Free Realms hits three million players


Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) announced yesterday that more than three million unique users have registered for their new free-to-play MMO, Free Realms. It’s a family-friendly browser-based title that allows players to choose from jobs that range from the mundane (postman, chef, miner) to the more fantastical (ninja, wizard, kart driver).

Free Realms was released on 28th April, so it has achieved this impressive userbase figure of three million in less than seven weeks. If its growth continues at this rate, it would surpass World of Warcraft’s playerbase by the end of the year. Of course, the subcription model of Blizzard’s game guarantees them some income, whereas SOE now has the challenge of converting their free players into cash through micro-transactions and optional premium member subscriptions.

“SOE worked diligently over the past four years to ensure that Free Realms would take the online space by storm,” said John Smedley, president of Sony Online Entertainment. “We are pleased to be able to provide such a vast, in-depth and, most importantly, fun world to an average of 500,000 new gamers per week.”

To celebrate the rapidly growing community of players, SOE will grant its first three million Free Realms registrants the “3M Pet Party Pack,” filled with goodies for use with their virtual pets, both cats and dogs.

It’s no surprise that SOE has a Playstation 3 version of Free Realms in the works, although they haven’t mentioned any possible release dates or whether it will feature cross-platform play. Still, it’ll be nice for the PS3 to have a virtual world that actually has a point. *Cough*Home*Cough*.