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Reader Comments (33)

Posted: Apr 5th 2011 12:10PM Pingles said

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I kind of wish it had NOT been such a success.

There were a lot of things they talked about doing early on but they have such a constant flow of new players that I think player retention is low on their list. :(

Too bad because it has a fantastic game engine/mechanic behind it.

Posted: Apr 5th 2011 12:13PM (Unverified) said

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Wow, 100 million? Not to burst anyone's balloon but the question remains about the nature of the 17 million currently playing or are they? Seeing as it is a F2P, its quite possible that 17 million did at one point sign up to see the game. But then after that or a day or a while, stopped playing.

So if you keep aggregating the total registered accounts for a F2P - sure it will hit insane numbers but it has little to do with true active players let alone income. This of course is coming from a branch of Sony that layed off 1/3rd of its workforce a week ago. If that 17 million truly was a paying base - they would be set like Blizzard and instead of layofffs - they'd be hiring.

Posted: Apr 5th 2011 4:30PM DancingCow said

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Exactly.

And with the game hitting 1 million registered players inside the first three weeks in 2009.... taking 2 years to get an additional 16 million.... they should hit their 'expected' 100 million.... in about 7 billion years.
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Posted: Apr 6th 2011 3:51PM Space Cobra said

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Yeah, but many other F2P MMOs also track such numbers in this manner, not just SOE, Wizard 101 and many Korean MMOs are examples.

And really, there are people who still defend the 17 million mark that Blizzard states and given the above, I don't see how they could. We all know WoW is top dog, but I've always called those numbers fishy, especially when Blizzard is so vague about how they count up these numbers.
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Posted: Apr 5th 2011 12:14PM (Unverified) said

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ya..... I have to think the numbers are completely made up.

Free Realms is massed produced crap, you think people would hear about a MMO doing as big as Wow. This is a PR snow job, it's bogus, their likely doctoring their numbers based on Ps3 players that set up online services, not Free Realm accounts. Ya all the gamers are cheering about Free Realms /eyeroll. Need to dig deeper on these type of stories, this was obvious.

Posted: Apr 5th 2011 2:00PM Saker said

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Have to agree, sounds exactly like a big pile of pr bs!
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Posted: Apr 5th 2011 5:39PM dudes said

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@(Unverified) Mmm snow jobs.
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Posted: Apr 5th 2011 12:24PM Dril said

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Agree with some above commenters: 17 million registered doesn't mean 17 million playing: I'd be surprised if even 1mil are actively playing, and probably far fewer are paying. I mean, let's face it, if there were 17 million players, you'd think SOE would be expanding due to the huge profits, not, you know, losing 1/3 of their workforce.

Posted: Apr 5th 2011 12:37PM koehler83 said

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@Dril I'm willing to bet that the layoffs were related to restructuring of Sony's studios. They're shifting focus to their own platforms and as a result found a lot of SOEs staff redundant. As stated in the article, expect their work to show up more and more on console.. specifically Sony consoles.
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Posted: Apr 5th 2011 12:44PM (Unverified) said

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"you think people would hear about a MMO doing as big as Wow." and yet in China where the bulk of WoWs supposed "subscriptions" are (which aren't subscriptions at all) it sits in a market place position of 3rd or 4th behind games i bet you can't even name.

Posted: Apr 5th 2011 1:07PM (Unverified) said

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Oh I don't disagree with ya, Blizzard must definely "tweaks" their numbers, probably including canceled accounts, and other means.
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Posted: Apr 5th 2011 1:41PM Sukiyaki said

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Blizzard doesnt tweak their numbers they just tweak their PR.
For example they talk about "12 million active subscriptons" then jump in the next sentence to something like "with so many player...." to give the false impression that those 12 million subscriptions ae all happily paying player.
Matter of fact is: They arent.

WoW is very heavily advertised in China and cheaper in Asia than normal MMOs. But Blizzard doesnt care about the profits because they are low anyway. WoWs 7-8 Million Asian and mainly Chinese subscriptions make barely as much money than games like Lineage2 with a third of those numbers.

