Champions Online going free-to-play next year

Atari and Cryptic's superhero-themed MMORPG picking up hybrid microtransaction/subscription model in early 2011; beta begins November 9.


Champions Online

With Blizzard Entertainment's World of Warcraft now over 12 million players worldwide, staying relevant in the massively multiplayer online role-playing game space has been no easy task. An increasingly common option for doing so, though, is switching to a free-to-play, microtransaction-supported business model. Recent converts include Turbine's Dungeons & Dragons Online and Lord of the Rings Online, as well as Sony Online Entertainment's EverQuest II.

Even the penniless can soon fight crime in Champions Online.
Even the penniless can soon fight crime in Champions Online.

Today, one more struggling MMORPG can be added to that list, as Atari and Cryptic Studios announced that their superhero-themed Champions Online would adopt a hybrid free-to-play/subscription model during the first quarter of 2011. A closed beta test for the free-to-play model is scheduled for November 9.

When Atari makes the switch over next year, gamers will be able to download Champions Online at no cost and play for an unlimited amount of time. However, those players will be able to augment their experience by purchasing premium content, including adventure packs, items, powers, and costume pieces. This content will be offered through what Cryptic is calling the C-Store, a Web-based and in-game marketplace.

Gamers will also have the option to continue paying a flat rate for Champions Online. Both new and continuing players can opt in to the $15-per-month subscription rate, which will grant them access to "most of the game's content" as well as other bonus features.

Champions Online was the first of two MMORPGs that Cryptic launched within a five-month period, having debuted in September 2009. Though it received more favorable reviews than its Star Trek Online cousin, the game failed to elevate Atari's full-year earnings out of the red. In August, Cryptic creative director and Blizzard North cofounder Bill Roper departed the company, with the studio going on to announce the Dungeons & Dragons-themed Neverwinter later that month.

Please use a html5 video capable browser to watch videos.
This video has an invalid file format.
Sorry, but you can't access this content!
Please enter your date of birth to view this video

By clicking 'enter', you agree to GameSpot's
Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email

  •   View Comments (0)
    Join the conversation
    There are no comments about this story