Funcom to make Age of Conan MMOG free-to-play
Three years after it was launched, Funcom has announced that the massively multiplayer Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures is going free-to-play.
It will be relaunched under the name Age of Conan: Unrated this summer, and will adopt a hybrid business model with anyone free to pillage the landscape at no cost, keeping premium subscribers who will get access to extra content for stumping up dosh.
An in-game store will also do a brisk business in micro-transactions, Funcom hopes, with exclusive weapons, mounts and so forth on sale here.
As well as offering free play, the Unrated name alludes to the fact that the development team is apparently going to stay truer to the original Conan stories, using more of the “barbaric, brutal and sexy setting that is Robert E. Howard’s Hyboria”.
Funcom has already got development underway on a new bank of locations, monsters, equipment and storylines for Unrated, including a movie tie-in adventure pack.
Morten Larssen, SVP of Sales & Marketing, commented: “With over 1.4 million copies sold, glowing reviews for both the core game as well as the expansion, and a healthy player base ever since launch in 2008, there is no doubt that ‘Age of Conan’ has been a true success story for Funcom.”
“Now we turn to another chapter in this story as we thrust ‘Age of Conan: Unrated’ into the world of free-to-play games, a gaming space that is becoming rapidly more popular and profitable across the board.”
As a free-to-play MMOG, this will definitely be a tempter, as many have been impressed by what Conan offers in terms of questing and atmosphere.
Although the question is, exactly how will the free-to-play element be implemented (in terms of how much of an advantage will premium players get). We’ll find out in a month or two.
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