Disney Dreamlight Valley abandons free-to-play model ahead of full release

Posted on October 28, 2023

Gameloft’s Disney Dreamlight Valley has abandoned its plans of becoming free-to-play when it leaves Early Access. The game will now have varied pricing tiers, as well as a major premium expansion called “A Rift in Time”.

In an official blog post, the developer explains its rationale for changing the game’s planned pricing model. “As we look ahead to the official launch, with the learnings we’ve gained from Early Access, we’ve made the decision to remain a paid game for the foreseeable future,” it stated. “This means we will not make the transition to be a free-to-play game when we leave Early Access on Dec. 5. This choice ensures that Disney Dreamlight Valley will be able to continue delivering on a premium game experience for all players. It’s important to us that we maintain our promise to keep delivering free content updates that add new characters, realms, clothing, furniture and more surprises to your Valley.”

It is not often that a game changes from free-to-play to a premium experience; in fact, it is often the other way around. Thus far, Disney Dreamlight Valley has not been technically free to play, with a purchase required in order to play the game during Early Access. The developer has not ruled out a change to that business model at some point, only that the paid game model will remain after its full release. Existing players who have purchased “Founders Packs” to play the game in Early Access will keep their progress as well as any in-game currency they have obtained when the game fully launches.

While confirming this pricing model, the developer also announced the different pricing tiers that the game will have when it exits Early Access. In addition to the default version of the game, there is the physical release-exclusive Cosy Edition and the digital-exclusive Gold Edition, both of which come with additional in-game currency and exclusive items. The expansion, A Rift in Time, can also be purchased and requires the base game to play. More details about the expansion and multiplayer features will be revealed in a livestream on Twitch, YouTube and Facebook Live on the 2nd of November 4am AEST.

It will be interesting to see how the game fares with this change in pricing model. Players will now have to pay a price for something that was expected to be free. Interestingly, its recently released companion game also developed by Gameloft, Disney Speedstorm, released earlier this year with its free-to-play model intact. It is not unlikely that Disney Speedstorm’s profitability, or perhaps lack thereof, has played a part in this change of decision in regards to Disney Dreamlight Valley.

Disney Dreamlight Valley will exit Early Access and fully release on the 5th of December 2023 on Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and PC.