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Chinese developer 24 Entertainment’s hack-and-slash battle royale game Naraka: Bladepoint was a bit of a surprise hit during its beta release, with over 140,000 concurrent players dropping into it’s 60 player matches to try and prove themselves to be the strongest melee masters around.
The beta ended on April 26, and in the time since then, many gamers have wondered — will the game be free to play?
Currently, the answer appears to be no. For now.
Several editions of the game are available for pre-order on PC stores. The Standard Edition is $19.99 USD /£17.99 GBP, while big spenders can get the Ultimate Edition at the much higher price of $49.99 USD / £45.99 GBP.
We don’t think that is the end of the story however, as based on Naraka’s competitors and even the history of the game’s publisher NetEase Games, we think the game will become free with an alternative monetisation model (namely skins and battle passes) before too long. Looking at the content of the three pre-order editions, there’s clearly some premium currency in there, which is always a prerequisite for going F2P. Hell, we wouldn’t be surprised to see Naraka go free-to-play on its launch day, going by what’s in those pre-order editions.
The online multiplayer game space is very competitive, and the biggest and most popular games Fortnite, Call of Duty: Warzone and Apex Legends have consistently outperformed pay-to-play competitors like PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds in both player count and overall revenue earned by publishers. If even big name franchise games like Halo Infinite now launch with free-to-play multiplayer, we’re not sure putting a price on playing Naraka is the best move.
Naraka: Bladepoint is available on both Steam and the Epic Games Store. You can also buy a code for either store on their website, where the game is currently discounted. It has also been announced for PS5 and Xbox Series X/S but no release date has been confirmed.
What do you think of the decision to charge for Naraka: Bladepoint? Let us know in the comments below.