ION 08: Free Realms & The Agency MMO’s

The ION ’08 Game Conference, which is commencing currently in Seattle, Washington is a conference that focuses on online game development. Within that conference two MMO’s were discussed in the SOE keynote speech. The two games in question are Free Realms and The Agency.

Free Realms is a game that is focused moreso on kids and families. The actual activities you can participate in throughout Free Realms are varied, ranging from housing to mini games and pet raising to combat. Mini games will be abundant within the game and include activities such as ice skating and soccer to a trading card game where you can buy digital packs through micro transactions or go out hunting for creatures to turn into cards themselves.

Most pc MMO’s are paid subscriptions. Free Realms is a free to play MMO, but of course there is always a catch. The main way that they plan on supporting the game is through micro transactions such as the trading card game as mentioned above to extra clothing. The second way is a bit more upfront. Every time you log in you must watch an age appropriate video of some advertising nature. If you wish not to see these videos then you can opt into pay a small monthly charge of $4.99 or purchase the family account for $9.99, which enables up to 5 people to play.

On the other hand, we have the much more interesting and mature MMO, The Agency. This game is aimed at much older audience and has some basic spy vs spy strategy to it, yet much more in depth. SOE didn’t reveal that much more info on this game yet, but did mention a few things. The game is extremely fast pace and there is no waiting for things to get done. You get in, do your thing and then get out when you’re ready to do so. When you are not signed online the game still moves and revolves around you. To get a better idea follow the link above to see the older video presentation of the game in action to make more sense of what it is all about.

Both MMO’s have interesting aspects to them and will bring a whole new world to the console generation this time around. It will be interesting how these two games shape up and turn out in the end. The Agency is the one though that seems the most intriguing, even though little was said during this keynote, and the one we here at Scrawl are most anxious to find out more about.

[John Smedley keynote]

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