Details on the free-to-play model for Sega’s upcoming Phantasy Star Online 2

Back in the beginning of March 2012 Sega announced that their upcoming Phantasy Star Online 2 RPG would be smartphone and tablet compatible for both the iOS and Android platforms. Along with that news came word that it would be a free-to-play game supported through in-app purchases but as the game’s series producer explains, it will be done the right way.

It’s no secret that a lot of people dislike the free-to-play and freemium business models a lot of games come with these days. While both of those business models differ slightly, the core point behind them is the same, to get you to invest into the game using real cash. This could be done by offering special items and boosters for real cash purchasing to unlocking the entire game.

Satoshi Sakai, Lead Producer for the Phantasy Star series, along with Sega in general, found that this gives too much of an advantage to some players who can pay a lot more than other players. So instead, Phantasy Star Online will be free-to-play in the proper method of offering up the entire game for free for anyone to play. However, if you want minor, non-essential things, you can buy those through the in-game store.

So what are the minor things? Some examples given include upgrades for players’ individual rooms, increased storage space, or trading features. As far as gameplay is concerned though, all players will be able to play the entire game like normal and will be on a level playing field even with those who buy items in the in-game store.

“There is nothing that requires payment that will take away from the intrinsic game experience if they are not purchased. We are seeking to create a business model that functions while still allowing PSO2 to remain as much of an enjoyable experience as possible. I honestly think that Sega is the only maker that is willing to go this far. Even if we fail, if we can get people to say ‘They were 5 years ahead of their time’ then I’ll have no regrets. I believe that there’s meaning in the challenge itself.” – Satoshi Sakai, Lead Producer for the Phantasy Star series

As it stands right now, we have a feeling that this will work out very well for all parties involved from the developers to the players. This is basically how a lot of MMORPGs nowadays work for the most part. Right now Phantasy Star Online 2 is slated for release on Android and iOS this Winter. It is currently in closed beta testing. You can see a preview of PSO2 in the trailer below.

Website Referenced: Kotaku

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