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 Star Trek Online  To Go Free-To-Play 'By The End Of This Year'
Star Trek Online To Go Free-To-Play 'By The End Of This Year'
September 1, 2011 | By Mike Rose

September 1, 2011 | By Mike Rose
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing

Perfect World, the China-based games company that wholly owns Star Trek Online developer Cryptic Studios, has revealed that the online MMO will be swapping to the free-to-play model before the end of the year.

As part of the company's Q2 2011 earnings conference call, CFO Kelvin Lau explained that the free-to-play model is currently in production, and the game will be updated before the year is up.

"When Perfect World acquired Cryptic, one of our contributions was to share our free-to-play experience with Cryptic," he explained.

"Cryptic is working on the free-to-play model for Star Trek Online," he continued. "This is going to be launched by the end of this year as well. So I think with the free-to-play model, we have bigger potential in the U.S. market and also in the Chinese market."

Publisher Atari announced back in May that it was divesting of its interest in Cryptic Studios, originally calling the development house a "discontinued operation."

However, Perfect World quickly stepped in and acquired the studio, paying approximately 35.0 million ($50.3 million) for the STO and Champions Online house.

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John McMahon
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I thought people were enjoying STO, even though it is a long way from the original vision by Perpetual. Is this a sign of it dying with only over a year out on market?

Kim Pittman
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"Dying" implies that no one is playing it. People are, the company just wants to make more money. F2P has boosted income on every single mmo that has chosen that route. They are just doing what is best for the company and the game.

Joe McGinn
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No it's not, it's a sign it might survive. Almost NO ONE makes money in MMO subscription model. Many other games have thrived, however, after converting to free-to-play.

R Hawley
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I think they would have gone F2P sooner just like with their Champions Online game but couldn't until the deal between Atari and Perfect World was done. It's difficult to do a lot when your owner is in massive debt, tends to create a lot of uncertainty?

Geoff Schardein
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Well, isn't that just wonderful after I have spent the money for a lifetime subscription and bought many of the items in the C-Store, somehow this does not give me the warm and fuzzies.

Sarah Johnson-Bliss
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Don't worry Geoff. Lifetime subs are treated like 'gold' accounts on CO. STO will be no different. Gold accounts are subscribers, and also get a stipend of cryptic points (on CO). Not only will your lifetime sub become a permanent gold account, you will also get free points that you can buy even MORE stuff. I personally cannot wait. I, too, have a lifetime sub on STO.

Giro Maioriello
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Sounds similar to what Turbine did with Lord of the Rings online.

Initially I was unhappy with it going f2p a couple of months after getting the lifetime subscription, but the 500 turbine points a month allows me to upgrade storage and other things on a regular basis if I want to. So I'm quite pleased with the changes.

Geoff Schardein
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Thanks Sarah,

That makes me feel a little better. I have no problem buying the extra perks at the C-Store but would be really irked if I had spent for Lifetime with no other benefits then I have received thus far. I like what Perfect World/Cryptic is doing with STO, the new Borg missions and fixing buggy missions so I know they are spending on STO. I certainly want STO to continue. Based on what happens with this transition to free to play will influence me on other MMOs. I have pre-ordered Star Wars The Old Republic. If I feel cheated on this transition I am going to cancel the order and not support any other MMO. On the other hand if there are perks as you mentioned, that I can handle and support. My only issue is Perfect World or any MMO vendor can pull the plug at any time an unlike a boxed game on a PC, console, handheld. etc. there is no recourse for users to continue to play since no servers equals no game.

John Trauger
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It makes sense. They went FtP with champions Online as an experiment. I guess it worked so now it's STO's turn. Or they're just jumping on the FtP bandwagon.

Kevin Patterson
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I have a friend that plays STO, who is a lifetime subscriber, and just loves the game.

She showed me the game shortly after launch, and then again recently, and i'm very impressed with the great changes that Cryptic has made. Kudos to them for listening to their fanbase and showing the game lots of love.

Now, if only someone would create a Babylon 5 RPG/Space sim/MMO I'd be a happy man.

Geoff Schardein
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FTP is ruining the STO experience for me and many others . Too many petty pokes and random chance offerings to make the user spend what Cryptic calls "micro transactions" but are really just money grabs. I paid for a lifetime subscription and feel robbed, sure they give you 400 credits a month, whoopee! Even the smallest transaction for a flipping "Master Key" to open your lousy Cardassian Box are 100 Credits per key or 10 keys for 900 Credits. There is no way in the game to earn Master keys and decent rewards are being replaced by fairly worthless Casrdassian Boxes where you get a miniscule chance to get a Galor Ship, but most likely you will get consumables. To add insult to injury every time a user gets one of these supposedly Very Rare ships a broadcast message goes out to all users. It is annoying and I will no longer buy anything this is not a hard and fast asset in my inventory. If I want to gamble and waste my money I will go to a real casino and forget these dreadful FTP tactics.