In an interview with GamesIndustry.biz (reg required), CCP CEO Hilmar Veigar Pétursson has stated that new players of their PlayStation 3 shooter DUST 514 will have to pay what he calls a “cover charge” of money to participate in the game, which will then be refunded into the game as in-game currency. According to Mr. Pétursson, the charge could be anywhere from $10 to $20, and that the game will still be free, though the charge will be needed to participate in the beginning.
Mr. Pétursson stated that one of the reasons for doing this was to keep some kind of rope on the social aspect of the game.
We have always been a big believer in growing up a social network behind the game in a slow and predictable way. Because we have seen that if you don’t do that you can end up with a very unstructured experience, where there’s no cohesion to the community. By growing it at the beginning we help to make a healthy environment initially.
Mr. Pétursson stated that they would consider going with a total free-to-play standard in the future, once the game is established.
DUST 514 is a PlayStation 3 exclusive shooter that is looking to integrate directly into MMO EVE Online. EVE players have been in an uproar over certain “vanity” items that have been placed within the game’s sprawling economy.
Analysis: My first response to this was “bullshit, they’re just trying to make sure they don’t lose money”, but considering what makes EVE so popular – an economy so robust that economists are hired to make sure it doesn’t fluctuate too wildly or become insolvent – I think I see what they’re going for here. Basically, CCP is aiming to make sure that the initial player deluge is kept under control, and that everyone is contributing. Think of it like a stock’s IPO; they’re offering the stock, with an initial buy-in, and what happens afterwards is up to the market.
I don’t quite understand the EVE Online economy. In fact, just reading that Ars piece I linked above makes my head spin, and in fact, I play video games to get AWAY from the economy, not to integrate myself into another one. I’d personally like to hear from someone more in-tuned with that ecosystem. But from what I’m seeing, this actually works with the system they already have, even if it wouldn’t work anywhere else.