Following a trend of many high-profile pay-to-play MMORPG’s going free-to-play, Sony Online Entertainment has announced that a free version of EverQuest II will exist alongside the already in place subscription service.
“As the digital entertainment market evolves, SOE is focused on continued innovation in content delivery that best fit the needs of the growing consumer base,” said SOE President John Smedley. “Our goal with Extended is to offer players an alternative to our current subscription program that gives them the option to choose a program that best fits their play style.”
The new version of the game will known as “EverQuest II Extended” and will allow players to enter the game world and have a full EverQuest experience without the need of a credit card, subscription, or purchase of any kind. While all game areas since the title’s original launch in 2004 available to free-to-play players, SOE plans to make money from this new generation of players off of micro-transactions.
“The very nature of an MMO is change, and the decision to create Extended was fueled by evolution of the industry landscape,” said EverQuest II Producer David Georgeson. “By offering two services side by side we have given the power to our players to determine the program that best fits their game play style.”
EverQuest II Extended is set to start beta on August 17, while the core EverQuest II title will also receive a gameplay and graphics update on the same day. You can find out more about how to get in on the beta here, at the official EverQuest II Extended site.