Sony Chasing Virtual Profits With Free MMORPG

Recently, while discussing Google’s latest moves into the realms of free wireless internet service, I mentioned that I expected the “free” business model would increasingly become the norm. After all, Google has shown that seemingly insignificant ads can bring in a ton of revenue. And only yesterday I posted that the virtual world There has also made their basic account free of charge (similar to Second Life, Project Entropia, and others). And now it appears Sony is joining the freedom movement.

Blue’s News has posted notice that Sony intends to release a free MMORPG next Fall. From the Dow Jones Newswire story to which they link:

Sony Online Entertainment, a division of consumer electronics giant Sony Corp., expects to more than make up for the lost subscription revenue by selling optional add-ons, such as extra weapons or game levels.

Earlier this year, Sony Online introduced a Web site, called Station Exchange, where players of some of its games can auction off characters or game items to other players for real money.

The move was designed to give Sony Online a cut of an activity already happening on unauthorized sites.

Smedley said Thursday that Station Exchange is paying off.

“It’s a real business,” he said. “It has a very meaningful revenue stream, and it’s growing.”

Do I even need to link back to posts where I’ve discussed how big the virtual market is going to become?