Publishers NCsoft and Gameforge have announced that their MMO Aion will be making the switch to the free-to-play business model in February 2012, allowing all interested players to download the full version of the game for free and then play it without any restrictions.
The creators of the game have acknowledged that in the last few months less and less players have been engaging with the MMO and that they hope that the free-to-play system will led to more players joining in to play the already available content.
Aion offers more than 3,900 quests to enjoy, complete with hard to complete raids and Players vs. Player content, and the MMO offers some rather unique flying and combat mechanics.
Songyee Yoon, who is the Chief Strategic Officer at NCsoft stated that, “by introducing the free-to-play model, we hope more gamers in Europe will be able to experience the epic story of Aion” and adds, “NCsoft welcomes the partnership with Gameforge with its long MMO experience in the free-to-play sector and its excellent knowledge of the European market.”
Recently the game received the 2.5 patch, which included a new high graphics option for those with good systems and new faces for the character creator.
At the moment NCsoft is working on the 2.7 update, which adds new raids and a new PvP Arena.
In the last year a number of high profile MMO games, culminating with DC Universe Online, have adopted the free-to-play business model and have reported significant increases when it comes to actual player numbers and to the revenue they manage to generate.
Even the mighty World of Warcraft from Blizzard is now essentially free-to-play up to level 20, suggesting that the whole game might use the same model soon.
Star Wars: The Old Republic, from Electronic Arts and BioWare, is seen by analysts as the last MMO to use the subscription model on launch.