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DC Universe™ Online Free-To-Play. Your Way.™

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Shacknews - Andrew Yoon

Does free-to-play work on consoles? Sony Online Entertainment would argue "yes." The evidence? DC Universe Online. According to SOE president John Smedley, the majority of the game's players are on the PS3, making it the rare example of a successful console MMO--and perhaps one of the only notable free-to-play efforts on console.

"It's 70 percent of the audience. Free-to-play on PlayStation 3 is huge," Smedley told GI.biz. "In fact, right now, it's us with DCUO and Free Realms and our friends at CCP with Dust 514 that are going to prove that this market really works.

One of the reasons why PS3 has been such a great platform for SOE is the fact that many PlayStation Network members store their credit card information. With tons of items to buy within the free-to-play ecosystem, Smedley describes it as "very frictionless" if players do want to buy something.

The most recent expansion for DC Universe Online released last month, and focused on the Joker.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

Sony Online Entertainment announced the fourth downloadable content pack for DC Universe Online, titled "The Last Laugh." It's due for PC and PlayStation 3 in June, and puts the focus squarely on PvP fights. Also, by the name, you could probably guess which major DC villain plays a role.

The DLC will include a new weapon called "The Shield," which can be used to bash opponents, or thrown at them not unlike a certain Marvel hero. You can also take part in Safe House and Headquarters battles, which are 4v4 and 8v8, respectively. The HQ battle promises a player reward for completion. The DLC also adds two light-powered Legends for PvP battles: Kilowog the Green Lantern on the hero side, and Amon Sur of the Sinestro Corps for the villains.

A few new mission types will be available too, largely prompted by the Joker. These include Bomb Disposal, using a special robot to solve encrypted e-mail terminals, Graviton Techonlogy Recovery, retrieving code fragments to rebuild the teleporter codes, and Rescue, in which heroes rescue hostages and villains freeing arrested criminals.

A price wasn't announced, but it's likely to cost $9.99 like the others. If you're a Legendary Member, though, you snag it for free.

"The Last Laugh is the first DLC that we've created that focuses almost entirely on player versus player battles, and it adds an exciting new element as some of DC's greatest heroes and villains join to fight alongside you," said creative director Jens Andersen and the press release. "Players will have even more opportunities to prove to the world whether heroes or villains will be triumphant."

Shacknews - Steve Watts

Sony Online Entertainment has announced that the annual event previously known as "Fan Faire" has been redubbed "SOE Live." Plans are underway for this year's event, which will take place October 18-21 at Bally's in Las Vegas. As usual, it will cover the gamut of SOE's various offerings, including DC Universe Online, EverQuest II, Free Realms, Magic: The Gathering - Tactics, and more.

The four-day event will include social events, panel discussions, plus exclusives like beta programs, tournaments, and goodies. Senior VP of marketing and sales Laura Naviaux says the new name is meant to reflect the broader range of SOE titles, which sports superheroes, Planetside 2, and Star Wars alongside its magical realms.

"The 'SOE Live' name change represents a deeper meaning behind our annual event," she said in a statement. "As our game portfolio continues to expand, we wanted to better represent our diverse player base and games, including the newest additions to the SOE family, with DC Universe Online, Free Realms, Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures, and the highly anticipated PlanetSide 2. Previous event attendees can rest assured that we are not removing any of our established activities in order to accommodate the new players; rather, they can expect even more to make this the ultimate SOE fan experience."

Shacknews - Steve Watts

DC Universe Online is about to celebrate its one-year anniversary, and is marking the occasion with a special cape. Starting today, players can find a mission journal entry that will give them a cape that features the number "1" on the back. Your character needs to exist today to get the cape, but if you don't actually play today it will be waiting for you when you log on.

In its first year, DCUO has gone free-to-play, which SOE hailed as a smashing success. Now that time has ticked over into a full year, SOE shared a few fresh stats on the game. Players have created more than 3.5 million Heroes and more than 2 million villains. 1.8 million players are on PC, while 2.3 million are on PS3. Total playtime has hit 3.6 million days, and since launch Sony has added 200 new quests, 1,200 new NPCs, 2,500 new items, 15 new zones, and 1,800 new encounters.

"We broke a lot of new ground with last year's launch of DC Universe Online, both by successfully creating the first PS3 MMO community and adding true action combat to the genre," said executive director of development Lorin Jameson in the announcement. "The free-to-play transition at the end of last year is a proof point that our community is stronger and larger than ever. We are very proud of what we've accomplished thus far and look forward to continuously striving to improve the game."

Shacknews - Xav de Matos

DC Universe Online has received one final update for the holiday season, available to all players on PC and PS3. "Larfleeze--"greedy, devious leader of the Orange Lanterns"--has hidden items throughout Gotham and Metropolis, waiting for the perfect time to ship them back to the forbidden territory of the Vega System and it's up to heroes and villains to hunt down the treasure.

Green Lantern Hal Jordan will direct heroes, while the menacing Sinestro will lead the villains in the rush to "locate the presents." Stealing "presents"? It's the closest thing the DC world has to a happy holiday season!

Players can also contend with new enemies, have access to a new PVP map, and more.

Game Update 7 - Season's Greedings Features:

Larfleeze Sightings: Players can receive a Feat if they can spot Larfleeze lurking about Metropolis or Gotham City once a day for, of course, 12 days in a row.

Watchtower PVP Map: Players can battle it out in a new 5v5 death-match arena located in the Watchtower.

