Age of Empires Online could make free-to-play games mainstream

A new age is dawning in the video game business, and Microsoft wants to be part of it. Today, Microsoft is formally launching its Age of Empires Online game as a free-to-play online-only title. That means users can start playing the game online for free and can purchase upgrades and virtual goods with real money.

e3 gallery 6

VentureBeat’s photo gallery captures the noise of E3 2011 (part 1)

The only thing bad about an E3 photo gallery is that you can’t hear the sounds. E3, the video game industry’s trade show, is an extremely loud trade show, with game exhibitors blasting sounds as much as they can to draw attention to their games. The convention drew an estimated 45,000 people to Los Angeles this week. We were there from the first parties to the last. We saw many of the 35,000 screens showing off new games. Here’s the show in pictures.

Will Microsoft conquer free-to-play games with Age of Empires Online? (video)

Age of Empires has sold more than 25 million copies in retail stores over the years. So it was a big leap when Microsoft announced last August that it would recreate the game as an online-only free-to-play game. This week, it took the wraps off the game and we got a close look at it.