Cryptic Studios isn't planning to make its latest MMOG free-to-play any time soon, but the developer is considering it for the eventual future.
Free-to-play MMOGs have proven to be financially viable, based on examples like browser-based titles like Farmville and the more hardcore games like Dungeons & Dragons Online. Star Trek Online might be the next big MMOG to (eventually) adopt a similar payment plan, based on a comment from the game's developer.
Daniel Stahl, Star Trek Online's executive producer, addressed a forum question about the game eventually becoming free-to-play. "I could easily see STO going into a hybrid model similar to what LOTRO is doing," he stated. "In that model, subscriptions stay as is - but you allow people to play for free but heavily limit what they can do - which in essence creates a robust way to demo the game and then if you want to keep playing, you either pay for every little thing you are interested in, or you subscribe and don't have to worry about it.
"Turbine seems to have some interesting plans and looking at how DDO has turned around, its worth taking note."
Creating a demo-like version of the game certainly makes a lot of sense, since it would allow players to explore the title at their leisure &mdash at no cost to them &mdash and figure out if they want to take up a career with the Federation. While Stahl's statement is far from an official business announcement, it's interesting to hear that a recently-released game like Star Trek Online could potentially adopt a form of the free-to-play system in the future.