Company of Heroes launched in 2006, to much critical acclaim. It was almost definitively the strategy game of the year, and some argued that it was one of the best of all time.
In the near future, you will be able to play that same game for free. THQ announced today that the popular PC game would be re-released as a free-to-play title, under the name Company of Heroes Online.
Both the single-player and multiplayer experiences will be available for players to fully enjoy. Like many other free-to-play games, the business model is simple - provide the game for free, and allow the hardcore/more dedicated players to buy items and gain accelerated experience through micro-transactions.
The multiplayer portion of the game will feature a persistent leveling system, which will be what should hopefully fuel the majority of the micro-transactions. How exactly this system will be implemented into the game is still unknown.
Free-to-play titles haven't caught on in the West like they have in Asia, but THQ hopes that this experiment will. Sure, titles like Battlefield Heroes have been fairly successful, but that is really the only one I can think of.
I think that this is a very smart move by THQ, and hope it works out well for them. Company of Heroes is a game that I never got around to playing, but I will definitely check it out when Company of Heroes Online is released. I think that releasing popular, well-received, games with a free-to-play model after their retail life has basically ended is a smart move. I hope that it works out for THQ, and that other games will follow.
Source - GamesBeat