Thanks to Sony Online, that's about to change.
The company has announced plans to release the hugely popular, kid-friendly Free Realms on the PS3 on March 29th, making it the first free-to-play virtual world game to arrive on a console.
It might not enjoy the instant name recognition of World of Warcraft, but Free Realms actually boasts more registered players, with nearly 17 million to Wacraft's 12 million. While users aren't required to pay a monthly fee, they can access more quests and higher level caps by becoming paid members, and can purchase loads of items and weapons via smaller in-game microtransactions. That model will carry over to the PS3 version, though PS3 players won't be able to play with their counterparts on the PC.
"As the only online games publisher that creates accessible and diverse gameplay experiences for the full spectrum of gamers, we are committed to burgeoning innovation and growing the MMO genre by leaps and bounds, bringing in players of all ages," Sonly Online president John Smedley said in a statement.
Several changes have been made for the PS3 version of Free Realms, including a streamlined interface, voice chat and trophy support.
The game marks Sony Online's second foray into online gaming on a home console. Earlier this year, the company successfully launched the massively-multiplayer superhero game DC Universe Online simultaneously on the PC and PS3.
- DC Universe Online
- Free Realms
- virtual world game
- World of Warcraft
- voice chat