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 massively multiplayer online (MMO) role playing video game developed by Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) for Microsoft Windows, Mac and PlayStation 3 that is 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 did not 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 Free Realms 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]

It had a very similar gameplay style to World of Warcraft but was more family-friendly. They also allowed your character to be many different things and it did not have to be human. Depending on what your charter was it could have abilities (i.e., if you had a fairy for your character it could fly, etc.). This website was most known for its quests but it also had areas where people could just hang out and get to know each other!


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

External links[edit]

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