DUST 514 free-to-play? Not quite

CCP’s DUST 514 won’t exactly be free-to-play. The PS3-only EVE Online tie-in won’t be a free download as the F2B banner suggests as there is a one-time “cover charge” involved. Said charge — or “refund,” as CCP puts it — will then be transferred into the player’s account as in-game currency. We’ll call it almost-free-to-play then.

The cover charge will be in the range of $10-20 (the figure is not yet final), but it may be temporary. Here’s how CCP’s CEO Hilmar Veigar Pétursson explains the whole approach: “You’re really getting the game for free but you have to pre-buy credits in the beginning. We might go fully free-to-play down the line, but in the beginning we have a cover charge just to manage the initial launch of it.”

He adds: “We have always been a big believer in growing up a social network behind the game in a slow and predictable way. Because we have seen that if you don’t do that you can end up with a very unstructured experience, where there’s no cohesion to the community. By growing it at the beginning we help to make a healthy environment initially.”

The game’s targeting a ‘summer 2012’ launch.