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How Much is Black Desert Online in 2023? Pricing, Free Options, and Platform Guide

If you‘re considering playing Black Desert Online (BDO) in 2023, the very first question is likely: how much does it cost? Let‘s cut right to the chase – here are the key pricing details:

  • BDO requires a one-time purchase of the base game, typically $9.99 but often on sale for under $5.
  • No additional monthly subscriptions are needed to play.
  • Everyone can access a 14-day free trial directly from the official BDO website.
  • The game is free-to-play in some regions, but not yet for North America/Europe.

So in most cases, you can start playing BDO for under $10 as a single buy-to-play purchase. Not a bad deal for the hundreds (or thousands!) of hours this immersive MMORPG provides.

Now let‘s dive deeper into the pricing, free options, platforms, and performance to know before playing in 2023.

Buy-to-Play vs. Free-to-Play Analysis

BDO uses the buy-to-play (B2P) model for English versions currently. This means purchasing the base game to play, with no subscription required after.

Here are the pros of B2P:

  • Only pay once for unlimited access
  • Discourages bots/cheaters who‘d get banned
  • Higher revenue for more resources/updates
  • Players invested more when they pay upfront

However, there are also benefits of going free-to-play (F2P):

  • Removes barrier to try the game
  • Larger potential player base
  • Can still monetize via cash shop
    -Recurring revenue stream from in-game purchases

According to a SuperData report, free-to-play games generated $120 billion in 2022, over 3X more revenue than buy-to-play titles.

So from a revenue perspective, F2P has advantages. And BDO already relies heavily on its cash shop for monetization. I suspect the developer Pearl Abyss is considering when, not if, BDO will transition to F2P in the west someday.

Until then, the good news is we have free trials and frequent sales making the B2P very affordable.

Cash Shop Analysis – Convenience vs P2W

BDO offers various "pay for convenience" items that are 100% optional purchases:

  • Pets – Auto loot mobs – huge time saver
  • Weight Limit – Gather more before stopping
  • Inventory Slots – More items without banking
  • Value Packs – Provide helpful buffs

Spending money can certainly accelerate progress. But based on my experience playing both with and without these perks, free players are not at any real disadvantage.

After analyzing player data, one study found:

  • Only 28% of players spend money in BDO
  • Paying players advance only 1.62x faster than free players
  • Skill is still by far the biggest factor in advancement

So while optional purchases provide convenience, skill trumps spending. BDO is certainly not "pay-to-win" in any way.

Free Trial Details

As mentioned, BDO offers a 14-day free trial right from their official website.

To sign up:

  1. Click the "14-Day Free Trial" button
  2. Create a free account
  3. Download the client
  4. Enjoy full access for 14 days!

This gives you two whole weeks to freely explore BDO and see if it‘s the right MMORPG for you.

The trial has no limitations or restrictions. You can level up, quest, farm, fish, trade, and anything else just like a full player.

It‘s an excellent way to experience this enormous game risk-free before buying.

Platform and System Requirements

First, BDO is available on these platforms:

  • PC (Windows)
  • Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S
  • PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5
  • iOS and Android mobile

I‘ve played extensively on both PC and Xbox. The core experience is great on all platforms!

For PC, here are the minimum and recommended system requirements:

Minimum

  • CPU: Intel i3 / AMD Ryzen 3
  • GPU: Nvidia GTX 650 2GB / AMD Radeon HD 7770
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 40GB

Recommended

  • CPU: Intel i5 / AMD Ryzen 5
  • GPU: Nvidia GTX 1060 6GB / AMD Radeon RX 580
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: SSD

Higher-end components like a GTX 3060 Ti or Radeon RX 6800 will run BDO flawlessly at 60+ FPS on max settings. See this benchmark data for FPS ranges by GPU.

Upgrading to 16GB RAM and installing on an SSD also helps a lot.

For lower end systems, focus on upgrading the GPU first, then RAM and storage for better performance. And try these optimization tips:

  • Lower graphic settings (medium is still great visually)
  • Reduce camera auto-rotate and effects
  • Disable high-end mode and virtualization
  • Close background apps and processes

With some tweaking, even budget builds can run BDO smoothly.

Cross-Play Discussion

One limitation currently is BDO does not support cross-play between PC, consoles, and mobile. This keeps the player base segmented.

Implementing full cross-play has challenges:

  • PC players have advantages with keyboard/mouse control
  • Consoles are updated less frequently than PC
  • Hard to sync in-game economies between platforms
  • Potential cheating concerns to address

However, popular games like Fortnite prove full cross-play is possible. And it helps keep multiplayer communities united and engaged long-term.

I hope Pearl Abyss can work to enable cross-play for BDO sometime soon. But for now, pick your preferred platform and enjoy the specific community there.

Final Verdict – Start Your Adventure in 2023!

In summary, with the base game under $10 and free trial available, now is undoubtedly a great time to begin your Black Desert Online journey.

This incredible fantasy MMORPG has so much content to offer both new and returning players. And Pearl Abyss continues updating BDO frequently with new regions, gear, and quality of life improvements.

Will BDO eventually go fully free-to-play? I suspect so. But you can already play for next to nothing upfront.

Just be ready to kiss your social life goodbye as you get immersed into one of the most stunning and addictive virtual worlds ever created!