Sony’s free-to-play online shooter Planetside 2 will pack 2,000 players in an arena (interview)

First-person shooter games have become a multibillion-dollar market. But no one has really succeeded in the massively multiplayer online space with high-end hardcore shooters. Sony Online Entertainment hopes to change that with the upcoming launch of Planetside 2. John Smedley, head of SOE, believes that the game will set a new bar for online shooters, with more than 2,000 people fighting together in the same region. He also believes that the free-to-play business model for the game will attract a much larger audience than is typical for an MMO. Smedley also feels that Sony Online learned some important lessons from last year’s hacker attack, which brought down the company’s network of games for weeks. We caught up with Smedley at the recent Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) video game conference in Los Angeles. Here’s an edited transcript of our interview.

Classic online game EverQuest celebrates 13th birthday with switch to free to play business model

Boy, they grow up so fast: March 16 will mark the 13th birthday of Sony Online Entertainment‘s (SOE) massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORG) EverQuest. Sometime during March the business model for the fantasy classic will change from subscription fee to free-to-play, according to EverQuest producer Thom Terrazas.