New Holiday Marketplace Items:

Festive Winter Hat: Do you have a jolly side? Have you been wanting to show off your festive spirit? Does your head get cold in that brisk winter air? If so, then this Festive Winter Hat is for you!

Reindeer Antlers: Oh, deer! Declare your appreciation for these beloved holiday animals by wearing your very own set of Reindeer Antlers.

    New Holiday Vendor Items:

    Holiday weapon appearances to give your weapon a sweet new look

      New Holiday Elf outfit set

      Snowman form trinket

      Holiday snowglobe grenade

      Shacknews - Steve Watts

      Sony Online Entertainment has announced a release date for the upcoming DC Universe Online DLC, just as the classic MMO EverQuest II goes free-to-play. Both MMO events are set to hit next Tuesday, December 6.

      The relaunch of EverQuest II as a free-to-play MMO will include a new membership system, an updated Freeport city, and new quests. You can still purchase a Silver membership for $5, or Gold for $15. Gold membership will give you all regular races and classes, and Platinum membership is being discontinued. December 6 will also see the launch of the paid "Age of Discovery" expansion, which will add the Dungeon Maker feature and the Beastlord class. Since the class is tied to the DLC, it's not included in the Gold membership.

      The DCUO pack is titled Lightning Strikes, and will introduce Electricity Powers as the eighth power set in the game. For obvious enough reasons, it features The Flash, whose Silver Age origin story involved getting struck by lightning. Comic book writers in the 50s didn't even pretend to understand science. It will cost $9.99, but Legendary members will get it for free.

      Shacknews - Xav de Matos

      Since going free-to-play, the Sony Online Entertainment team responsible for DC Universe Online cannot stop beaming with pride. Soon after going free-to-play on November 1, SOE announced its the super-powered MMO gained 120K users and, according to new data, the game's post-F2P growth continues.

      SOE president John Smedley unleashed a barrage of tweets, celebrating some impressive details regarding DC Universe Online's growth. Smedley states that since going free-to-play, DCUO has seen a steady player base growth of 6% per day and "more than 85% of daily log-ins are returning players."

      Financially, DCUO has seen a "700% increase in daily revenue," which works out to 47% on PC and %3% on PlayStation 3. A list of Smedley's recent tweets released by SOE note that the most popular marketplace items include "Vanguard of the Heavens character skin and Additional Character Slots," the latter of which makes some sense considering free-to-play users only have access to two character slots in the game.

      DC Universe Online expansion continues with a new content back coming "later this year," which adds electricity-based powers.

      Shacknews - Jeff Mattas

      Sony Online Entertainment has announced "Lightning Strikes," DC Universe Online's second expansion pack, due out "later this year." It includes a host of goodies to enhance the superhero MMO, but the biggest additions are the introduction of Electricity Powers as the game's eighth power-set, as well as a new adventure for iconic hero The Flash.

      DCUO's 'Lightning Strikes' DLC

      The upcoming "Lightning Strikes" DLC includes a brand new map location--Central City--which also includes The Flash Museum Duo that allows players to visit the past and participate in the very moment when Barry Allen became The Flash.

      Tesla Coil, Shockwave, and Ionic Drain are just a few of the new Electricity powers the DLC brings to the table, along with a couple of new player gear-sets: Zoom-themed gear for villains, and Black Lightning-themed gear for heroes. Livewire, Black Lightning, The Top, The Trickster, Static are just some of the new characters the pack factors in.

      All of these bells and whistles come along with Lightning Strikes, a new, story-driven adventure.

      The DLC pack doesn't have a release date yet, beyond "later this year," but will retail for $9.99 when it launches simultaneously for PlayStation 3 and PC. Legendary members will get the expansion pack for free.

      Shacknews - Alice O'Connor

      If it's been a while since you last kneeled before Zod, you may want to fire up DC Universe Online to check out the new raid launched today for the free-to-play MMORPG in Update 6: The Deadly Double Cross. As well as a fight against the cheeky Kryptonian, it adds new loot to covet.

      You see, the kindly General Zod--shock of shocks--betrayed his supposed allies at the end of the last update's big story, so now he's cruising for a bruising. Superman and Lex Luthor, heroes and villains, all come together to you punch his face in, and those of his chums friends Non and Ursa.

      New 'Kryptonian Military' weapons have been added, which may well come in handy, and the final 'Avatar' style pieces for clothes collectors.

      DC Universe Online went free-to-play at the start of the month, but has struggled to cope with demand after picking up over 120,000 new players in the first few days alone. It's been overloaded and lagging at peak times, especially in busy areas, but Sony Online Entertainment has vowed to fix things up.

      Now, while we do have a selection of screenshots from the update, what you really want to see is Zod and his chums up to mischief in the Superman movie. Oh Zod, you card!

      Shacknews - Andrew Yoon

      If you love something, set it free... because then tons of new people will be willing to give your game a chance. Sony Online Entertainment recently transitioned its DC Universe Online MMO into a free-to-play game, and has been rewarded with 120,000 new players since the relaunch.

      According to SOE president John Smedley, there's been a 300 percent increase in the number of concurrent players online. However, the player boom has introduced a number of server problems.

      PC Gamer reports that servers are having "stability issues" even during non-peak hours. The site estimates that thousands of players are waiting to get in and play via login queues, a consequence of DCUO's "super servers" that allow all players to play on the same realm.

      The issues will, hopefully, be ironed out as Smedley promises a "big TV and online campaign" later this month, promoting the F2P switch. Given the appeal of the DC Universe, a free-to-play MMO is likely to have quite the casual appeal.

      ...

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