Defiance going free-to-play on PC/Xbox 360/PS3, dev promises no "tricks or traps"

Originally sold as a boxed product, Trion Worlds' MMO that ties in with SyFy's TV show launching with new business model on June 4.

Defiance, the PC and console MMO that ties in with SyFy's TV show of the same name, is transitioning to a free-to-play game starting next month. Coinciding with the premiere of the second season of Defiance the TV show, on June 4, you'll be able to create a Defiance account and play the game for free.

On that date, Defiance will become a free-to-play game for PC. The free version of Defiance will be available on PlayStation 3 starting July 15, while Xbox 360 owners might have to wait even longer. Developer Trion Worlds is "discussing the details with Microsoft" about the game's eventual free-to-play release for Xbox 360. There's no word yet on how much longer Xbox 360 owners might have to wait.

"We're making this transition because we wanted to bring the Defiance experience to a wider audience" -- Defiance creative lead Trick Dempsey

One question many gamers might be asking is why? Why go free-to-play now?

"We're making this transition because we wanted to bring the Defiance experience to a wider audience," creative lead Trick Dempsey told GameSpot. "Something that we've learned from the lifetime of the product is that more people playing the game makes a more positive experience because we have focused the game on a massive, co-op, PvE, progression-based experience. And having people walking that path with you is just the coolest thing."

Dempsey says that Defiance's transition from a paid boxed product to a free-to-play game will be done "without tricks or traps." Trion Worlds has experience transitioning major MMOs to the free-to-play business model, as the company did just that last year with its fantasy game Rift.

"Our transition on Rift was received incredibly positively," Dempsey said. "And we have taken the lessons that we have learned from that and iterated upon them by coordinating across our different developments and deciding how can we add the best value for the players who are already in the game while still offering something compelling for people who are going to be coming in new to the game with as little friction as possible? We want people to get in and be having a good time right away."

[A detailed breakdown of the differences between free and paid accounts is available at Defiance's website]

The free-to-play business model is not without its criticisms. Some players are wary that certain content will be locked behind a paywall or that they'll need to pay for basic items. These concerns are not lost on Trion Worlds. Of course, the studio hopes you'll pay for some things, and they plan to offer items for sale that they believe are valuable, but they aren't going to be upset if you don't pay, according to Dempsey.

"We have followed the same theory that we did for Rift, which is no tricks, no traps; you can play it from level zero to level whatever the heck our max is going to be, and we're not going get in your way," Dempsey said. "If you want to play for a year without ever paying us a dime, that's fine. Thank you for playing in our playground. We enjoy it. We're glad you're around."

"We could be making more money if we did the rest of that bullsh**, but that's really not who we want to be" -- Trion Worlds CEO Scott Hartsman

Trion Worlds CEO Scott Hartsman agrees, going on to say that the company is OK with not making as much money if it means players have a better experience.

"Quite honestly, we'd rather make less money on people and have them feel better about the experience. So essentially, any time we put something up for sale it needs to be something that A) we don't think a person's ever going to regret buying and [B) we want] it to be something they genuinely feel good having purchased," Hartsman said. "Because we'd rather have people associate [microtransactions] with 'Hey, you guys did good. Here's five bucks. Oh cool. I got a great thing I like.' And that's really the guiding philosophy around all of it. We could be making more money if we did the rest of that bullsh**, but that's really not who we want to be."

Finally, we asked Trion Worlds about the possibility of Defiance coming to the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Hartsman said right now the combined 10 million+ systems sold (7 million for PS4 and 3 million for Xbox One) is simply too small for a free-to-play game like Defiance.

"Because the game is free-to-play, economics are a little different," Hartsman said. "We need larger numbers of players. I would definitely be looking for larger numbers of consoles to be out there for it to work. Show us the eight figures of installs and we would love to be everywhere."

You can sign up to play Defiance today at the game's website. The first episode in the second season of Defiance the TV show airs June 19 on SyFy.

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

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94 comments
killaman9996
killaman9996

You know with everything I have read about this anyone that purchased the game at launch probably felt robbed. Event with this move to free to play this MMO just seems generic to me and not woth a play. 

bryanhudd
bryanhudd

There better be benefits for people who wasted $60 on launch for this game.

xzzx
xzzx

Oh well. At least I got a figurine with my preorder.

