Free Realms


VideoPS3 MMO Free Realms gets third birthday trailer

Celebrate by defeating cake monster.

SOE's John Smedley

Sony Online Entertainment's very own raid boss on the MMO company's new perspective.

Free Realms

The sweet sound of success.

Key events

Free Realms claims 20m registered users

Sony's kids MMO doing brisk business.

Family-friendly PC/PlayStation 3 MMO Free Realms has notched up 20 million registered users since its launch in 2009, according to publisher Sony Online Entertainment.

SOE: Free Realms can reach 100 million

Thanks to "endless supply of children".

An "endless supply of children" is what Sony Online Entertainment believes can propel friendly fantasy MMO Free Realms all the way to 100 million players.

Free Realms finally gets PS3 date

Free-to-play kids' MMO heading to PSN.

Free Realms, the PlayStation 3's "very first casual, free-to-play MMO", hits PlayStation Network on 29th March, Sony Online Entertainment has announced.

Sony: Expect PlanetSide Next Q1/Q2

Plus: The Agency, Free Realms PS3 launches.

Sony Online Entertainment has offered Eurogamer updates on the launches of three new MMOs: The Agency, Free Realms on PS3 and PlanetSide Next, a working title.

Free Realms Mac soon, PS3 "still coming"

World still holding breath for console MMO.

Sony Online Entertainment has told Kotaku that it's working on a Mac port of its popular kids' MMO Free Realms, and that the long-promised PS3 version of the game is "still definitely coming".

Sony Online announces layoffs

Sony Online announces layoffs

Free Realms publisher cuts 41 jobs.

Sony Online Entertainment has laid off 41 employees.

The publisher told IndustryGamers that the move was part of a drive "to increase operational efficiency and reduce costs".

Sony Online Entertainment is the publisher of massively multiplayer titles EverQuest and Free Realms.

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Free Realms claims 10m accounts

SOE's free MMO celebrates anniversary.

Sony Online Entertainment has announced that its free-to-play kids' MMO, Free Realms, has surpassed 10 million registered players.

SOE's John Smedley

Sony Online Entertainment's very own raid boss on the MMO company's new perspective.

Sony Online Entertainment is one of, if not the most experienced company in MMOs. It scored one of the genre's breakthrough successes with the first EverQuest, and to this day it operates the widest range of MMOs under a single roof anywhere, including Star Wars Galaxies, PlanetSide, Pirates of the Burning Sea, Vanguard, EverQuest and its sequel. In recent years, however, it has been overshadowed - not just by World of Warcraft, but also by the succession of eager, over-hyped pretenders that have attempted to grab WOW's coat-tails as Blizzard did EverQuest's.

Free Realms adds football mini-game

3-a-side MMO soccer, free for 5 levels.

Sony Online Entertainment's free-to-play, all-ages MMO Free Realms has expanded to include the Soccer Star job and a three-a-side football mini-game with the new Goal Time update.

Free Realms for PS3 in mid-2010

May support Eye. 5 million play PC.

Addressing the Austin Game Developers Conference yesterday, Sony Online Entertainment boss John Smedley said that the PS3 version of its successful casual MMO Free Realms would be released in 2010.

Free Realms to break 4m users soon

This week, says creative director.

Free Realms creative director Laralyn McWilliams expects the kids' MMO to reach the 4 million-user mark this week, as teens and tweens flock to the cartoon world that launched in April.

Free Realms

Free Realms

The sweet sound of success.

One of gaming's darkest and most persuasive arts is that of the success sound: the abstract audio cue that tells you instantaneously, yes, well done, you did it, you got another one, yes, yes, more. These sounds are utterly pleasurable and addictive: think of Sonic's tinkling rings, or LittleBigPlanet's popping bubbles; of Peggle's explosion into Ode to Joy, of Zelda's chest-opening fanfares and chimes, or of the monolithic, bass-heavy surge of a World of Warcraft level-up. Guitar Hero is just an exercise in making sure the success sound never stops.

