Dust 514 will be free-to-play, PS Vita version will be a companion app

Dust 514 is dropping its cover charge. Today, CCP's Brandon Laurino confirmed via the US PlayStation Blog that the studio was axing its proposed $10 - $20 download fee for the PS3 multiplayer; a nominal charge that was to be converted into in-game currency, according to initial plans.

"We debated the cover charge idea for a while, kind of as a hybrid between the old business model (having to purchase a game) and this new one (free to play)," wrote Laurino, explaining, "As we watched the market evolve, gamers choices in free to play games evolve, our own tastes in free to play evolve and developing what’s needed to support it in collaboration with Sony, this just became the obvious way to go – no cover charge, completely free to play. It’s the right time."

Detailing the studio's free-to-play strategy in an interview with Eurogamer, Laurino said Dust 514 currency (aka Aurum credits) will be available to purchase on day one, and that the game's stores will be pre-loaded with “hundreds upon hundreds” of items for sale including vanity goods, skill point boosters, weapon variants, and building tools.

In a separate chat, Laurino shared details of Dust 514's PS Vita iteration, describing the portable version as a “companion app” that will allow players to micromanage their characters, equipment, and market transactions outside of the main game.

"We're also exploring all of the super fun exciting stuff - interesting gameplay opportunities and things like that. But we're not ready to talk about that," he added.

Dust 514 is due for download on PS3 later this year. CPP has not yet confirmed if its PS Vita off-shoot will also be a go for launch.

Matt Bradford wrote news and features here at GamesRadar+ until 2016. Since then he's gone on to work with the Guinness World Records, acting as writer and researcher for the annual Gamer's Edition series of books, and has worked as an editor, technical writer, and voice actor. Matt is now a freelance journalist and editor, generating copy across a multitude of industries.