Star Trek Online free-to-play this year

It Scotty "bigger potential" that way.

Cryptic Studios is developing a free-to-play business model for Star Trek Online, new owner Perfect World has revealed.

The free-to-play model will launch by the end of 2011.

This, not unsurprising news, tumbled from the mouth of Perfect World chief financial officer Kelvin Lau.

"Cryptic is working on the free-to-play model for Star Trek Online," Lau told investors during the company's latest earnings conference call (transcription courtesy of Seeking Alpha).

"This is going to be launched by the end of this year."

"So I think free-to-play model we have a bigger potential in US market and also in China market."

Cryptic Studios' other MMO, Champions Online, switched from subscription to free-to-play earlier this year. Whether Star Trek Online would follow suit depended on the reaction to Champions Online, developer CEO Jack Emmert previously told Eurogamer. Our only indication of Champions' F2P success has been Atari describing the switch as "promising".

Perfect World bought Cryptic Studios in May. The company now owns the rights to Champions Online, Star Trek Online and also, according to the conference call, Neverwinter - the not-quite MMO in development at Cryptic.

"[Cryptic] will help us grow in the US and the Europe," said Perfect World chairman Michael Chi, "and further strengthen our R&D and operations around the world."

Star Trek Online was released in early 2010 and scored 6/10 on Eurogamer. A year and a half of improvements has been made since then, including the addition of user-created missions.

Making your own STO missions.

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