Free Realms, Sony Online's free-to-play MMO that launched in 2009 and is now available on PC, Mac and PS3, could potentially reach 100 million active users within "five or six years", with the game already bagging 17 million players in only its second year. Sony only just last week closed a third of its online studios and cut over two hundred jobs, but the continued success of games like Free Realms bodes well for the company's future.
Speaking to Games Industry, the president of Sony Online Entertainment, John Smedley, told the site ""I don't see this thing stopping until it hits 100 million". With news of the game hitting 17 million users, Smedley believes it should take "five or six years" for it to radically enlarge its user-base, but he believes he has no reason to doubt "why it can't go to 100 million", citing the millions of children still yet to play the game geared towards their lucrative market.
It's a colossal task, adding 83 million users to your already burgeoning online community. Not to mention the technical risks such an influx could entail. Free Realms is free-to-play, with premium content the hook Sony dangles in many a child's face - did I actually write that? - to make up the lack of a subscription fee.
Smedley's confident Free Realms still has a lot to give, citing online sibling, Everquest, hitting its twelfth birthday. ""One of our other games, Everquest, has just hit its twelfth birthday," he boasts, before expressing hope in "Free Realms doing that".
Are you a Free Realms players? Go on, you can tell us. Was it for your kid? Did you accidentally happen to stumble on its lush, unicorn-strewn land of hope and wonder? I don't want to even entertain the notion you bought it for yourself... [Games Industry]