    • Or, hey, lost their disk? Or it got scratched, or no longer boots, like my Uncharted 2 disk.

      But sure.

    • “one of the best PlayStation 3 games out there”
      “Our advice: if you’re interested, $39.99 will get you the full digital download with the complete multiplayer and all the DLC”

      Beating up on one of the best developers out there? More like advising our readership of a potentially less costly, complicated way to enjoy the entirety of a product made by one of the best developers out there.

      And if you want an article written to your agenda, go write it and post it on your website. In fact, drop me link, I’ll come and be an aggressive asshole in the comments, I hear that kind of thing makes a person feel really special.

      • Someone got out of the wrong side of bed this morning! I wouldn’t call the comments particularly agressive.

  5. Better to buy the game outright new for £13.21 isn’t it. All this ‘free’ seems like a load of weird illogical crap. Either try it out or buy it outright, either way the ‘free’ just seems like an expanded trial.

    • I just got it for £7.50 from GAME.

      I originally bought it at launch & later traded it, but fancied playing it again and the price made it a no-brainer.

      It was actually supposed to be £12.50 but they’d mis-priced it with the wrong offer & they stuck with the misprice even though they didn’t have to.

      My previously activated online pass from my launch copy obviously worked with it.

  6. It’s finally clear to me now… All free to play games are aimed at those mu – sorry, i mean lovely people – who buy mobile phone games. Phew that’s a relief, I thought they were going to ruin console gaming but now I see this is just something extra to ensnare that lot. Goody, we’ll continue to have proper games and the mugs* will also have their fill.. :)

    *Apologies to all vessels. :~\

    • Sigh, I play one free to play game (World of Tanks) and I take offense at being called a mug, thanks very much! It is possible to play the entire game and unlock all the tanks on a free basis, but I choose to buy a monthly premium account to speed it up and also buy special tanks here and there. Free to play games are much better on the PC than they are on their console counterparts.

      • Don’t take offence, i was being a bit tongue-in-cheek :)
        I’ll take your word on the pc side of things.
        I enjoyed TomBlitz on and off for a few months, never spent a cent on it but would gladly have paid a reasonable price for a full version.

  7. This kind of splitting up of content for the digital distribution is really interesting to me. I’d love to be able to just buy the single player bits of games and – if they got the pricing right – not have to pay for the multiplayer stuff I hardly ever touch.

    Not this time though, I’ve already got this :)

    • I could save so much money if I only had to pay for the singleplayer part of games, since I never play online anyways.
      I’d still prefer the content to be on a disc, though. They should still release everything on disc, at the minimum price of the single player campaign and then release separate online passes for all the different modes.

    • If i could buy the single player only on games, I’d do it. I so often avoid the online aspects of games, it’s just not important to me.

    • Single player is the area there’s less likely to be ongoing revenue so would inevitably have to cost more, assuming publishers take into account ongoing revenue from multiplayer when setting the price for the game package as a whole.

  8. i think i’ll give it a try, the co-op would be of more interest to me though, maybe i’ll buy that part later on.
    i’d have preferred if it was included for free, but that’s just me being cheap. ^_^

    still, if you like the competitive modes, and most other people seem to, then you can play those for free.
    though i can see the level cap being an issue.

    of course, as people have been saying, you can buy the GOTY edition with all the extra content and no level cap for less than it would cost to unlock all the stuff for the free version.

  9. dear o dear, stay away from the “free” version I say. I hate the way gaming is going, as excited as I am about the PS4, the publishers are trying their best to fuck it up for a lot of people.

    I know its free, but what is the point in all this when you can get the game cheaper in the stores. It’s on the verge of being conned if you don’t do your home work properly

    • They aren’t purposefully trying to ‘fuck it up’ but at the end of the day gaming is still a business. If they don’t make money then their next game probably won’t get made. This is just another way to get extra money from those gamers that’ll be up for it.

      I’d hazard a guess that less than half of the people that buy Uncharted 3 (free to play or otherwise) will know they can get it for much cheaper in disc form so why shouldn’t Naughty Dog try this? Those that are smart enough and will avoid it are not being harmed and those that aren’t will pay and probably be none the wiser. It’s a buyers choice, no conning in my opinion.

  10. Or you can go to GAME/Amazon and buy the whole package, including one of the best single player campaigns to date, for around £10. Decisions…. :D

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