Online game Dust 514 will be free to download and play for PS3 gamers. Game maker CCP hopes that the game is so enticing that you'll be sucked in to the experience and will then want to start using your own money to buy additional in-game items.
The company had originally planned to put a price on the game of $10 or $20, though that money would have been automatically added to a player's in-game account. In other words, you wouldn't have been paying for the game, but rather would have been forced to make at least a couple in-game purchases.
Now, though, CCP has confirmed it will make the game completely free to download from the Playstation Store with no strings attached.
The market of free-to-play games, also called "freemium" games, is becoming exceedingly attractive for developers. The idea of giving away a game for free would have seemed like a foreign idea just five years ago.
Today, though, actually getting the game into a player's hands is easy. All they need to do is download a file. Five or six years ago, trying to get any consumer to pay an additional fee once they've started playing would have likewise seemed like a foreign concept.
Today, it's expected. So the entire business model and approach to video game monetization has been flipped on its head. The freemium model has become especially popular in the world of mobile phone apps.
In fact, there was a study last year that showed "free" iPhone games that encouraged in-app purchases actually made more money than apps that had a nominal price but no in-game monetization.
According to the study, no more than 6% of people who download a freemium game actually spend money on them, but the top purchasers spend so much that it makes up for the 94% who just play it for free.