Over the last couple of weekends I've been taking part in the Dust 514 closed beta, sadly I can't discuss details of the beta but I'm going to do a general preview of the game anyway because not only do I think the game should shape up to be a decent one, I also think its an important step for console gaming.
Dust 514 is a free to play shooter for PS3 that features large scale online battles. It's unique point comes in that it is tied into the EVE universe. For those of you who don't know EVE is an MMO set in space, beyond that I won't pretend to know a great deal about it because I've never actually played it. Your actions in Dust 514 will affect the world of EVE, a world based heavily around corporations, corporations which, in Dust, you can fight for.
Gameplay wise it looks to be a fairly standard ground and vehicle based FPS, the reason I think it is innovative, aside from its ties to EVE, is that it's free to play. Free to play isn't a new idea, it's been around for years and is immensely popular on the PC but not so popular on consoles, yet.
Many developers, perhaps most notably the ones at Crytek, feel that free to play will play a pivotal role in the future of gaming and though there are some free to play console based games, there aren't many, if any, full fledged games that are free to play. Hopefully Dust 514 will show that the model can work very effectively on consoles.
Though I love console gaming I've often felt it lags behind the PC in terms of important trends and business models such as online distribution and streaming. Hopefully with Dust 514 free to play will become a very console friendly model and the console business can develop and grow.
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