Fantasy massively multiplayer online game Rift will adopt a free-to-play business model beginning June 12, developer Trion Worlds announced today.
According to the developer, free-to-play gamers will be able to experience the entire game world of Telara, which includes every dungeon, every zone, and every level. Free-to-play users will also receive "full access" to all content future game updates.
Rift creative director Bill Fisher explained that business model switch came in response to fan feedback.
"We have been listening to feedback from our players and watching the continuously developing MMO community, and are now ready to launch Rift as a premium free-to-play experience," Fisher said in a statement. "After taking our time and planning a careful transition; we are very excited to bring an enhanced game experience to everyone, without barriers."
When Rift goes free-to-play next month, Trion Worlds will launch an expanded in-game store offering up various mounts, boosts, and wardrobe items for purchase. Gamers who continue to pay a subscription will receive a series of "Patron" benefits, including extra currency, increased mount speed, and bonus experience, among other perks.
Trion Worlds will mark the June 12 free-to-play Rift re-launch with content update 2.3, called Empyreal Assault. This update will open an new zone, world event, chronicle, and more. A detailed breakdown of the new free-to-play version of Rift is available at the game's website.
Rift launched in March 2011 and introduced the Storm Legion expansion the next year. A Rift Lite version was made available February 2012 that allows gamers to play for free until level 20. Blizzard Entertainment offers a similar service for World of Warcraft. Rift generated $100 million in revenue during its first year.
It is the latest MMO to adopt a free-to-play business model after launch, following Tera, Lord of the Rings Online, Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures, EverQuest II, Aion, and Star Wars: The Old Republic.
Bethesda has not said if its upcoming MMO game The Elder Scrolls Online will carry a subscription fee, though consultant Nicholas Lovell believes the game will launch with a subscription before going free-to-play.