Aaron3691
Aaron3691

I'm confused. Defiance was free to play anyway? I bought it on launch and played it 3months without no sub fees.

tightwad34
tightwad34

Sorry, but just the phrase free to play is a trick. It may not be a trap considering you don't have to actually give any $$ to progress or get the wanted equipment/items to get where you want to be. They really should call it pay what you want because you are inevitably going to be paying something to advance. How in the hell else are they going to make any money? Sponsors, I don't think so. Not sure how many sponsors are going to line up to endorse a FTP game.

KSSuperhero
KSSuperhero

They should just shut it down, I got it the day it was released and played it for a few days. Its just bad bad bad, there is no reason to waste your time on it.

Vodoo
Vodoo

This is the first time a retail console game has gone ftp after being sold for $60. I bet they're having issues with Microsoft and their XBL Gold paywall. Obviously the dev wants the game to be free to everyone and Microsoft is saying "no problem... as long as they have a Gold account."

Microsoft didn't budge with other ftp games, like that horrible slow as shit tank game, and they aren't gonna make an exception for this game either. Most people that play their 360 regularly have a Gold account anyways. Even if they don't play mp games, they use apps on the console. So requiring a Gold account isn't that big of a deal.

lfebaggins
lfebaggins

Which will get shut down first, the game or the show?


My guess is the show, its a huge pile of shtako.

semi74
semi74

Playd the beta for a couple of days and said then that it was a shoein for a FTP game after 6 months.  Looks like my evaluation was more or less right.

Darkhol0w
Darkhol0w

I've said this long time ago when game was about to launch "will play it once it goes f2p"..now I will thanks! :D

hellzicke
hellzicke

No tricks or traps you say? Well, prepare yourselves for a world of lockboxes.

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

So, it failed, and is now going F2P like all MMOs that fail.


STOP MAKING MMOS.

yoda101280
yoda101280

I bought this game back when it was released, it's entertaining for a few weeks at best.  Main issues is a small, underdeveloped gaming world with no memorable visuals or locations to speak of.  The group and pvp content is quite sub-par compared to almost any shooter you can think of and the pve content mainly consists of driving around and closing "rifts," it seems they like that mechanic in their games so much its all they do in this one.  Oh yeah and did I mention the chat system is basically non-functional?  You might be wondering how anyone screws up something as basic as chat and I wish I had an answer for you.  All I can say is it was messed up since the first playable version of the game and despite many cries from the playerbase the last time I played this game it was still the same crap it had always been.  It works, sort of, it's just quite horrid and I guess you have to try to use it to understand what I mean. 


This game could have been mildly fun but there was just no vision behind it, the gunplay is actually fairly satisfying but there's no sense of progression.  Knowing what I know now I certainly wouldn't ever pay money for this game though since it's going F2P checking it out wouldn't be a complete waste of time so long as you're only looking for a filler game.


Just to give you an idea of how certain I was about never playing this again.  I have GW2 that I bought day 1, same pay model as Defiance buy the box and then it's free to play.  I haven't played GW2 in at least a year now but I still keep it installed on my PC just in case I get an itch to play for some reason and since there's no sub it's no big deal.  Defiance is in the same boat as far as the sub but I went so far as to completely uninstall that game long ago as I knew there would never be any chance I would be going back to it.  

surrealme
surrealme

I bought the game at release along with a season pass since Trion made me a fan with the great work they've done with Rift. Some of the DLC has been lackluster but I don't regret having bought it. It's fun, and I definitely got my money's worth out of it. Worth checking out for those that haven't tried it.

Flamewolf75
Flamewolf75

Cool. I played it on a free weekend a while back. I enjoyed it.

Megamandrew
Megamandrew

Glad I didn't buy this for $5 the other week.

Oloryn
Oloryn

They handled Rift perfectly, and it's a great game, so I can see this turning out the same. Probably better for all, since more gamers means more gamers who might happily spend some money to support a game they are enjoying. I'll likely check it out now!

Ervaine
Ervaine

While they say there won't any "tricks and traps" , there probably be a Catch .

origkillmachine
origkillmachine

Cool. I'll try this game now. Anybody, is it any good? How many players in a server? PVP?

Dannystaples14
Dannystaples14

People didn't play it originally because it was shit. How is that going to be different now it is free?

mr_nee
mr_nee

I bought it, played once never came back. Both game and TV series are a failure

spacecadet25
spacecadet25

So people that recently bought the game but haven't played it yet are feeling like jackasses (like myself)?

