Champions Online to be free to play on Q1 2011

Atari Europe and Cryptic Studioshave announced today that the superhero MMORPG, Champions Online, will be free to play beginning Q1 2011. Players will be able to download and enjoy the game at absolutely no cost. The Champions Online free-to-play closed beta test begins on November 9, 2010 and will be made available to a subset of current players, with potential openings for new users.

Champions Online free-to-play will also feature additional premium content for purchase. Adventure Packs, items, powers and costume pieces can be selected a la carte inside Cryptic’s innovative C-Store. Additionally, current players may continue subscribing as Gold members, while new players may also optionally upgrade to Gold status, which unlocks most of the game’s content and includes extra features.

“Transitioning Champions Online to the free-to-play model is a great opportunity to reach a whole new audience of PC gamers that view subscription fees as a barrier to entry,” said John Needham, CEO of Cryptic Studios. “By taking care of our current subscription-based community and welcoming the addition of new players through free-to-play, Champions Online is poised to build upon its success and to establish a new leadership position as the first free-to-play superhero MMO.”