World of Warcraft's 12 million players is impressive, SOE dares you to think bigger -- a lot bigger. John Smedley told GamesIndustry.biz that he sees Free Realms growing to up to 100 million players over time.
Before last week's PlayStation 3 launch, Free Realms boasted 17 million players, a number that is sure to increase now that the game is available on a console as well.
But 100 million? Smedley doesn't think that's so far-fetched: "[Seventeen million] is a phenomenal number, and we're very pleased with its success -- and it's really keeping going. I don't see this thing stopping until it hits 100 million. I think it could take five or six years -- that should give you some idea [of the time frame we're looking at]. But I don't see any reason why it can't go to 100 million, because there are so many kids out there."
Smedley also hopes that the PS3 won't be the only console to which Free Realms and other SOE titles migrate, citing the recently announced NGP as a potential candidate: "Sony's announced the NGP, and if that isn't a perfect machine for doing MMOs on, then I don't know what is. So it's too soon to tell for sure but I think you're going to start seeing free-to-play gaming on consoles as well."