Dust 514 was revealed back in 2009, its Icelandic devs at CCP also explained that it'll be microtransaction-based when it launches sometime next summer. Given that the game is now heading exclusively to Sony's PlayStation 3, I couldn't help but wonder exactly how PlayStation Network would handle microtransaction purchases in the game, not to mention what kind of price point Dust 514 would launch at given its business model.
"You effectively pay what we call a 'cover charge,' we're looking at likely around $20 for the initial download. That download gets you the game client plus a bundle of virtual currency which has the equivalent in-game value of $20. So you're basically getting that bundle of cash that you're using to start the game, and from there if you choose to play for free and just grind, you're welcome to do that. But of course we know a lot of people will convert," a CCP rep explained to me this afternoon. As of now, the plan is to release Dust 514 exclusively via the PlayStation Network.
Additionally, the player-driven marketplace so popular in CCP's other big MMO, EVE Online, will also be made available to Dust 514 folks, giving gamers a chance to build up their virtual empires without the use of their hard-earned spondulicks. "Bought currency items and non-currency items can be freely exchanged between the players," creative director Atli Mar Sveinsson added. To CCP, the free flow of the two marketplaces will keep the user base from splitting into two separate factions. "It avoids the buy/win problem that some microtransaction-based games have."
Like EVE Online, CCP expects some players to never even touch the actual first-person shooter gameplay of Dust 514, and simply spend all their time acting as virtual businesspeople. "I wouldn't be surprised if we get quite a few EVE players that join Dust but actually don't play Dust at all, they're just on the market speculating ... and they never go into a match," the rep added with a laugh. Here we go again!