Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Star Trek Online and the Social Implications of Becoming Free-to-Play

It’s time for a new MMO Anthropology about Star Trek Online, developed by Cryptic Studios and now published by Perfect World Entertainment—it is a game in transition from pay-to-play to free-to-play.

As an originally pay-to-play MMO, Star Trek Online contains a great deal of content and an amazing eye to detail. Although, it is still buggy as all hell and sometimes those bugs really interfere with gameplay.

In this article, a discussion is brought forward about how going free-to-play will effect change to the communities present especially as players who used to pay a subscription find themselves amid players who do not. With pay-to-play communities there is a sense of risk and sunk cost to playing whereas with free-to-play it’s all about who buys what.

Star Trek Online is trying to alleviate this by making it about level-of-service as well as having cash-only ships (although they can also be had by free-to-play players by using an exchange system that allows trading reward-currency for pay-currency.)

Just see the essay for more, or watch the video for the summary.

Link, via MMO Anthropology and YouTube.

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