At the start of the game, the player chooses between three companies: Venus Resources Unlimited (VRU), Earth Industries Corporation (EIC), and Mars Mining Operations (MMO). The object of the game is to gain wealth and power both individually and for the company. The better you are, the better your company will be.
The game is playable on Mac/Windows/Linux platforms either from within a web browser. It requires use of the Macromedia Flash 11 plug-in. The game runs in a browser window and does not require any download.
DarkOrbit started as a closed beta test, in which over 80,000 people participated. They later on passed into an open beta phase. Finally, on September 1, 2005, the game passed into the subscription phase, which is expected to continue for the entire lifespan of the game. Currently, as of February 14, 2012, DarkOrbit has around 65 million registered users, including several million of active ones.
DarkOrbit is available for free with optional monthly subscription for added benefits. Additional in-game currency called Uridium can also be purchased to increase the power of your ship.
Membership works on a sliding scale depending on what country you live in, and the length of your subscription. There is a wide variety of Payment options, ranging from credit card, PayPal, to gift cards.