If they release the local publisher from 10% of its royalties then its a great bonus the publisher he can invest into advertisement, but a tiny loss in Blizzard pocket.
The massive advertisement on web, TV and by normal means perfectly couples with the fact that WoW in the East does not have any free trials but neither requires a box to buy and has a cheaper hourly price than other MMORPG (10%) than other MMOs in China and comes in cheap bundles with other games in other countries like Korea.
Result: Every Chinese player who even just tries the game for some hours and quits even before reaching level 10 (70% of all new player according to Blizzard themself) is still accounted as a FULL SUBSCRIBER in the soapbubble records.

Eastern companies could care less about inflating their subscriber with Chinese "trials" from nongamer or cheap prices because A: Eastern player are not impressed that much by "millions of subscriber" because its normal for any popular game. B: they cant afford these kind of marketing moves for the little effect they have.
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Posted: Apr 5th 2011 12:47PM relgoth said

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i really hope people read into that number before they let it influence their decision.

Posted: Apr 5th 2011 12:52PM Pingles said

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Concurrent users seems like a reasonable metric for all online games. I wish more would use that but I know those numbers are deceptively low.

Posted: Apr 5th 2011 12:59PM stamps79 said

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Too bad it's not 17million active players. The game is a solid kids MMO.

Posted: Apr 5th 2011 1:03PM Yarr said

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I've been playing FR since beta and can offer some thoughts that aren't just based on wild guesses by those that know little to nothing about the game.

What I've seen since the game went live is that player numbers seem relatively good and fairly constant. A good portion of the players are very likely still in school, so numbers vary depending on time of year; certainly they are higher during summer and holidays.

There is also quite a mix of player types: those of us with lifetime subs that have likely been around since beta, the social types that probably don't have a sub of any type but buy some Station Cash items (mainly pets and mounts), a lot of players just trying it out that probably won't buy anything, casual players that may sub occasionally as well as buy some SC items now and then, to a few that clearly have unlimited funds and buy tons of SC items for their lots.

I'm sure the game has a huge churn rate overall, but as long as SOE can keep new players coming in at the same rate I'd say the game probably is indeed fairly profitable. The lack of new areas and major new content did drive a lot of regulars away (as did the combat nerf) and keeps a lot of us from supporting the game much these days. I had no problem throwing them $5 to $10 month when the game was being supported, but not now. I still pop in every day when possible and even will spend a few hours playing on the weekend, but unless they finally get around to opening up those new areas they were working on (now abandoned?), they won't be getting any more money from me.

It does seem SOE won't be doing much more for FR after the recent massive layoffs (so far it looks like FR lost 3 staff at the very least) and as such I'm pretty much done with any SOE games. FR is a well made game, with some fun features and the devs/staff/support people are/were pretty great. But SOE seems to be content to mainly just place games on life support after the first year or so.

Posted: Apr 5th 2011 1:22PM (Unverified) said

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1) The 17 Million number is registered accounts on the PC only (including Mac). We've never claimed it's anything other than that, and we are always specific about that. There is no hiding the ball. It's the same metric every F2P game releases. It's true not all of them play every month. That number is lower. We're not releasing specifics beyond that because it's competitive information.

2) We just launched the PS3 version. It's doing well. No numbers yet.

3) We have a good sized live team on Free Realms that we plan to keep for many, many years on working on Free Realms. We're going to continue to release new content and add new features.

Smed

Posted: Apr 5th 2011 1:44PM Pingles said

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Sir, as a former subscriber (since day 1, blown away by the quality of the game in the Beta tests) I sincerely hope you start adding content.

It truly is an exceptional game that just seems to have gone stagnant.

A few expansions (and opening up of "promised" areas) and I'll be returning.
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Posted: Apr 5th 2011 2:05PM (Unverified) said

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Registered accounts? Does this happen to include Station Pass accounts? Such would be including a segment of people who may never have played the game.
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Posted: Apr 5th 2011 3:25PM kgptzac said

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Unlike number of active subscription for a p2p MMO, number of registered users for a f2p is hardly an informative piece of information that doesn't cry "boast!" out loud. There are games that publicize peak online user counts, which I don't see causing them problems other than showing a degree of honesty. IMO that number is a more appreciated information to use in marketing.
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