Microsoft and Robot Entertainment have announced today that they will be releasing Age of Empires Online, a brand new Age of Empires game set in a persistent online world, in the year of 2011.

Developed by Robot Entertainment, the studio formed by the creators of the original Age of Empires, the game will combine “free-to-play experiences” with “traditional RTS gameplay, a deep player-versus-player mode and detailed historical settings.”

“From the creation of your capital city, to resource management and competitive matches, Age of Empires fans will feel right at home,” says Microsoft- despite the addition of a persistent online world, “Social Experiences,” and a brand new set of visuals.

The Beta signups are starting now, so if you’re interested you can sign up to play it early (and report bugs like all good beta testers should).

The beta page also notes the system requirements:

  • A Windows Experience Index score of 3.0 or higher or…
  • At least a 2 gigahertz CPU
  • Microsoft Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7
  • 128 MB video card
  • 1 gigabyte (GB) total system RAM (2 GB is recommended for best performance)
  • 3 GB of hard drive space
  • An Internet connection capable of downloading large (500 MB–2 GB) builds of the game