DC Universe Online population spikes 1,000% on free-to-play switch

[UPDATE 11/10] Sony Online Entertainment's superhero-based MMOG struggles with capacity following introduction of microtransaction-based option; 1 million new players in a week.

DC Universe Online launched in January as Sony Online Entertainment's fastest-selling game to date. The game is also attracting swaths of gamers in its new free-to-play form, according to Sony Online Entertainment president John Smedley.

Patient would-be superheroes can now fight for free.

On Saturday, the SOE executive took to his Twitter feed to reveal that user-base numbers were up 900 percent over pre-free-to-play numbers since the new business model was introduced on November 1. Since then, the figure has ballooned to 1,000 percent. Smedley did not provide a breakdown of which platform new users are flocking to.

The player influx hasn't come without a cost, however. The massive influx of users has resulted in users reporting long waits to get into the game, and various other issues. The latest update from Smedley is that the team is aware of the issues and is "on it." Servers are being added to the DCUO infrastructure, and subscribers are being pushed to the front of log-in queues.

DC Universe Online lets players create their crime fighter or villain and is set in such locales as Superman's Metropolis and Batman's Gotham City. Also, a range of heroes and villains from the comic book publisher's immense stable lend their presence to the game.

The game also benefits from heralded comic artist Jim Lee and scribe Marv Wolfman, who contributed to the project. Monthly subscriber perks include access to all the downloadable content packs, more than 15 character slots, 80 inventory slots, and the ability to form player leagues of any size.

[UPDATE 11/10] Following on from Smedley's Twitter updates earlier this week, SOE announced today some official numbers associated with DCUO's switch to a free-to-play business model. One week after the switch over, the game has accrued 1 million new players, the company said. These new players split evenly between the PS3 and PC versions of the game.

For more on DC Universe Online, check out GameSpot's recent coverage.

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Discussion

69 comments
Gue1
Gue1

awesome game.

Azorean269
Azorean269

All I'm saying is that I fought for this to be free way back when the game was realeased.

Jtoon
Jtoon

The queues are shorter yes but for the subscribers this isn't good if you ask me. It takes longer to get on even with the technology to allow subscribers to be first in line because takes longer to load sometimes I am at loading screens for a very long time and yesterday my PS3 froze. Also seems that the priority for developers are the cash shop and not developing interesting things for the primary game so I probably will be letting my subscription expire in January.

Nightrain50
Nightrain50

They should've sold it as free to play from the start and never dropped the price from $60. And then only charged for full on expansion packs. But they were greedy and tried to get that subscription money.

z0rph
z0rph

@megakick I don't know if you're kidding or not but that's not the way that percentages work. For a one thousand percent increase you multiply by ten not a thousand. Hence there were probably about a hundred thousand accounts prior to the increase.

MOwens9512
MOwens9512

I can attest to this spike in usership. My boy told me to download it so we could play on my day off, so I said what the heck adn did. Started the 20GB download (thank God I just upgraded toa 500GB HD a couple of weeks ago, geesh) and when it started it gave me a message basically saying it make be slow due to high traffic. they weren't lying. I started it around 11am. When I went to bed at 11:30pm, it was at 40% LOL I woke up around 7:30 and it was magically done. Of course, I had to go to work and have been working like crazy, so I haven't been able to even set up anything LOL Long story short, I spet almost 24hrs downloading a game just so I can pad Sony's stats. Fail on me LOL Still can't wait to see what it's all about. Who hasn't wanted to be a superhero at one time in their lives? LOL

whitetiger3521
whitetiger3521

Last time I played this game it crashed my PS3 with a "Game data is corrupted" notice. Looks like they may have fixed the huge login queued's but now something else comes up. This game is alot of fun to play when everything goes well, which for me doesn't seem to be very often.

The_Last_Ride
The_Last_Ride

@megakick there were probably 100 000 players 100% of 100k is 100k, x 10 = 1 million :)

megakick
megakick

+1000 percent and a 1,000,000 more accounts? How many accounts where left b4 the F2P :/ 1000x 1000 is 1 million?

