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It's an MMO PLUS single player campaign and optional private servers
From the FAQ: "There will be public servers that we host for the main universe/game. The universe is going to be a persistent living entity, where your actions, (discovering a jump point and successfully navigating its jump for the first time, designing a ship for sale in the online shops, winning a key in-game battle etc.), will be woven into the history and lore of the game. We really want the universe to be shaped, both by your actions and created user content… to really embrace the passion and creativity of the core fans. A central server system for the persistent universe will be required to assure security, prevent cheating and other bad behavior. We also plan to provide a version that allows private servers similar to Freelancer to be maintained and run by the pilot communities. These would support single and multiplayer space combat battles where teams could hone their skills without having to use the public servers."