Both The Agency and Free Realms have been recognized as possible RMT/Free to play titles since they were announced by SOE last year. The Agency will feature a card-based system which puts human assets at the players fingertips. Called Operatives, this living loot will most likely be tradeable via Live Gamer's managed RMT service. Similarly, Free Realms will offer purchasing options to players in the form of outfits, pets, and special items. Tradeable items might include collection compontents. Tentative plans also call for Free Realms to offer 'event tickets' to free players that would allow them to participate in subscriber-only services.
The full release is after the break. Stay with us for future coverage of this announcement, as we've contacted both SOE and Live Gamer for comment.
Live Gamer Exchange to Power RMT in The Agency and Free Realms
SEATTLE, WA – May 14, 2008 – Live Gamer, the premier operator of a publisher-supported marketplace for real money trading of virtual items, has announced it has entered into an agreement with Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) to offer real money trading (RMT) in the upcoming titles published by SOE -- The Agency™ and Free Realms™. The two companies are leading the evolution of the gaming industry into transaction-based business models that open emergent game play styles for gamers and opportunities for publishers.
Live Gamer's service, called Live Gamer Exchange™, will provide the SOE gaming community within these new games with a trusted way to conduct real-money transactions. Earlier this year, Live Gamer incorporated SOE's proven Station Exchange technology, the first publisher-developed and sanctioned RMT marketplace, into its own e-commerce platform. The Live Gamer Exchange is currently operating within EverQuest® II, SOE's popular MMORPG (www.livegamer.com)
The next genre of SOE MMOGs to incorporate the Live Gamer Exchange will include:
* The Agency, a fast-paced online action shooter, will let players experience the life of an elite espionage agent with a "you are what you wear" level of customization. As they travel to exotic locales, infiltrate enemy organizations, and seek global domination for their own agency, gamers will be able to customize their characters through attire, weaponry, gadgets, vehicles, gear and aliases that tailor their game play.
* Free Realms, a whimsical fantasy adventure game targeted toward families, will be free to play and offer a catalog of items made by and for players to customize their avatars as much as they wish. The Live Gamer Exchange will provide a new and efficient mechanism for trading these items within the game.
Said John Smedley, president of Sony Online Entertainment, "We are actively exploring free-to-play and other revenue models, and always looking for new ways to engage and entertain gamers. Live Gamer is a proven partner that protects and supports our gamers who participate in RMT. We trust them to handle this area of the business for us so that we can focus on creating and growing our games."
"SOE pioneered the MMO genre and continues to evolve it by offering new game play experiences, revenue models and expanded demographic appeal. Live Gamer is proud to be a key part of the movement toward transaction-based game play," said Live Gamer co-founder and president, Andrew Schneider. "We're now building on the launch of the Live Gamer Exchange with EverQuest II, and expanding our relationship with SOE to power additional games including these two titles for which the idea of RMT has been built in from the very early stages of design."