Even DC Comics' Assembled Heroes Can't Resist the Allure of Free-to-PlayS

It doesn't matter if you're a starship captain or one of Earth's mightiest heroes; once you go massively multiplayer it's only a matter of time before free-to-play finds you. Sony Online Entertainment's DC Universe Online breaks free of subscription fees next month.

Starting in October anyone with a PlayStation 3 or a gaming PC will be able to download and play DC Universe Online for free. They'll have access to all game content, two character slots, and the ability to purchase optional expansion packs should they choose to do so.

Players that have spent more than $5 on the game (returning players, subscription paying customers that opt to not continue paying, and in-game store shoppers) will be upgraded to premium membership, with more character slots, a larger inventory, and a bigger wallet.

And if players want to continue paying $14.99 (or have purchased a lifetime subscription) they'll be granted Legendary status, which gives them an enormous inventory, more than 15 character slots, and free access to expansion packs and other downloadable content as it comes along.

Why does a game like DC Universe Online go free-to-play? Speaking to IGN, SOE executive producer Lorin Jameson says it was the model the developers envisioned all along.

"In terms of 'Is it a result in a drop in subs' – absolutely not," he said. "This is the right business model. If I can be honest, the game ended up costing a lot more than we thought it would, and this was our preferred business model from day one."

With Champions Online already free-to-play and City of Heroes going there later this year, massively multiplayer online superhero fans will have to choose which style of crime fighting suits them the best — or just play all three.

DC Universe Online Going Free to Play [IGN - Thanks, Ursus-Veritas!]