Wintermist
Wintermist

They would have to pay me to play it. Nice concept for a game, horrible execution.

sirchick
sirchick

"no tricks, no traps"

So the paywall only sells skins and not P2W content? I won't believe that till i see it for myself.

gganso
gganso

@bryanhudd The launchprice on Steam was 9,99EUR for the Standard Edition, the other edition was only 20EUR, don't know where you payed the game for 60 dollars but you got scammed bro. And the benefits are that you have a 12 months lead in experience, knowledge, progress, ingame currency etc so yes you have big benefits already.

gganso
gganso

@Aaron3691 You bought the game and you say it's free to play, whatt??!!

mr_england
mr_england

@Aaron3691  "I bought it on launch" as in paid for it? That's the bit that's changed. Now you don't pay for it at the start either.

josekuervo
josekuervo

@KSSuperhero yeah thats the reason I did not buy it... i thought from the commercials this was going to be f2P from the start.. once I realized it wasn't I didn't want to spend any amount of money on it.  I might give it a try now since I like the show.

josekuervo
josekuervo

@Vodoo not really... DC Universe Online was retail for $60 and then they changed it to F2P on PC and PS3

hystavito
hystavito

@lfebaggins  I followed it, but maybe I was just forcing myself because I wanted to see how this supposedly highly connected game an TV show thing went.  However, I bought the game much later when it dropped in price to I think around $10, and only played it for maybe a week :).


I'll be checking out season 2 of the show.

hystavito
hystavito

@yoda101280  "no memorable visuals or locations"

So true.  I can play a game for awhile even if all I do is explore, but in Defiance I don't really remember finding some location and being like ohhh cooool.  It's very repetitive and has that general bland feeling.

EdAl2112
EdAl2112

@Ervaine Dempsey's brother Catch said in an interview that there won't be any catch either.

dlCHIEF58
dlCHIEF58

@spacecadet25  

Veterans (i.e. people who already bought the game) will be getting a slew of perks and bonuses. 

dlCHIEF58
dlCHIEF58

@sirchick  

Game has always been that way and not about to change. The only problem is the skins are horribly overpriced to begin with (and still are), which to me was the main reason this game suffered financially. They need to adjust those prices severely if they want any chance to make a profit off the F2P model. 

josekuervo
josekuervo

@gganso uhmm... $59.99 is the standard price for new boxed games in retail stores in the US... it has been the standard for years. He didn't get scammed he just bought it retail.  Who gives a sh about the benefits you described.  I wanted to play this game when it came out thinking it was free2play and didn't when I found out it wasn't.  I was certain they were going to change it to f2p eventually as they did with DCUO and I was right.   The game had sh reviews and it looked like the kind of game that would fail and be revived via the f2p format. the real people that got scammed is anyone that paid any amount for it.

Dexyu
Dexyu

@Zero_Nitrous @luizferrarezzi  I tried beta was super disappointed didn't pick it up, i'm glad i did not. Il probably try it for free but it will suck any ways

sirchick
sirchick

@dlCHIEF58 @spacecadet25  if they bought the game they should given the choice of a refund if they don't want perks, given thats not what they bought.

surrealme
surrealme

@sirchick @dlCHIEF58@spacecadet25That would be a stupid thing to be annoyed about. If I make the decision to buy something it's because I feel it's worth the money. If it becomes free the next day that doesn't magically change the things on which I based my decision the day before. Besides, they've been selling it for like $5. People spend more on a cup of coffee.

sirchick
sirchick

@dlCHIEF58 @sirchick @spacecadet25  the difference in experience is that i would of paid $ and be annoyed by the fact others are playing for free.

What they do now is give perks who did pay which now means they have advantage over other players, which is no different to P2W methods. 

I for one am glad i didn't get into this game.

dlCHIEF58
dlCHIEF58

@sirchick @dlCHIEF58 @spacecadet25  

That makes no sense - the game is going to be the same either way. And what is this divide you are speaking of? How is it not the same experience? Did you not even read the changes? There are no radical changes coming, they are just eliminating the initial cost to get into the game. Those that have paid will be getting a month of perks and bonuses that those who get the game for free do not. And the influx of new players will only make the game better. 

dlCHIEF58
dlCHIEF58

@sirchick @dlCHIEF58 @spacecadet25  

Why should they get a refund? They got what they paid for, can still play the game with no changes, and are getting rewards as well. I was a day 1 purchaser and have no issues with this - now if they will just fix the outrageous pricing on skins then they might actually make some money with the new model. If they don't and keep them at the current prices, then this isn't going to help them any in terms of making a profit.