Love it, hate it or meeky accept it, the terms "freemium" and "free-to-play" come with a lot of baggage these days, sometimes to the point of overshadowing the game itself. When Age of Empires
fans heard that Microsoft was going to be releasing an online version of the hit RTS series, some of the fans' enthusiasm was tempered by the word that it would adopt the popular freemium business model.
Microsoft Game Studio's Dave Luehmann was on hand at Gamescom
to assure players that the company isn't out to nickle-and-dime fans to skip parts of the game they don't like. Joystiq reports
that they won't be adopting the same strategy as other F2P models. "I don't like to pay for things I don't like to do, that seems kind of backwards,"
Luehmann said. "So how about we produce things that people actually want?"
Instead of purchasing a lot of little items, the studio will simply put up large chunks of content as one-time purchases. These might include a new civilization or an area containing a plethora of quests. Microsoft is still feeling out a fair price point for the additional content, but it pointed to the fact that Age of Empires Online
will ship with more than 25 hours of completely free entertainment to enjoy.