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EverQuest II's free-to-play switch spurs 300% jump in new players

New player registrations for EverQuest II have increased by around 300 percent since Sony Online Entertainment switched the game to an entirely free-to-play model in early December.
New player registrations for EverQuest II have increased by around 300 percent since Sony Online Entertainment switched the game to an entirely free-to-play model in early December. The publisher has seen plenty of success with the business model, recently jumpstarting DC Universe Online with a free-to-play switch that attracted one million new registrations in a week. Its Free Realms MMO, which launched as a free-to-play title in 2009, has picked up over 20 million players. Along with the dramatic boost to new player registrations and a 40 percent increase in daily logins, EverQuest II has also experienced a 200 percent surge in in-game item sales after introducing a tiered plan with free and subscription options, alongside microtransactions. "Plus we have added a lot of new subscriptions," said SOE president John Smedley. "All during the time that some really good competition hit the market." December also saw the launch of Electronic Arts and BioWare's highly anticipated subscription-based MMORPG Star Wars: The Old Republic. SOE currently has at least two MMORPGs in development, including a project codenamed "EverQuest Next" and Planetside 2, the latter of which Smedley has already said will launch with a free-to-play approach inspired by Riot Games' popular RTS League of Legends.

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