So Prosperous Universe has officially gone free-to-play. But why? What makes a commerce-centric MMO open its doors to possible exploitation from free accounts? What makes being a Pro license owner better, and how does that not translate to pay-to-win in a game like this? These are all questions that are touched on in a recent dev blog.
The post first opens with a promise that free-to-play does not mean that Prosperous Universe will introduce microtransactions. That said, playing for free does put some limitations that effectively will hamstring you by design, locking away features that can be easily exploitable by multi-account users. The devs are convinced that their hybrid of restricted demo mode and freemium model is the best solution for everyone.
“We don’t do micro-transactions, we don’t ‘hunt whales’, we don’t have anything in the game that allows players to throw endless amounts of money at us. We feel like that’s a good thing, but it means that at the end of the day, we need a higher percentage of paying players than other free-to-play titles might.”
So why go free-to-play at all? Because ultimately a game like this requires lots of people active in its markets to really work, noting that only the most hardcore of fans would follow through with paying for Prosperous Universe during its alpha. “While we can see desirable developments at the hotspots around big markets in the game, the few hundred active players we have at the moment just aren’t enough to bootstrap the kind of economy we have envisioned,” reads the post.