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.