As EVE Online's microtransaction controversy fades away, developer CCP has revealed a little more of its plans on that front for console tie-in Dust 514. The shooter will essentially have a "cover charge" reimbursed with in-game currency, CEO Hilmar Veigar Pétursson has told GamesIndustry.biz.
"In the beginning you have to pre-buy credits, so you pay something like $10-$20 to enter the game and you get the equivalent number of credits in the game once you do that. We call this the 'cover charge,'" Pétursson said.
"You're really getting the game for free but you have to pre-buy credits in the beginning. We might go fully free-to-play down the line, but in the beginning we have a cover charge just to manage the initial launch of it."
"We have always been a big believer in growing up a social network behind the game in a slow and predictable way," he explained. "Because we have seen that if you don't do that you can end up with a very unstructured experience, where there's no cohesion to the community. By growing it at the beginning we help to make a healthy environment initially."
CCP still hasn't revealed exactly what players will be able to buy through microtransactions, but Pétursson insisted that "It's not like in shooters where you've seen virtual goods sales. Whether that's some of the games you've seen in Asia, whether that's Battlefield, or other games."
Presumably he's referring to how these sell the most powerful weapons in microtransactions, giving greater advantage to players with more money. EVE's currently focused on cosmetic items, with CCP vowing that "The investment of money in EVE should not give you an unfair advantage over the investment of time."
"We don't really have a set of things we're communicating on now because a lot of this comes out in the private trials that we're starting at the end of this year, where we're just starting to tune and test and see what works. That's how we'll define it," he said. "We have some initial assumptions but we'll put it out there and see how the player base during the trials reacts to it."
Pétursson also explained that being a PlayStation 3 exclusive let Dust be more experimental with its pricing structure, as it'd only have to suit the whims and desires of Sony, not Microsoft's too.
"By going exclusive with either platform allows us to do more innovation. The lowest common denominators would have been so small we couldn't do things that are really interesting," he said. "Sony was quite motivated in allowing us to do things we requested of them to the point they said 'no one has really asked about that before and we've never thought about, but why not?' They were very enthusiastic and open to really do something world changing and that's what swayed the decision to go with them."
Dust 514 is headed to PlayStation 3 in the summer of 2012. Check out our E3 preview for more, including on how the planet-side shooter connects with its spaceships elder sibling.