Free Realms, Sony Online Entertainment's new casual MMO, is a symphony of scarily brilliant success sounds. It's a non-stop barrage of them. A constant sugar-rush of perfectly tuneful bubble-wrap pops, jangling coins and jaunty jingles follows you as you run about its colourful cartoon world, racing, fighting, collecting, exploring, crafting, organising, training, shopping - but above all, succeeding, and being rewarded. Free Realms never stops tickling the pleasure centres of your brain or handing you sweets. But like tickling, and sweets, it can get a bit much after a while.

Free Realms is essentially 'My First MMO'. It's aimed at the teens and tweens who flock to virtual worlds like Club Penguin but it's carefully crafted not to exclude their parents or older players. Its non-specific modern-fantasy world sports all the ruthlessly focus-tested familial bonhomie of an animated film by Dreamworks or Disney. The gameplay, too, edges cautiously from casual mini-games and makework quests into a great introduction to proper MMORPG combat, not to mention tower defence, trading cards, chess and a devastatingly addictive tile-matching game.

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Free Realms launches today on PC

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.

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Free Realms membership detailed

What's not so free-to-play.

Sony Online Entertainment has revealed the benefits of the optional subscription to its free-to-play family MMO, Free Realms.

Free Realms enters beta testing

Free Realms enters beta testing

Closed now, open in April for kids' MMO.

Sony Online Entertainment has announced that its free, family-friendly MMO Free Realms has begun closed beta testing, and will go into open beta in early April.

We recently reported that the game would actually launch in early April. But for most free-to-play games, open beta is effectively a soft launch, in any case.

Registration for the open beta is available at the Free Realms site.

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Free Realms to launch in early April

Free Realms to launch in early April

Beta within weeks, PS3 version in Q3.

At a press preview of its free-to-play, family-friendly MMO Free Realms in London today, Sony Online Entertainment confirmed that the PC version of the game will launch in early April.

The beta test will begin very soon - within "a couple of weeks", according to associate art director Sebastian Strzalkowski.

Free Realms is also in development for PS3, but that version is further down the road. Strzalkowski said it was on track for a release in the third quarter of this year - so, some time between July and September.

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No Station Cash for SWG, Vanguard

SOE item sales stay in EverQuest 1 & 2.

Sony Online Entertainment boss John Smedley has told Massively that there are no plans to bring the Station Cash item sales just introduced to EverQuest and EverQuest II to SOE's other current games.

All future Sony MMOs console-bound

Including the next EverQuest.

After revealed that he was keen on bringing MMOs to PSP, Sony Online Entertainment boss John Smedley has spoken more about his company's console development strategy, and it amounts to this: every future SOE game is console-bound.

Fear and Levelling in Las Vegas

Eurogamer goes gonzo at Sony Online Entertainment's Fan Faire.

I have an admission to make: even though I've played MMOs for years, I guess I believed the stereotypes, and I expected Sony Online Entertainment's annual Fan Faire in Las Vegas to be filled with shuffling, socially-awkward freaks with poor dress sense, using obscure science-fiction references to mask their conversational inadequacy. The reasons for this are quite simple: having played MMOs for years, I'm a shuffling, socially-awkward freak with poor dress sense, and I use obscure science-fiction references to mask my conversational inadequacy.

Free Realms

One o'clock, two o'clock, free o'clock rock!

If you're looking for the next big thing in massively multiplayer gaming - we mean really big; multiple millions of players big - look no further. Sony Online Entertainment's Free Realms, a free-to-play, modern-fantasy, mini-game-heavy MMO for PC and later PS3, aimed at kids, is that game. It's the slickest, cleverest prospect due out in the next year - including the increasingly impressive Warhammer Online - with the broadest appeal. It is ruthlessly engineered for success, and it's going to be huge.

Family MMO Free Realms takes shape

Form rock bands, trade cards, train pets.

In his keynote at the ION 08 online games development conference, Sony Online Entertainment chief John Smedley has explained a lot more about the developer's forthcoming, free, family-oriented MMO, Free Realms. Massively was at the presentation and has all the details.

Real money trading in The Agency

Could the spy MMO end up free to play?

The Agency - the spy-themed massively multiplayer action game being developed for PS3 and PC by Sony Online Entertainment - is to feature officially supported real money trading.