The LEGO Group announced today that it will be releasing a free-to-play option in LEGO Universe in August. According to the press release, "The LEGO Universe free-to-play experience will offer a limited selection of game content, including two adventure zones and one player property area for building their own virtual LEGO models."
The LEGO Group states in the press release that the game "will continue to generate revenue through paid memberships, and there are no plans for micro-transactions at this time." With that in mind, it might be best to think of this free-to-play option as an endless free trial.
Also, players will no longer need to invest in the game DVD to play LEGO Universe. The game will be available via free digital download only, which will allow it to "expand more efficiently."