The MI6 conference is an annual gathering in San Francisco which focuses largely on marketing in the video game industry. One speaker at the April 8th conference was Laura Naviaux-Sturr from Sony Online Entertainment, who discussed the upcoming kid-friendly MMO Free Realms.
She addressed the challenges in shifting focus away from hardcore fantasy enthusiasts (largely male) to a younger demographic that includes more female gamers. Naviaux said, "Turning to a youth and female audience was like turning a ship." It required SOE to re-evaluate some of the 'myths' the company held, which was the focus of Naviaux's talk. She brought up several key areas that the company needed to address if Free Realms is to succeed, ranging from putting the backstory and creativity in the hands of the gamers rather than spelling it out for them, to the music in Free Realms, which is a departure from what SOE has done in the past. If you're curious about how SOE is approaching this new title, you should have a look at Chris Remo's article at Gamasutra titled "MI6: SOE's Naviaux on Dispelling Myths to Launch FreeRealms."%Gallery-12980%