Star Trek Online setting phasers to freemium

Cryptic Studios confirms sci-fi MMORPG will transition to microtransaction-based business model later this year.

From Lord of the Rings Online to Age of Conan, success stories abound for massively multiplayer online role-playing games that flip to a microtransaction-driven freemium business model. With Cryptic Studios' Champions Online going the freemium route in January, it should come as no surprise that the MMOG specialist has similar intentions for Star Trek Online.

Freemium isn't exactly a space where no man has gone before.

Cryptic Studios confirmed this week that it intends to transition Star Trek Online to a freemium business model by the end of this year. The studio expects to have additional information on its pricing and execution strategy for Star Trek Online available next week.

News of the announcement first arrived during a Perfect World postearnings conference call last week. In that report, chief financial officer Kevin Lau confirmed that a freemium version of Star Trek Online will arrive in the US and China. Perfect World bought Cryptic from Atari in May 2011.

Star Trek Online received middling review scores when it first launched for the PC in February 2010. The game operates independently from any of the events established in the film or television series.

Players assume the role of a starship captain operating under the banner of either the United Federation of Planets (better known simply as "the Federation") or the Klingon, who are locked in an intergalactic struggle. The hive-minded Borg will also play a role in the MMOG.

For more information, check out GameSpot's previous coverage of Star Trek Online.

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