Seems to be the trend these days for MMOs to move from the subscription model to free to play. The latest to make the move is Age of Conan. Or more precisely they are giving the player the option to choose. Perhaps this will bring in more revenue and keep the game around longer. Might be worth jumping on board now.

On top of that, they’re going “unrated”. Expect to see half naked ladies running around now.

From the press release:

    Funcom is excited to announce that the award-winning and critically acclaimed massively multiplayer online game ‘Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures’ will receive a digital re-launch this summer under the new name ‘Age of Conan: Unrated’. As well as reaffirming its position as the sexiest and most savage MMO in the world, ‘Age of Conan: Unrated’ will also feature a hybrid business model allowing anyone to freely roam the vast lands of Hyboria either as free players or premium subscribers with access to extra content.

    “With over 1.4 million copies sold, glowing reviews for both the core game as well as the expansion, and a healthy player base ever since launch in 2008, there is no doubt that ‘Age of Conan’ has been a true success story for Funcom,” says SVP of Sales & Marketing Morten Larssen. “Now we turn to another chapter in this story as we thrust ‘Age of Conan: Unrated’ into the world of free-to-play games, a gaming space that is becoming rapidly more popular and profitable across the board.”

    The new business model will give players the opportunity to choose whether they want to play for free or become premium subscribers, and Funcom is also introducing an in-game store to the game where both free players and premium subscribers can purchase exclusive content such as weaponry and mounts. For a full overview of what differs from the free and premium offerings, please view the Frequently Asked Questions now available on ‘Age of Conan’ community website.

    ‘Age of Conan’ has always been a Mature gaming experience, but going Unrated gives the development team freedom to stay even more true to the original works of Conan author Robert E. Howard, and use even more of the barbaric, brutal and sexy setting that is Howard’s Hyboria. Funcom is already in the process of developing new locations, monsters, equipment and storylines for ‘Age of Conan: Unrated’. This includes the movie tie-in adventure pack announced yesterday, that will introduce content and characters from the upcoming ‘Conan the Barbarian’ movie.

    “Everyone on the team is excited about opening up our world to an even larger audience,” says Creative Director and Executive Producer Craig Morrison. “The online world of Hyboria is constantly expanding as we continue to introduce new gameplay features and new content, and we truly believe that ‘Age of Conan: Unrated’ will offer something truly new and unique to both new players and to those have already experienced the brutal online world of Conan the Barbarian.”