The APB Pricing model has been revealed and it's not quite what we were expecting. Previously it was stated it would be subscription free. And it still kinda be. Basically, buying the game comes with 50 hours of actual shoot-and-driveage. After that, there's other options, varying from seven dollars for an extra 20 hours, to a play-as-much-as-your-want (gasp!) monthly subscription fee for ten dollars. I'm going to quote the full current FAQ answer below, because there's some stuff which is worth highlighting and talking about. Join me!
You can purchase a retail version of APB either in-store or via digital download at standard retail price (SRP $49.99/£34.99/€49.99). The game includes 50 hours of action game play out of the box plus unlimited time in APB's social districts customising, socialising and trading on the marketplace.
Once your game time is up, you have flexibility to top up your action game time from as little as $6.99 (£5.59, €6.29) for an additional 20 hours, while more frequent players can switch to a 30-day unlimited package for only $9.99 (£7.99, €8.99) with discounts available for 90 and 180 days.
The retail package also contains a bonus 100 RTW points towards your next purchases.
An additional benefit to this evolutionary model is the ability for you to convert your own customisations and rewards to tradable products to give to friends or clan-mates or to place on the Marketplace to earn more RTW points (convertible to game time) or in-game cash. Check back later for more details
Okay - basic stuff would be that there's other options, with paying for longer bits of subscription to save cash and - presumably - the ability to buy bigger than 20 hours hour chunks. And that the "time" only counts when you're actually in an action area, rather than something in the social or customisation bits. Which is important for the second point...
The key thing is the RTW points idea near the end. As in, you can take things you've made, and then swap it for game time. Point being, it's putting a little bit of a Second Life economy into the world. As in, people will be able to sell their own customised bits and pieces online, to gain more points... which they can spend on game time. So abstractly it'll be free to play if you can make enough fancy stuff - and the fact there is a reward to create fancy stuff will encourage people to do it, so improve the quality of the content, so improve the quality of the game, which will... oh, you get the point. Neat thinking, basically.
That said, I suspect the 50 hours limit is going to raise a whole load of eyebrows. Talking personally, it wouldn't stop me from buying the game, but for a game which claimed to be more inspired by Counter-Strike than World of Warcraft, the idea of monetizing the amount of time played will raise some community eyebrows.