Runescape inspired Free Realms? Huh.
Sony Online Entertainment, the juggernaut behind Everquest, DC Universe Online, and the like, has been at the forefront of the free-to-play games market, and CEO John Smedley has a really interesting interview with Edge Magazine Online. In it, he talks about games of the past, like Free Realms, games of the present like DCUO, and ones of the future, like Planetside 2. The goal, he says, is providing players with more content for longer, primarily by "giving them tools," and giving "them the ability to be the content themselves."
From the interview:
We believe, longer term – and we’re going to do this game by game – that content will be free and features will be what cost. We think it’s a bad idea to separate an audience. Let me give you an example: Battlefield 3. Great game, but not everybody buys every expansion pack, which means you can’t always play on every map. Contrast that with League Of Legends or Dota 2, where everybody gets the maps. We’re thinking the same thing.
Our belief is that, long-term, our future is not in making content-heavy MMOGs. Not that they’re not going to have a lot of content in them, but we’re not going to do them in the style of, say, Star Wars: The Old Republic, where players burn through the content so quickly.
The nice thing about this? It's not about money, or revenue, or anything like that - sure, you can kind of extrapolate it based on what he says, but he wants to deliver content to make people play it. Smedley really 'gets' online game content, and it's great that he's in control of so much.
Julian "Mirai" Williams