CCP‘s upcoming shooter Dust 514 will have an up-front cost, which CEO Hilmar Veigar Petursson described as a “cover charge” today.The game is free-to-play, but at launch players will have to “pre-buy credits” to start playing. The full amount of credits bought will be usable in-game.AdChoices广告Petursson distanced Dust 514 from other free-to-play shooters noted for virtual goods sales. He added that the company doesn’t have much to announce on that front yet because the commercial model has yet to undergo testing.An amount for the required purchase hasn’t yet been decided, but the CEO did mention “something like $10-$20.”Petursson explained that the game may go fully free-to-play in the future, but the company wants to manage the product’s early growth. Otherwise, he says, it could lead to “a very unstructured experience” with little community cohesion. In effect, the pay wall is supposed to create a more dedicated community to serve as the base consumers. That approach is understandable given the extremely tight-knit EVE Online community that made that game such a commercial success.Read more at GamesIndustryBlake’s OpinionOnce again, the Internet echo chamber wins over common sense. A perfectly common and rational move in the MMO business – putting up a paywall at the start of the customer’s experience – has led to headlines like our own that focus on the “cover charge” and the fact that the game isn’t free.It’s important to underscore just how common it is for online games to have an up-front fee. MMOs, which have been distributed in boxes at retail for the last 15 years, have included subscription time in the box equivalent to the price of the box. Even today, players of the free-to-play League of Legends can grab a packaged box that effectively serves as a starter kit. Players have really shown no aversion to this practice.Aside from the benefits Petursson explained above, players having credits at the start of the game is a great way to make sure the player has adequate resources to get started. What’s more, it lets the player get used to having credits in their account, which increases the likelihood that they’ll purchase more credits later. So, the move is at once reducing new players’ frustration and serving a business goal. Everyone wins.Yet today, on the Internet, the story is “it isn’t free.” CCP has probably learned a lesson in PR today.