What Difference Did Going Free-To-Play Make For DC Universe Online?

What Difference Did Going Free-To-Play Make For DC Universe Online?
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We know that DC Universe Online‘s recent switch from subscription-based MMO to free-to-play added one million subscribers to the game in one week, but what does one million free players mean to the bottom line? How’s a 700 per cent increase in daily revenue, for starters?

Sony Online Entertainment head honcho John Smedley hit Twitter this morning to share some exciting numbers generated after flipping the DC Universe Online free-to-play switch. Numbers like a 6 per cent growth in the title’s player base since the change. And that’s not just people popping on to see what the game is about and leaving; more than 85 per cent of daily logins are return players, coming back for more free super heroic goodness.

And of course there’s the money that comes when you stop making players pay and making it an option instead. That 700 per cent is split almost evenly between PlayStation 3 (53 per cent) and PC (47 per cent) players, with the most popular items in the game’s cash marketplace being the Vanguard of the Heavens character skin and additional character slots.

With statistics like these it seems silly for any new major MMO title to launch with subscription fees in place. You listening, Star Wars: The Old Republic?


  • Three things:

    1 – I tried the free to play DCU and found it a mess control wise. But the custom look of new characters was awesome. I’ll go back to it when I have some free time

    2 – SWTOR is a Lucasarts game. Lucas likes the money he gets from his whore. So why would Lucasarts go straight to a free to play model?

    3 – Name me any MMO that launched as free to play that is still around and has a 1million strong player base?

    • We haven’t really had a “AAA” mmo released as free to play from the beginning.

      If your just talking about any mmo, then you already have runescape, maplestory and random korean cash-shop cow #102938i123.

    • Definitely agree, especially with no. 2. I still can’t believe the decision to release all the star wars movies starting with ep 1 in 3D

    • Shaiya. Its actually quite HUGE…. i played it for about 2 years then didnt have any time. my bro still plays it, i think its been about 5 years since. Constant new content.

    • Guild Wars was pretty damn big during its hey day. Player base has died down substantially since Eye of the North expansion only because there is no longer any expansions or from the developer.

      GW2 will be the new standard for “Free to play” MMO.

  • “Vanguard of the Heavens character skin” is the best seller because it’s a full body thing that’s relatively cheap; it’s the best value besides the GL expansion.

    I’m finding it hard to congratulate DC just yet – I love the game, and I play nearly every day, but the marketplace is pretty empty, so I find it hard to believe they’ll make much money in the short term.

  • You’ve got to take into account that DCUO was dead when it went free to play. I think (I’m not 100% sure) that they also had the Mega Servers up and running by that point which I imagine would have made the game actually playable. Handled right that would increase revenue a lot.

    I love the game, but for this to be held up as proof that free-to-play is anything but a last resort then it’ll need to admit exactly what sort of position they were in when they made the choice.

  • hello ive begun playing dcuniverse and im loving it so far, im really thankful with my lovely friend for letting me know about this free online game c: i love online games that are fun and they dont make you pay a subscription fee to play it at all. so im pretty happy with it even though it has alot of bugs but i set that aside cause the game its just fun c: by the way i play on pve for pc version add me if you like c: i love to make friends 😀 and hang out and such in the game. see ya around xo

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