And there we have it friends, Sony Online Entertainment’s Free Realms is now available, for free, via the PlayStation Network. The wildly popular free-to-play, family focused virtual world game/activity currently boasts a massive 17 million registered players user base, and that’s just from their PC and Mac computer based version.
In adding Free Realms to the PlayStation network, Sony is making a historic step in the world of gaming. In addition to a number of other accolades, Free Realms now carries the distinction of being the first free-to-play MMO to arrive on any gaming console. You might be thinking, “Ok, so what?” Normally, I would think the same, however, this decidedly marks a shift in games console thinking and positioning. Until now, if you wanted to play it, you had to pay for it (outside the realm of demos, of course). Those that wanted to play and pay-as-they-go were restricted to a desk, mouse, and keyboard. With the addition of Free Realms, this is no longer the case. Likewise, since Sony has already gotten users used to the click, click, download convenience (while having your credit card details stored), the likelihood of additional transactions is quite high. For me, there’s always that moment of hesitation at my desk. On the couch, I might be far more likely to click, click, sold.
“SOE has set the standard for MMOs on the console with two incredibly successful, innovative and exciting new massive online game worlds for the PlayStation®3 system — first with DC Universe Online and now Free Realms,” said John Smedley, president of Sony Online Entertainment. “Our games extend the current lifecycle of the console with the added value offer of bringing tens of thousands of people together, in a game world, to socialize at community events, compete in combat activities and engage in a diversity of gameplay experiences, for years to come.”
And remember the 17 million registered users mentioned above? Any takers on how fast Sony will double this number? By creating and platforming a title that can be enjoyed by everyone from 8 to 80, Sony has the killer combination. Whether it’s a round of mini-games, home decorating, or adventure and exploration, you’ve covered a massive swath of gamers, and packaged it in a graphically rich world. Ninjas, Warriors and Wizards all take part, as well as future Mario Andretti’s and 49ers.
Rated E10+, Free Realms is now up for grabs on the PlayStation Network, and offers one month ($4.99), three month ($12.99), six month ($24.50), one year ($29.99), and lifetime ($34.99) memberships.