Sony Online Entertainment had a presence at the 2009 Consumer Electronics Show, and offered a hands-on demo of their much-vaunted title Free Realms. For those who haven't previously heard of this game -- and why it's already caught the attention of the gaming press -- it's a massively multiplayer online game geared towards younger players (E10+ ESRB rating) with parental controls providing another layer of security from evil netizens. Despite this target demographic, and perhaps because of the sweet simplicity of the game's concepts and unique art style shown off thus far, a fair number of adults are eager to play it as well.
Added to its appeal is that Free Realms will be playable on both PC and the PS3; it's one of the three upcoming PC/Console MMOs on the way from Sony -- along with The Agency and DC Universe Online. Free Realms will have most of the trappings of your standard fantasy MMO fare -- which might seem like the kiss of death coming from a company already offering multiple fantasy MMO titles -- but Free Realms will have its own unique twists that differentiate it from most other MMOs on the market. Free Realms is slated for release in Q2 2009, free of charge, and will be funded through microtransactions, purchasable extras, and in-game ads.
Matt Casamassina from IGN has written an excellent preview of Free Realms and nails down some details which were hazy until CES 2009. While the IGN Free Realms preview is short, it's simply packed with details about the game and worth checking out if Free Realms appeals to you.