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Sony Online Entertainment Talks Past, Present and Future
02.12.05 - 10:28 PM

In a statement released today, Sony Online Entertainment president John Smedley shared his thoughts about the emergence of the market of online games, his company's flagship title EverQuest and its highly popular rival World of Warcraft.

According to Smedley, EverQuest has sold more than three million copies since its 1999 launch. Since then Sony Online Entertainment has provided users with a total of nine expansion packs. The company's goal behind the launch of EverQuest II is to refine EverQuest. While keeping features which made the first game so popular, the sequel should also develop its own flavor and gameplay style. Another goal was to draw more casual gamers into the game's world.

While Smedley admitted that Sony Online Entertainment has made mistakes over the years, he emphasized that it has sticked to its primary goal of entertaining its customers. In that spirit, he also stated that he believed the company had again delivered this entertainment experience with EverQuest II.

In an increasingly competitive environment, Smedley did something few developers do: Praise the work of a direct competitor. Calling World of Warcraft a "spectacular game", the Sony Online Entertainment president explained he and many of his staffers have spent countless hours playing Blizzard Entertainment's popular MMORPG. He explained that a serious competitor like Blizzard was good for the industry, as it opened some eyes within his company by taking a different approach to the genre as EverQuest II.

Stating that the number of registered users playing massively multiplayer online games in the United States has risen from 250,000 prior to EverQuest's launch to two million recently, Smedley emphasized the need for games to be fun and easy to get into, as they draw an ever larger audience.

Last but not least, the Sony Online Entertainment president mentioned some ideas under discussion within his company, such as the possibility of skill-based combat in MMORPGs, virtual children and players building dungeons which would become part of an online game's world.


Chris Winkler

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