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Summary:

How serious is Sony about online worlds? For the longest time, execs at their Tokyo HQ kept an arms-length distance from the San Diego-based Sony Online Entertainment, purveyor of Everquest I/II, the recently released Pirates of the Burning Sea, and other PC-centric MMOs and online games. […]

How serious is Sony about online worlds? For the longest time, execs at their Tokyo HQ kept an arms-length distance from the San Diego-based Sony Online Entertainment, purveyor of Everquest I/II, the recently released Pirates of the Burning Sea, and other PC-centric MMOs and online games. Over the last decade, anytime I’d write about an SOE property, their press flacks made sure I clearly distinguished the company from the Japanese mother ship.

That’s about to change. Starting April 1st, SOE will be managed directly by Kazuo Hirai, Sony president and group CEO. The move is meant to better integrate their online PC properties with their Playstation 3 console — just as the press release is probably meant to tell the market that Sony is finally waking up to the fact that their console is in desperate need of more online games and functionality. In my opinion, it’s about five years too late, mixing two mediocre vintages past their prime.

Once the dominant console manufacturer, Sony’s PS3 is floundering in third place with just 21 percent of the market, according VGChartz. Once the dominant MMO publisher, SOE’s two Everquest MMOs have less than 500,000 subscribers combined (according to MMOGChart) and far less for its Star Wars Galaxies, which was largely undermined by disastrous policy changes. Still, it’s too early to dismiss this out of hand. SOE’s recently announced, kid-friendly Free Realms shows promise, and Japanese competitor Nintendo said they won’t be making a MMO for the Wii anytime soon. Seen that way, this could be Sony’s best (and only?) chance to recover its past glory.

  1. vgchartz has got to be one of the worst trackers out there. I mean, let’s call it as we see it. Did you see the horrific job it did with Feb. sales? Now publishers and manufacturers are speaking out against it and you have the balls to cite it? get with the program.

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  2. I think they will have achieved a result of impact on online world more quickly if will begin immediately with blogs and blogosphere, and with social networks.

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  3. It’d be interesting to see some of the SOE properties get ported over to PS3, which is entirely possible due to the PS3’s harddrive which can store patches for games that have been updated. Frankly, i’d love to see Planetside (SOE property) ported over to work on PS3, and allowed into the exact same servers. It would not only boost the game’s population and allow for more stimulating game play (more people=more fun in this game), it would also give some of us weirdo pc/console players the option to play one way or the other. I know Sony can do it, Square Enix did with Final Fantasy XI, both the PS2 and PC versions go to the same universe. Let’s start bringing some decent MMOs to consoles, let some of those folks in on what they’ve been missing out on for forever.

    In response to Robert Bardou: Bringing social networking sites and blogs to a PS3 would not help it at all, in fact I do believe that it would be a serious waste of time. We don’t need to send this console down the shitter, it’s already in the bowl. Let’s try to keep the “stfu”, “lulz”, and “bloggers” out of a system that already has few followers. Nobody would buy a PS3 if there was some integrated widget or something for myspace or anything, and would be of little use to most of the people already on myspace since they more than likely already have a computer.

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  4. Wow! a very nice article. Sony will boost up the online gaming in Internet

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  5. Sony is going to be even richer. From music to video games to online games to >???. PSP is very popular these days. I never fail to see someone with it wherever i go.

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