OWFI: Online, Wii, Facebook, iPhone Games

Review: Free Realms (Sony)

Posted by Appgamr on June 19, 2009

Talking farmers and cows!

Talking farmers and cows!

+ Heard about World of Warcraft?  Want a free version with cute animals and bright colors?  Want to join legions of women and tweens?  Try Free Realms, a free online world produced by Sony Online Entertainment, found at  Yup, just type in in your browser bar and you’re good to go.   The computer and a friendly talking squirrel (?) will tell you what to do.

Free Realms has taken the world by storm, attracting an unprecedented 3 million users in its first seven weeks of release.  Free Realms looks like Sony developers analysed World of Warcraft, an online virtual world that is and has been the world’s most popular game for many years standing.  They decided women and tweens would like a bright color scheme, bright blues and magentas instead of WoW’s dominant browns and grays, and talking animals and friendly farmers instead of orcs, elves, and trolls.

Hey, it’s free, with some paid up-sells, the talking squirrel guides you step by step with game instructions, learning how to play couldn’t be easier.  Personally, it’s a little too saccharine and sanitized for my taste, but I’m probably not the target market.  The target market is probably tweens, particularly girls, who watch Saturday morning cartoons.  I can also imagine adults getting hooked on Free Realms due to its pleasant themes, ease of use, popularity — 3 million users!, price — free!

I don’t think core gamers are playing Free Realms, but that fact is probably beside the point.  Sony is probably targeting new audiences that don’t historically play games.  3 million users in 7 weeks is a lot of users.  Wait and see if the growth peters out or if those 3 million users return week on week or month on month.


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