Age of Empires Online launches August 16

Microsoft-published free-to-play PC real-time strategy game debuting this summer; premium content packs also available at launch for a price.

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The iconic Age of Empires franchise has been dormant on the PC since the well-reviewed Asian Dynasties expansion hit Age of Empires III in 2007. Now, the series' newest entry--Age of Empires Online--is readying a fight on the PC this summer.

The dawn of Age of Empires: Online is nigh.
The dawn of Age of Empires: Online is nigh.

According to an announcement on the game's website, Age of Empires Online will premiere on August 16 for the PC, one year following its announcement at GamesCom 2010. It will be available both at retail and via www.AgeofEmpiresOnline.com.

The historical real-time strategy game will be available to play for free, but gamers can also purchase Premium Content Packs, which include booster packs and additional game modes, for a fee.

The free version of Age of Empires Online boasts "more than 40 hours" of gameplay, claims its publisher, and is in development at Gas Powered Games. The gameworld is described as "evolving and persistent," blending the real-time strategy elements the franchise is known for with massively multiplayer qualities.

For more on the title, check out the game's official FAQ, as well as GameSpot's most recent hands-on preview with Age of Empires Online.

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