EQ2Wire is reporting that Sony Online Entertainment has announced the upcoming closing of 4 of their MMO worlds. Free Realms, Clone Wars Adventures, Wizardry Online, and Vanguard will all shut their doors by mid 2014. It’s no secret that SOE has their sights set on getting EverQuest Next Landmark and EverQuest Next out the door and into eager fan’s greasy hands.
The most surprising name on the list for me is FreeRealms. According to sources close to SOE at the time, FreeRealms cost in the neighborhood of $30 million to produce, with a further $10 million in television commercials and assorted other marketing. Although millions showed interest in Free Realms by registering accounts, especially among the nascent non-gamer market according to the same source, over 90% of those who registered never actually logged into the game. SOE contracted an outside marketing company to handle referral links, yet after promising a flood of traffic, this company ended up being completely overloaded and fully 90% of potential players were unable to get past the registration screen