Champions Online Goes Free to Play

Previously a subscription-based massively multiplayer online game, Champions Online has announced plans to change their business model early next year, offering the game for free to anyone with an internet connection. Read the full press release below and thanks to SHH reader ‘Simon’ for bringing the news to our attention:

Atari Inc., one of the world’s most recognized videogame publishers, and renowned MMO developer Cryptic Studios have announced today that their superhero MMORPG, Champions Online™, will be free to play beginning Q1 2011. Players will be able to download and enjoy the game at absolutely no cost.

Champions Online free-to-play also features additional premium content for purchase. Adventure Packs, items, powers and costume pieces can be selected a la carte inside Cryptic’s innovative C-Store. Additionally, current players may continue subscribing as Gold members, while new players may also optionally upgrade to Gold status, which unlocks most of the game’s content and includes extra features for a set price of $14.99 per month.

"Transitioning Champions Online to the free-to-play model is a great opportunity to reach a whole new audience of PC gamers that view subscription fees as a barrier to entry," said John Needham, CEO of Cryptic Studios. "By taking care of our current subscription-based community and welcoming the addition of new players through free-to-play, Champions Online is poised to build upon its success and to establish a new leadership position as the first free-to-play superhero MMO."

Champions Online has been lauded since its launch for the customization options it gives players. The switch to free-to-play gives players even more control over their gameplay:

    * Unlimited Play Time – Play as much as you like, as long as you like, at absolutely no cost. No subscription or credit card required.
    * Your Own Hero, Your Own Story – Become a hero, encounter his or her Nemesis, and advance to maximum level at no cost.
    * Play Your Way – Utilize the optional web-based and in-game C-Store to purchase gameplay upgrades or additional premium content.

The Champions Online free-to-play closed beta test begins on November 9, 2010 and will be made available to a subset of current players, with potential openings for new users.

Champions Online brings epic heroism to the MMORPG genre with depth that challenges the most experienced online gamers, while its fast-paced action engages new entrants to the online superhero universe. Join with Defender and the legendary Champions to stop Dr. Destroyer and his minions in the ultimate showdown between good and evil.

To learn more about Champions Online Free-to-Play, please visit http://www.champions-online.com/f2p.