Free Realms: Open For Business (Nearly)

By Alec Meer on April 28th, 2009 at 2:05 pm.

Firing up the server-engines today is Sony Online’s teenager-targeting, micropayment-funded MMO Free Realms. The sign-up site‘s currently battened down the hatches in preparation for the coming storm, but in a few hours you’ll be able to create a cutsey avatar and dabble in a bunch of cheerful mini-games comprising stabbing, driving, collecting and match-3ing, amongst others.

Young folks are the target audience, with the parental controls and tight restrictions on communication with potentially unsuitable types making it an online world you may be happy for your own rugrat to gallivant about it. However, when Sony demoed it to me last month they suggested it might appeal to the more casual MMO player to – someone who doesn’t have the time or inclination to pour endless hours into a World of Warhammerquest Online Lords.

I’m starting to fear that might be me: I do like watching a number get bigger now and again, but the dedication a full-blown MMO requires is increasingly galling. I impatiently await a game to dispel such fears – c’mon already, Love.

We had planned to have a chap in the Free Realms beta a while back, but unfortunately the promised account never arrived. I’ll stick a nose into the release version once it goes live and offer a few thoughts later in the week, however. Meantime, go impatiently refresh this page. Alternatively, point your peepers at the below videos:

Aieee! The noise! The colours! I am so old.

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20 Comments »

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  1. Matt Kemp says:

    I want to be a chef now.

  2. Chaz says:

    Pass the sick bag, I’ve just had a sugar overdose.

  3. The_B says:

    Why not be both the Kart Driver and the Chef? Meals on Wheels.

  4. spinks says:

    I’m looking forwards to hearing about the new and inventive ways people find to gank each other in this game :)

  5. Matt Kemp says:

    The_B: Combine with the ‘Custard Pie Flinger’ profession for a self-sufficient source of fun.

  6. Tei says:

    The kart driving is fun. And the swamp area has a awesome ambience. One of the best latest games. But is for childrens, of course.
    I suppose everybody know by now thet *everything* works in tiny instances. But that is not decremental to the game, is actually great fun.

    Mount & Blade meets Disney meets WoW meets Runescape meets Tamagotchi

    My only problem with the game, is that you are limited to how much you can level, withouth paying the game.

  7. Larington says:

    I’m quietly tempted to give this a play at some point. Purely from a gameplay analysis standpoint…

    …And because it’ll probably turn out to be rather fun.

  8. Dominic White says:

    Tei: Normally the business model would be a problem, but the basic subscription to get access to the whole game is about £3 a month, which is bloody great as far as family friendly games go.

    Some of the minigames are entertaining enough, but this isn’t my kind of thing. However, I wouldn’t hesitate to reccomend it to a parent as a gift for a kid, especially given that price.

    Hell, that’s low enough that you could make them pay for it out of their own pocket money, if you’re a cheap bastard.

  9. Nick says:

    They took EQs item designer to work on it.. so expect crappy items from someone who is clueless.

    Zing.

  10. Little Green Man says:

    Grrrr Gametrailers, I have not been able to get their flash videos/embedded ones to work for a week now. Could you next time please post a link to the page, so then I can select to play them in a different format. I don’t know why it is happening, as youtube works, but all of gametrailer’s videos on your site look to me fully loaded but unplayable.
    Annoying.

  11. Amanda says:

    I enjoyed the card game, and the tower defence games in it too! I’ve been refreshing the login page like a maniac all day. In the UK, it’s been Tuesday for aaaaaages!

  12. Pete S says:

    Just to be clear, to access everything requires both a subscription ($5/month, not too bad) and micro-payments (some items apparently can only be obtained via RMT).

    I haven’t verified the latter personally, though.

  13. DigitalSignalX says:

    Looks like Sony’s version of There.com without the pr0n.

  14. Moonracer says:

    It looks like Drakensang Jr. with mini games. It looks like it could be fun for the younger crowd (and those young at heart).

  15. Deadend says:

    Well, it looks like the end of Tuesday for dev studio is almost here.

  16. Marcin says:

    That looks far better (more content, more polish, just … MORE) than I expected. Now I have to sign up and try it out.

  17. Schmidt says:

    I bet Free Realms is cool. They said it’s like WoW but with less charge. Yey! You just saved $15. I’m gonna try this one soon after the Beta. It’ll probably give me a break from grinding wow gold and raiding in WoW.

  18. Bragg56 says:

    Last Tuesday, I had a chance to catch the pop/rock band The Dares perform their original theme song for Free Realms at Sony’s E3 Booth… they sounded great! After their performance, the band was also given an award by Guinness World Records for being the first band to perform live simultaneously on stage and in virtual space within the game at Snow Hill. Very cool idea for E3, and the game is wonderful too! You can check out the band here:
    myspace.com/thedares

  19. office paper says:

    Looks like another virtual world with no inhabitants.