PheneonS
PheneonS

Wow thats an extra digit going on there.

surppo
surppo

people can hate on sony all they want but who else is doing mmo's on consoles and making them free. this could never happen on xbox live without some kinda inception-esque subscription model (fees within fees). i hope to never pay a subscription fee for a game i ll pay for the game and dlc, but not to help pay for operating expenses. this game gives me hope for next gen imagine a gta mmo or maybe mad max.

Ghetto_ninja
Ghetto_ninja

This game is great. As gamers we sent a message that we will not pay to play a console game. If they develop a sequel or follow up game I can almost guarantee they will make it free to play, but offer lots of purchasable extras as seen in this game. Let people get into the game then they are more likely to buy extra stuff to enhance their experience and they won't feel ripped off. Forcing people to pay, though, good luck.

unreal_master
unreal_master

I want to know how many of those numbers played more than a day. It's a free game and people want to try it out.

SaintForHire
SaintForHire

Wow. That's more than like... 100 percent.

Karikma
Karikma

F2P is the gaming equivalent to "huffing" at least for American audiences. It'll buzz for a little while but fizzle out pretty fast due to the fact any old person can pick up and play. The bads take over and the exclusive air of the community fades.

monster637
monster637

they could have made more and not have had a problem at first if they just sold us the disc and did not give it free and was free online ...but i cant complain about a free game as awesome as this.. the opening scene was some of the best graphics ive seen on ps3 or xbox

servb0ts
servb0ts

if SOE made more games like this F2P after we buy the game they might actually make a profit. proof patiences is virtue, and Free to Play just kicks alot of Ass.

MTLheaDRicardo
MTLheaDRicardo

I love the F2P system it should be in very mmo. I used to have a subscription for it, but paying for a game that already paid 60 dollars for was a little to much for me. So now I'm on it once again and loving it!!! Hope they add an update to the level cap cause 30 isn't enough for a MMO.

thrice00
thrice00

Big surprinsing news.... It just got free!!!! Sure you gonna have a big users spike.

HyabusaRyu
HyabusaRyu

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

brendanhunt1
brendanhunt1

This game took ages to download, but it was well worth it.

Zipper761882
Zipper761882

DCUO was far from dying before it went f2p. At least the pc version was, can't say much for the ps3 as I don't own one. I never had a single time when I had trouble finding someone for duos or anything else. My league was active with around 20 accounts. Personally I don't care much for the f2p model, but if it brings even more people into a very fun(albeit short, both in length and content for an mmo) game, then I am all for it. That being said, sadly I am quitting. It has nothing to do with the f2p or anything of that nature. I just need to get ready for Skyrim and ultimately TOR. DCUO is a great game and hopefully when I come up for air in March or so from TOR, I will resub and get to know some of you newer players.

FoeCrusher
FoeCrusher

Well good for DC online if even one in ten of the new players stick around it should make the community and game more fun. MMO's are not much fun on an empty server.

J_Dangerously
J_Dangerously

I am one of the new F2P players. The game is much better than I anticipated, and recommend strongly that you use a PS or XBOX controller, even on a PC. I would have no problems subscribing. The only thing preventing me from doing so is The Old Republic. I don't want to get caught up in another game so close to ToR's release.

Too-DementeD
Too-DementeD

I would've downloaded this myself, but it required a rather large amount of memory so I didn't. I've heard nothing but good about it though.

Wormkid_64
Wormkid_64

Free eh? That was the one and only thing keeping me from playing this game. I will never subscribe to a monthly payment plan to play a game I should own. But free. I'm enticed. Perhaps the world needs a new hero....or villain! BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA! @jamyskis I think they were just jealous that they were duped into paying,while all the new guys got on for free.

