LEGO Universe 'free-to-play' trial incoming

Eight months after LEGO Universe launched on PC, the LEGO Group has announced that NetDevil's plastic-inspired MMO is to receive a slimline free-to-play version this August, though it sounds more like a free trial.

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Players of the free-to-play version will be limited to two adventure areas and one space for building their own virtual LEGO models with collected bricks. While a free-to-play model typically runs on microtransactions for premium content, LEGO Universe won't offer any such thing, and there are no plans for it either. If players want more than the free version offers, they'll need to go the whole hog and start paying the $10 monthly subscription fee. It's more an endless free trial than a free-to-play version, then.

"The LEGO Group remains committed to success in the digital space and to LEGO Universe," said LEGO Group VP Jesper Vilstrup in the announcement. "We see LEGO Universe as a key element for our digital play division, and are adjusting the business model to make the game more accessible to players, without the immediate obligation to purchase or subscribe."

To knock down another barrier to entry, players will also no longer be required to purchase a copy of the game. LEGO Universe will be offered as a free download to both those who plan to subscribe and those who simply want to mooch.

LEGO Universe launched to a lukewarm reception in October 2010, being a bit too grindy and awkward for some at the time. Still, if it's free and you have a few spare moments in your action-packed life this August, it couldn't hurt too much to give it a bash.