With free-to-play games like Farmville proving massive successes, it seemed like it would only be a matter of time before that model game to home game consoles. That time has come.
Japanese game developer Acquire is releasing a quest-based title called Bakumatsu Revolution. Hitting the PS3's PlayStation Network in Japan, the main game will be 100 per cent free. It will clock in at over 10 hours. Illustrated by Zerokichi, there is "some" character customisation (Samurai, Monk, Gunner) as well. Bakumatsu also has four player co-op play. This is all for free!
Free, freemium. That's short for gutted, right?
"I can guarantee it isn't gutted or unplayable in any way," Acquire assistant producer Luke Rideout told Kotaku.
The developer, however, will be releasing paid downloadable content packs to extend the experience with items costing between 100 and 200 yen ($US1.10 and $US2.20). Additional scenarios or quests will be priced from 300 to 500 yen ($US3.30 and $US4.40).
"Obviously we won't make a profit on the main game itself. We mostly just hope that we can get the game out to a large base of players, who can enjoy the full main game for free, no strings attached, from beginning to end," says Rideout. "Those players who wish to add a little extra to the game, like more side quests or new items can support the game by paying for those."
This is virgin territory for console gaming and a bold move for any game developer - let alone a Japanese one. We'll find out if this all is indeed a revolution when Bakumatsu Revolution is released in Japan on June 26.