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Free-to-play Ridge Racer Driftopia coming to PS3, PC this year

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The next entry in Namco's long-running Ridge Racer franchise is Ridge Racer Driftopia, a free-to-play downloadable title that will be available in 2013 on PlayStation 3 and Windows PC, publisher Namco Bandai Games announced today.

Ridge Racer Driftopia is in development at Bugbear Entertainment, the Finnish studio behind 2012's PS3, PC and Xbox 360 title Ridge Racer Unbounded. That was the most recent entry in the series on consoles.

"At Namco Bandai Games we are committed to embracing new business models alongside the still vital traditional retail sector," said Olivier Comte, senior vice president of Namco Bandai Games Europe, in a press release announcing Driftopia. "Free-to-play is playing an increasingly important role, so it's very exciting to be bringing one of our most successful franchises to the free-to-play space for everyone to enjoy."

As seen in the announcement trailer above, Driftopia will focus on drifting. Players will be able to spend money in the in-game store to grow their car collection and raise their experience point total, and purchase packs of booster cards that confer special abilities like increases to drift power.