The studio behind VR-exclusive MMORPG Zenith: The Last City (2022) Ramen VR announced earlier this month the game was soon being rebranded to Zenith: Nexus amid the launch of its free-to-play mode ‘Infinite Realms’, which the studio is using to bolster user engagement. An open beta of the mode is now live on Quest, Rift, and SteamVR headsets.

Update (February 19th, 2024): The studio announced the release of its free-to-play ‘Infinite Realms’ open beta over the weekend. Quest and Rift users can access the open beta without having without previously purchased a copy of ‘The Last City’ by following the links above and accepting the ToS.

SteamVR players can access the open beta as well, however must already own a copy of ‘Zenith: The Last City’ and then manually opting in. You can find a complete guide on how to join the open beta here.

Ramen VR calls the open beta “an early build, so the artwork, balancing, and content may be temporary. We’re stress testing the shards and the game’s performance so you may expect bugs and hitches.”

The original article announcing Infinite Realms and the game’s upcoming premium currency follows below:

Original Article (February 2nd, 2024): Nexus is set to host access to content from both The Last City as well as a newly announced free-to-play section, called Infinite Realms. This departs from the usual free-to-play retrofitting we’ve seen in other MMORPGs, such as OrbusVRwhich lets users play up to a certain level before introducing a paywall.

For users jumping into Zenith: Nexus for the first time, content from the open-world Last City part of the game will be available for purchase as an additional DLC, provided you don’t already own the game. The free-to-play Infinite Realms game mode will be a season-based, procedural action-adventure RPG with co-op sessions, a revamped locomotion system, redesigned social playground “and more,” the studio says in a blog post.

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We’re still waiting on specifics and a release date for Infinite Realms, however Ramen VR says The Last City players will have “an exclusive opportunity to boost their first character in Infinite Realms to match the level of their The Last City character as well as the first paid cosmetic on the store for free.” The studio is also looking at ways to reward players for having grinded for items.

Following many free-to-play social VR platforms, such as Rec Room and Roblox, Zenith is also set to introduce a premium in-game currency, called ‘Zennies’, which the studio says will be used to access seasonal content as well as purchase cosmetics items.

“Going free to play will boost the social multiplayer experience. The new virtual currency and shop will open an avenue for revenue we never had before. With an arcade-like experience that’s more accessible than ever we’re inviting millions of new players to Zenith: Nexus and potentially The Last City too,” the studio says.

In 2019, Zenith successfully raised funds through Kickstarter, followed by a $10 million Series A funding round. Garnering further investor interest, the studio was able to land a $35 million Series B in March 2022, just two months after its launch on all major VR platforms. Despite early traction, the studio revealed last month that Zenith had been running at a loss on a month-to-month basis “for the better part of a year.”

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Well before the first modern XR products hit the market, Scott recognized the potential of the technology and set out to understand and document its growth. He has been professionally reporting on the space for nearly a decade as Editor at Road to VR, authoring more than 3,500 articles on the topic. Scott brings that seasoned insight to his reporting from major industry events across the globe.
  • This is exactly what they needed. Cannot wait for this to give them an all-new cash flow that will help them fix bugs in the main game, after a short tutorial I was kind of just dumped at a high level sky world and had to find the main quest line myself after fighting enemies too high leveled for me for about three days, and when I finally did find the main story continent I was overleveled XD

  • Good luck to them!

    • ViRGiN

      They need to cut operating costs; free-to-play model only attracts about 1% of paying customers, so they have extremely high bar to cross to break even.
      VR is nowhere near big to sustain their massive costs (which does not seem legit in the first place) for a non-brand name MMO.

      • Stephini

        infinite realms should actually help to offset this, being session based and procedural means the demand isn’t on their servers, the sessions will likely be adhoc.

  • Star Centurion

    I predicted this would happen. Ramen VR has been losing money for a while and they need some cash flow coming in.

    There’s a reason high-maintenance MMOs don’t have a single purchase model. For these games to continue to stay fun, you need a developer team that keeps adding content. Only being able to take a max of $30 per customer will never help you break even, especially when you have investors calling and employees to pay.

    Am I saying this is the correct option or the moral option? That’s not for me to say. I guess all I’m saying is good luck to them, and hopefully the pivot works out for them.

  • JakeDunnegan

    Not a bad idea. Some of the more popular games (in VR and out) go for a free-to-play model, and make a ton of money on cosmetics. (Or, some add a lot of optional style games to keep people coming back, like Recroom, Roblox, Fortnite, whatever). And agree with mentioned before – rare is the MMO that can make it on a single purchase model.

  • meh the game is boring i don’t see this helping. they better off starting over or giving it up i don’t see this changing a thing