Free Realms

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Free Realms
Free realms.jpg
Developer(s)Sony Online Entertainment
Publisher(s)Sony Online Entertainment
Platform(s)PlayStation 3, Windows, Mac
April 28, 2009
November 2, 2010[1]
PlayStation 3
March 29, 2011[2][3]
Genre(s)Massively multiplayer online, adventure

Free Realms was a massive multiplayer online role playing video game, developed by Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) for Windows, Mac, and PlayStation 3, set in a fantasy-themed world named Sacred Grove. The game was released on April 28, 2009 for Windows. The game restricted to free-to-play up to level 4, although there was access to additional game content via a membership fee. The game allowed the player to fight, interact with other players, and more. The game was shut down on March 31, 2014; SOE stated that it didn't have the resources to keep the game going.

Business model[edit]

The game was available to download and play free of charge. The PC version was accessed via the Free Realms web site[4] or, through game arcade sites Candy Stand[5] or Miniclip.[6] During character creation a 3D client downloaded in the background and then streamed as the user played; the same method was used to download new content or updates, which reduced file size and download times. A version of FreeRealms for Mac was announced at SOE Fan Faire 2010 for release "within the next 3 months."[7] The Mac version was released on November 2, 2010.[1]

The PlayStation 3 version was released on March 31, 2011 on the US PlayStation Store and on September 11, 2011 in the EU and was accessible via the PlayStation Network.[8][9][10][11]

Free Realms offered an optional membership for a single player, which allowed for 3 characters to be created per account (plus other benefits such as member-only quests, jobs, and items).[12] Only one character can be played at a time; the game will kick extra active characters.[13] Before Free Realms was shut down, SOE planned to offer a "family" membership that would allow multiple logins at the same time.[14] Separate to memberships is the Station Cash currency which can be used for premium features across Sony Online Entertainment games (including Free Realms).[15]


In the New York Times, Free Realms was well received. The reviewer, Seth Shiesel, noted "For Sony Online, Free Realms is a triumph of the company’s own reinvention."[19] USA Today reviewer Marc Saltzman gave Free Realms a 4/5 score, noting "Sony Online Entertainment's Free Realms is an extraordinary online adventure that is sure to please tweens and teens looking for a fun and free fantasy world."[18] Eurogamer gave the game a largely positive review, MMO editor Oli Welsh describing the game as "an effortlessly light and addictive indulgence".[16] MMOHuts gave the game a 4/5 and noted that "Free Realms is one of the most feature-rich free MMORPGs currently available and it’s all delivered in a beautiful package".[20] In a review of Free Realms at USA Network's Character Arcade, David Chapman stated that the game "is a surprisingly deep game experience for a free to play model. There's never a shortage of things to do ... even if you never pay a dime to Sony."[21]

John Smedley, president of Sony Online Entertainment, revealed that one million users had signed up to Free Realms 18 days after its launch;[22] a month after release Free Realms reached two million users,[23] and registrations have continued growing at a steady rate since then. As of July 24, 2009, it had nearly five million registered users.[24] Sony Online Entertainment announced in February 2010 that the game had eight million registered users.[25] In April 2010, it was announced that the game had ten million players, with two million players signing up in March 2010.[26]


A Free Realms tie-in comic, published by DC Comics' Wildstorms and released for $4.99 per issue, held twelve issues each of which contained a unique one time code redeemable for an in game virtual reward. The comic was written by J.S. Lewis, writer of the "Gray Griffon" series of young-adult fantasy books, with art by Allen Martinez and Jon Buran.[27]

The comic featured Dane Kensington, an aspiring Brawler who set out on his adventure in hopes of becoming stronger.


  1. ^ a b "Maintenance for November 2, 2010". Archived from the original on March 14, 2012. Retrieved 2012-05-30.
  2. ^ "Free Realms Available on PSN March 29 – PlayStation Blog". Retrieved 2012-05-30.
  3. ^ Eric Caoili (March 11, 2011). "SOE's Free Realms Releasing For PS3 On March 29". Gamasutra. Retrieved 11 March 2011.
  4. ^ "Welcome To Free Realms". Retrieved 2009-05-06.
  5. ^ "Free Realms -".
  6. ^ "Free Realms -". Archived from the original on 2009-05-06. Retrieved 2009-05-11.
  7. ^ "Breaking: Free Realms Headed To PS3 And Mac In The Next 3 Months!". Retrieved 2012-05-30.
  8. ^ "Free Realms Available on PSN March 29". Playstation Blog US. 2011-03-11. Retrieved 2011-04-22.
  9. ^ Welsh, Oli (2009-02-12). "Free Realms to launch in early April News". Eurogamer. Retrieved 2009-02-12.
  10. ^ "Free Realms hits PSN today with Voice Chat, Trophies". Playstation Blog US. 2011-03-29. Retrieved 2011-04-22.
  11. ^ "Free Realms News". SOE. Retrieved 4 October 2011.
  12. ^ "Free Realms Member Benefits". Retrieved 2009-04-19.
  13. ^ "Free Realms - Support". 2013-05-30. Retrieved 2012-05-30.
  14. ^ "Free Realms - Support". Retrieved 2012-05-30.[dead link]
  15. ^ "SOE". SOE.COM. 2013-09-16. Archived from the original on 2013-09-05. Retrieved 2013-09-16.
  16. ^ a b Welsh, Oli (2009-05-27). "Free Realms Review". Eurogamer.
  17. ^ Krause, Staci (2009-05-06). "Free Realms Review". Archived from the original on May 9, 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-25.
  18. ^ a b Saltzman, Marc (2009-05-21). "'Free Realms' offers world of family-friendly fun". USA Today. Retrieved 2009-05-25.
  19. ^ Shiesel, Seth (2009-05-20). "Pick a Role, Any Role, Then Live Nine Lives". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-05-25.
  20. ^ Altay, Erhan (2009-05-24). "Free Realms Game Review". MMOHuts.
  21. ^ Chapman, David (2010-05-19). "'Review: Free Realms (PC)". USA Network. Archived from the original on 2010-05-26.
  22. ^ MacManus, Christopher (2009-05-24). "SOE's Free Realms Has A Million Unique Registered Users". Sony Insider. Retrieved 2009-05-25.
  23. ^ Martin, Matt (2009-05-27). "Free Realms hits over 2 million users". Games Industry. Retrieved 2009-06-12.
  24. ^ "Free Realms hits close to the 5 million registered mark". VG247. 2009-07-24. Retrieved 2012-05-30.
  25. ^ Clarke, Robert (2010-02-08). "Free Realms Boasts 8 Million Registered Users". Aperture Games. Archived from the original on 2011-08-11. Retrieved 2010-02-08.
  26. ^ Mitchell, Richard (2012-05-25). "Joystiq". Retrieved 2012-05-30.
  27. ^ McElroy, Griffin (2009-07-23). "Free Realms comic coming July 29, includes in-game bonuses". Joystiq. Retrieved 2012-05-30.

External links[edit]

  • "Main website". Archived from the original on February 23, 2014. Retrieved April 19, 2009.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)