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Sony Online Entertainment
MMORPG | Setting:Fantasy | Status:Cancelled  (est.rel 04/28/09)  | Pub:Sony Online Entertainment
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Near 5 Million Users, Smed Credits Micro

Posted by Michael Bitton on Jul 23, 2009  | Comments

Near 5 Million Users, Smed Credits Micro -

Free Realms has been soaring in users since it's launch, what with hitting the 1 million user mark in only 10 days. Today, President of SOE John Smedley announced that Free Realms has almost hit the five million user mark at a panel at the San Diego Comic Con.

Smedley credits the free-to-play, microtransaction business model as playing a large role in the success of the game.

Also on the panel was Min Kim, from developer Nexon, known for their wildly successful game MapleStory, who chimed in on microtransactions in Western games:

 “When people started talking about it back in 2000, people said Western games would never want to do this, to play a game for free and then buy and items. And now everybody is saying, 'We're going to have microtransactions as part of our business model.”

Get the full story over at Gamasutra.

The increasing success of Free Realms seems to legitimize the notion that microtransactions could work in the West. Is this a sign we're headed towards a new age in the MMOG genre? Let us know in the comments!

UPDATE: SOE Representatives have gotten in contact with Gamasutra to clarify that Free Realms has not actually hit five million users, but is close. We apologize for any confusion.

Michael Bitton / Michael Bitton / Michael began his career at the WarCry Network in 2005 as the site manager for several different WarCry fansite portals. In 2008, Michael worked for the startup magazine Massive Gamer as a columnist and online news editor. In June of 2009, Michael joined as the site's Community Manager. Follow him on Twitter @eMikeB