An exciting announcement from SOE!
SAN DIEGO, CA (April 1, 2008) – In a strategic move to more closely align itself with emerging trends in the worldwide massive gaming market, Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) announced today they are adding a ground breaking new title to their already impressive line up of massive offerings – Graphite Realms!
Graphite Realms is designed to break users free from the bonds that hold them back in other massive games. Set loose from the constraints of complex user interface, and overwhelming system requirements, this genre shattering offering from SOE will obliterate your preconceptions about massive gaming!
SOE president John Smedley commented, “Graphite Realms can be fantasy, but on any level you want. It’s not RMT per se, but the idea of selling special customizations is key. Once you buy the base kit, you can play the game completely free. It’s office supply supported, you can customize your play experience to your heart’s content, then there will sort of be an additional catalogue of items we’ll be selling that will allow people to customize even further.”
The SOE president continued: “It’s our first experiment with the online-free concept, what we call the ‘paper rope’ model. We’re taking our cues from some of the other successful players in the office supply market, names like BiC and 3M. None of them have really exploited the gaming potential of office products. Think what we could do with the market penetration and recognizability of the Dixon-Ticonderoga? I want to expand the concept of customization into player interacting with one another, and creating for one another. Graphite Realms is going to be a huge push in that direction.”
“Our big goal with the game is accessibility. User-generated content: I want to get it out of the space of buzzwords and into the game. Everybody talks about it, but it’s hard to pin down,” asserted Smedley. “I’d rather give people some pads, and say ‘draw on these any way you want.’ Then you can just generate whatever you want, but you have users creating content themed towards their goals.
Smedley also remarked on the new direction this game marks for SOE as a whole, commenting, “Graphite Realms, in my mind, is going to take the company in a direction we’ve needed to go for a long time. We’ve been making these PC ‘over the top hardware requirement games’ for too long. I don’t think those games are necessarily bad, they’ve been our bread and butter. But those games don’t have that kind of mass level of accessibility, I think, even World of Warcraft notwithstanding. We’re not aiming for those kinds of numbers with Graphite Realms, we’re aiming for a lot bigger. Even web based ventures like MetaPlace won’t be able to touch us. I think that bringing something that I can play with my kids at the kitchen table to the market is a big deal.”
Based on Sony’s industry leading BetaNote SX paper devices and MaviStick graphite delivery technologies (see stationary.sony.com), Graphite Realms is expected to ship in the fourth quarter of 2008 and will be available through electronics retailers and fine office supplies store world wide. While pricing is not yet set, it is expect to be in line with other massive titles.
About Sony Online Entertainment
Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) is a recognized worldwide leader in massively multiplayer online games, with hundreds of thousands of subscribers around the globe. SOE creates, develops and provides compelling entertainment for the personal computer, online, game console and wireless markets. Known for its blockbuster franchises and hit titles including EverQuest, EverQuest II, Champions of Norrath, Untold Legends, and PlanetSide, as well as for developing Star Wars Galaxies, SOE continues to redefine the business of massive gaming and the creation of active player communities while introducing new genres on various entertainment platforms. Headquartered in San Diego, CA, with additional development studios in Austin, TX, Seattle, WA, Denver, CO and Taiwan, SOE has an array of cutting-edge games in development.
The press kit included the following Graphite Realms screen shots and descriptions:
The Graphite Realms starter pack! All you need to unleash your imagination into the world of massive gaming!
See incredible and fantastic creatures!
Relive great battles from other SOE titles!
Explore amazing locations!
Challenge the might of creatures from other, less notable titles!
Enjoy fun mini games!
Integrate gaming with your everyday life!
From what I have read, these screen shots are on a blue background to identify them as beta and that the GA version will be available in a variety of colors. If SOE can make their ship date, this could be the big seller for them at the holidays!