Visual start for Age of Conan free to play: 2011 sets example

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If you don’t already know Age of Conan is a fantasy themed online multiplayer game which has a huge following. Originally scheduled for release on the Xbox 360, way back in May 2008 saw the full online game being released in America and Europe. Gamers had to sign up to a monthly subscription to continually play, but then in May we told you about plans to release a free to play version of the game. Now the developers have launched a new trailer for a visual start to Age of Conan free to play, and 2011 sets an example how gaming is changing.

The free to play version of the game is now available and titled Age of Conan: Unchained. Users of the free to play version of the game have a choice of four character classes, and two character slots. Things which are limited include bank space, adventure zones, dungeons, raids, and mount training.

Alternative advancement, offline levels, sieges, and veteran points are unavailable to free users. If you want to unlock all the content it will cost you $12.95 per month. Over recent times we have seen a big change in the way we play games. With the likes of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 you may go out and buy a hard copy of the game, but further down the line see extra content released for download for an extra fee.

This is what we are seeing this week with the release of the Call of Duty: Black Ops Annihilation map pack for the Xbox 360. We have also heard rumors of another being released later in the year. We are also seeing online passes finding their way into games, so if a game is sold on at a later date the new owner will have to go out and purchase one. This stops the developers losing money on resale’s and has caused some controversy in certain quarters.

But the big push is likely to see free games becoming available more like Age of Conan, and users needing to either subscribe or purchase in game items. Even games on Facebook follow this trend with users needing to purchase credits to buy items for their game. In years to come our grandchildren will likely be laughing when they hear we had to spend money up front for video games.

There could be a risk to this trend though as not everyone can afford to keep paying out for games, and what if after people have played the free part for a while decide they don’t like the game?

Also See: Age of Conan: Unrated – New free-to-play game announced