Crash_WL
Crash_WL

I'm one of those players. I finally got the chance to play it, but I never was interested in subscribing. I have a couple of friends who are subscribed to it, but they said it was just a good game, but not too deep. It's just that it was their sole MMO, so they didn't mind subscribing. But, I've no spare money to test if it will satisfy me or not, nor do I want to purchase its disc. Now, I play regularly, and I might subscribe to create a league, get the Light expansion, and a character slot, because I like what I see. That was a perfectly good move from SOE, and I'm sure they'll see profit. All MMO's should head this way; subscription-based for a while, to get some pure profit, and then F2P with premium content.

deustchin
deustchin

This is the future of all MMRPGs.

packtop
packtop

Any P2P that go F2P will have a huge increase in population nothing surprising in this.

Megavideogamer
Megavideogamer

A 14GB download that is going to take forever. Downloading stuff off PSN takes forever. But the game is free. sort of. If I can find a disc based copy I might play this.

gameking5000
gameking5000

I want to know about any profit increase instead of user increase.

jamyskis
jamyskis

I've spent the past four days downloading it and got a chance to try it out on the PS3 yesterday. I may well eventually get a platinum subscription - I'm very impressed with what I see - but I certainly wouldn't have gone for it if the game hadn't been F2P. I suspect many are in my position, so it was a good move on the part of SOE. That being said, I was less than enamoured with the established community, who took the opportunity to take cheap potshots at what they termed "freeloaders", placing the blame firmly on their shoulders for the access delays and lag, all the while neglecting to realise that the game would otherwise have been shut down for lack of subscriptions.

FallenOneX
FallenOneX

I'll admit it, if I run across a PS3 I like this season, I'll pick it up for this game.

Chainer323
Chainer323

I was half tempted to DL this off the PSN over the weekend, but with ACR coming out next tuesday and then TOR coming out a month later, i'd end up having maybe 2 weeks or so to play before i switched gears. besides, plenty of better, non-lolFPS games coming out to keep me off this F2P game

TyrannicFeenix
TyrannicFeenix

I'm still waiting for the stupid thing to install. Who was the genius who made a 700 MB file that then has to download 14Gb in game. will take forever and make my console completely useless while it downloads. I can still play other games when something is in my donwload queue but not this way.

Slyster1181
Slyster1181

Heheheh.. Percentages.. When those start being thrown around you know the end result is less than impressive... x10 of almost nothing is still almost nothing.

SnakeEatinBeans
SnakeEatinBeans

It's gonna be a ghost town in a few hours because the kiddies will hang up their capes for noob tubes when a certain game is release at midnight.

SDBusDriver1979
SDBusDriver1979

Go free to play and now people are playing your game, who would of thought that? I wish other mmos would take note *cough RIFT *cough. Hopefully Sony can maintain the player count because I think their pricing tiers are incredibly stupid much like the Age of Empires Online pricing tier stupid or saying World of Warcraft is free to play now stupid.

DeathwachMarine
DeathwachMarine

Downloaded DCUO for PS3 3 days ago, and i cant stop playing

DevilD2005
DevilD2005

Question is can they keep the new players. When you get something for free, its easier to neglect it and move on.

whitetiger3521
whitetiger3521

This game is actually good, Can't wait til they get everything worked out! I got to level 4 on my first character after finally getting in after a 9500+ login que lol.

Sepewrath
Sepewrath

That comes as no surprise. Though I'm sure many coming in will get annoyed with the micro-transactions.

JasPlun
JasPlun

None of these games are free.They bait you into the game advertising free then you get bombarded with the micro-transaction stores.I tried EQ2 Extended and bailed after I got sick and tired of the constant baiting going on like want more bag space? pay$$$ want an extra character slot? pay more $$$ It really does get old. To me the subscription model is the best especially if they lowered the prices.I subscribed to EQ2 and still got a Shop the store window every time I logged in and that was an immersion KILLER. I think if I choose the sub. model then I should not have to see all the advertisement crap.

Ilikemyname420
Ilikemyname420

Game must have been pretty dead. According to the Twitter page when they got 330k new players usage went up 600%. That would pretty much mean that they only had 55k players to start with which is pretty sad for an MMO. Can't see how well this will work out though since they aren't dropping the price of subscription...If anything it will just get a lot of the subscibers to switch to free play.