Free to play version of Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate to be released in Japan, characters and modes can be purchased

Posted by Jonathan 'Catalyst' Grey • June 2, 2013 at 10:32 p.m. PDT
A free version of Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate will be released on the Japanese PlayStation Network, according to a report by Famitsu. It will offer four playable characters, several offline and online modes and a bit more, free of charge.


A fully paid retail release will hit Japan on September 5, 2013. Here's a screen shot of what the character select screen will look like in the free to play version.


The free version of the game will come with the following features:
• Four playable characters: Kasumi, Ayane, Hayate and Hayabusa.

• Full access to the game's offline and online modes, with the exception of story mode. There are no limits on how often you can play these modes, e.g. only being able to log X hours or a day, or play online mode X times every 24 hours.

• You can fight against all characters, but you can only play as the ones you pay for, or who are unlocked by default.

• All costumes and stages, minus premium downloadable content, will be available.
• Team Ninja is planning promotions where you can unlock a specific character for free for a few days, so people can try them out, but after that time you'll have to buy them if you want to keep using that fighter.

• Someone playing on the full retail version will not be able to tell they're up against someone running the free release.

• The free version is PS3 only at this time, but they're working on making it available for the Xbox 360 as well, but they're not making any promises it'll be a reality.
If you're interested in picking up the extras, additional characters will cost you 400 yen each, or about $4 USD. Story mode will cost 1,500 yen, or about $15 USD. The free version will also be compatible with Dead or Alive 5 DLC.

This news marks a pretty big adjustment from traditional business models for fighting games. While other companies have offered free to play fighting games, this is the first time a major studio has announced such plans.

There's no word yet on if these things will be available state side — or else where, but we'll keep you posted with the latest news as it develops.

What do you think of this approach for fighting games? Do you like the free to play model, and do you think other companies should try this method as well? Leave a comment below with your thoughts.

Sources: Famitsu, Gematsu and NeoGAF. Tip from ShinAkiraDesu.
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