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Sony Online has had it's share of ups and downs. Today, they plan to reveal the secret identity of 3 major SOE games currently in production. We're not really sure exactly what they plan to unleash on the world today, but the buzz around town is that it's going to be huge news for Sony. Hopefully Sony has learned from some huge mistakes in the recent past. They also plan to announce some new business strategies today. It could all end up being a marketing hype plan, but I have a feeling that something big is going to happen today.
Sony Online intends to unveil its plan to retake leadership in online gaming by unveiling three new games in development. More broadly, the new games represent an attempt to broaden the company in four major ways: diversifying its business model, expanding the demographic profile of its customer base, moving into the console market in addition to making games for PCs and increasing its presence in Asia…
|A New York Times report confirmed today that Sony Online Entertainment is planning on releasing a free-to-play MMO aimed at the younger crowd.|
|Like other free-to-play MMOs, SOE’s Free Realms will implement microtransactions, advertising and an optional low-cost monthly subscription that will offer players more features.
Whereas SOE is known for games that focus on the core gamer, company president John Smedley suggested that free MMOs are going to be integral to a shift in business models at the firm.
For one, Free Realms is the first step in diversifying SOE’s revenue streams. Smedley said that nearly 100 percent of revenues at SOE come from subscriptions to games such as EverQuest, Vanguard: Saga of Heroes and Star Wars: Galaxies.
“In two years, we would like to see no more than 50 percent of our revenue coming from subscriptions, and five years from now we think less than 10 percent of our revenue will come from subscription sources,” Smedley said.
Such a business model would also help the company diversify SOE’s customer base, which, The New York Times says, is 85 percent male at an average of 32 years of age. “We want to get our average age lower, probably into the low 20s, and I’d really like to see the gender breakdown go to 50-50 or even slightly more women than men, to reflect real life.”
Free Realms is targeted at children, particularly girls.
The report said that SOE would be officially unveiling Free Realms today.
The free MMO market in the U.S. isn’t exactly crowded quite yet, but competition is increasing. NCsoft recently made a similar announcement that it would be entering the free MMO market with Dungeon Runners, Acclaim specializes solely in free MMOs and Jagex’s kid-friendly Runescape has over 1 million users who pay $5 per month to play, with millions more playing for free.
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