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Free Realms launches today on PC

PS3 version due out later in the year.

Sony Online Entertainment will launch the friendly, cartoon world of Free Realms today, according to the official website (which is still undergoing maintenance). A PS3 version is due to follow.

Unfortunately there's still no mention of when the live servers - and associated accounts, Station Cash Shop services - will appear. SOE will be working to an American timeframe, so it may be tomorrow before we can hope to play.

Free Realms is free to download and play, and gradually downloads and streams the virtual world as you explore. Subscription is optional and can be done solo or as a family package. Micro-transactions feature, too.

Unlike other MMOs, combat within Free Realms is also optional, as character advancement can be done in a number of areas: exploration, combat, building, housing, pet-raising, mini-games and social networking. There are the usual slew of fantasy classes to pick from, such as wizards and warriors, but players will be able to change these on a whim.

We'll offer our thoughts on Free Realms soon. Until then, take a look at our hands-on impressions from last year for an idea of what to expect.