Limited lifetime subscription offer for 'Star Trek Online' until February

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The Independent Tech

Star Trek Online, the latest massively multiplayer online (MMO) computer game from Cryptic Studio, the company behind the successful City of Heroes and Champions Online, is offering cut-price subscription rates to those who take the plunge and pre-order the game ahead of its February 2 release.

The game is currently in Open Beta until January 26, which means anyone signing up at can download a program and play a sizable chunk of the game for free, allowing Cryptic Studios to tighten it up prior to release, as well as giving potential buyers a good taste of how the final game will play.

Like most commercial MMOs, Star Trek Online has a standard monthly fee of $14.99 / €12.99. In addition to three- and six-month subscription bundles which cut the average monthly charge to $13.99 / €11.99 and $12.99 / €10.99 respectively, those who pre-order the game ahead of time also receive a code allowing them to access further discounts.

Players convinced that the game will become a major time-sink can, on receipt of that code, make use of a limited time offer that runs only until 11:59 Pacific Standard Time on February 1 (7:59am, February 2 GMT).

For $119.99, a 12-month subscription package puts the monthly average rate down to $9.99, while for the most serious fans there is a lifetime subscription option weighing in at an initially astronomical $239.99. At one-month rates that equates to a 16-month subscription, or three six-month bundles. Fans of the game determined to play for more than the next two years will be laughing at their relative saving.

Star Trek Online is released on February 2 in North America and February 5 in Europe. If successful it could become a considerable rival to EVE Online, the current kingpin of space exploration games. The MMO genre gained mainstream popularity following 2004's fantasy-set World of Warcraft which has since been challenged by Guild Wars, The Lord of the Rings Online, and Aion.

In terms of other science-fiction games of a similar ilk, Star Trek Online will need to establish a substantial and loyal subscriber base before Star Wars: The Old Republic launches in 2011, and beyond that Warhammer 40,000 Online in 2012.