Elden Ring is getting a free-to-play mobile version with in-app purchases, according to reports

Action-RPG colossus Elden Ring is reportedly getting a free-to-play mobile adaptation with in-app purchases, which takes inspiration from miHoYo’s Genshin Impact. It’s being published by Tencent, who apparently acquired the licensing rights to Elden Ring back in 2022 and put a few dozen people to work on a prototype, even as the company acquired a 16% stake in Elden Ring developer From Software.

All that’s according to Reuters, who cite three sources “familiar with the matter”. I realise that “free-to-play mobile version of Elden Ring with in-app purchases” is a phrase tailormade to give certain players hives and/or cause the speaker to be struck by lightning, but much as I can’t help looking over cliff edges, I do find the idea fascinating.

Perhaps they can add some new bosses – a giant, ironclad gacha machine on corpse-legs that showers you in rotting gacha balls, perhaps? We should probably note that Genshin Impact is rather good, for all its microtransactions and recent reports of voice actors going unpaid for months of work – if the rumoured free-to-play Elden Ring captures something of the same spirit it could be a surprise hit.

I also realise that this isn’t strictly speaking PC-relevant news, but mobile games do have a habit of settling down on PC storefronts eventually, once they’ve done their time on the rapids of commuter-friendly recreation.

Reuters say that work on the new Elden Ring game has been slow, mostly thanks to the difference of business model, which points to an underlying difference of company culture. From Software’s work is firmly of the premium pay-upfront-and-get-everything variety, whereas Tencent have made their name from free-to-play titles with a long tail of microtransactions. Still, I wonder if it’s just that the QA teams can’t beat Malenia with touch controls.

Meanwhile, the wait continues for Elden Ring: Shadow Of The Erdtree, the main game’s first big expansion. A bunch of Elden Ring “DLC” files were recently added to Steam, following a similar addition in January. Could the rumoured February Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree release date actually be accurate?

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