E3 2011: Dust 514 is a PS3 exclusive, supported by micro-transactions

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UPDATE: Dust 514 looks like it's going to be a microtransaction supported game.

At the Sony press conference at E3, Sony have just announced that Dust 514, the shooter that connects to Eve Online to influence the outcome of a planetary takeover, is a PS3 exclusive. Or, to look at it the other way: PC gamers will not be able to order Xbox players to their death.

The game will also support Sony's handheld, the NGP, and Sony's waggle-wand, the Move. In the short on-stage demo, the movie implied that players would be able to hire mercenaries and buy new armour and weapons using ISK, Eve's in-game currency.

The game will digitally distributed via the Playstation Network, and CCP say that the game will be supported by "by revenues from the in-game sale of virtual goods, allowing players to purchase advanced weaponry, battle gear and vehicles using both earned virtual currency and real money from their Playstation wallet." And that brings with it some unusual design problems.

Although the press release doesn't say so, I'm wondering if Dust will be free-to-play. It's also a dangerous step; the quote above says that players can buy advanced weapons using real money. It also says that "a single bullet fired on the planet below can pivot the balance of power in EVE Online. Every action has consequences, and every reaction has the potential to topple empires."

I don't think you can marry the two facts and expect the EVE community to react positively. The implication is that players will be able to buy their way to victory in Dust, and flip planets in EVE.

We're seeing CCP tomorrow, to see Dust in action, and to understand how the game connects to Eve, and whether PC players will ever get to try it. We'll put some hard questions to the devs.