As CCP winds up to launch Dust 514 later this year, it's given the business model a shake-up. The PlayStation 3-exclusive EVE Online tie-in FPS will be entirely free-to-play, turning away from previous plans for a "cover charge."
Dust 514 will now be free to download and play when it hits PlayStation Network. CCP had previously planned for players to pay a $10-20 "cover charge" to download it. They would've been granted an equivalent amount of in-game currency to spend on microtransaction doodads, but it would still be a not-insignificant barrier to growing the player base.
The big selling point of Dust is, if you haven't heard, that it hooks into EVE. Internet spaceships players will be able to contract mercenaries planetside in Dust to further their interests. While CCP's talked a fair bit about the integration, it's still not entirely clear how everything will work in practice.
CCP has said that Dust's microtransactions will focus on cosmetic items, skill point boosters and the like, rather than encouraging players to cough up cash to shoot men better. Given the horrible mess that arose when it seemed CCP was even contemplating microtransaction weapons for EVE, it'll hopefully stick to that.
There'll also be a companion app for Vita, CCP explained to Eurogamer. It'll let players shop in the market, equip and customize their gear, chat, and all that jazz.
"As the first true free-to-play FPS on PS3, DUST 514 signifies a big step forward in the evolution of console gaming," Sony Computer Entertainment business development SVP Phil Rosenberg said in today's announcement.