Sony Online Entertainment

Sony Online Entertainment

Infobox Company
company_name = Sony Online Entertainment LLC.
company_type = Subsidiary of Sony
foundation = Summer 1995
location = flagicon|US San Diego, California
parent = SCEA
homepage = []
footnotes =

Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) is a game development and game publishing division of Sony that is best known for creating massively multiplayer online games, including "EverQuest", "EverQuest II", "PlanetSide", "Star Wars Galaxies" and "".

In 2008 Sony Online Entertainment’s game Everquest was honored (along with Neverwinter Nights and World of Warcraft) at the 59th Annual Technology & Engineering Emmy Awards for advancing the art form of MMORPG games.


Sony Online Entertainment and Verant's history can be seen as starting with Sony Interactive Studios America (SISA), an internal game development studio of Sony that formed around 1995. In 1996, John Smedley (known to the gaming community as "Smed") was put in charge of SISA's development of an online computer role-playing game, or MMORPG that would evolve into "EverQuest". Smed hired programmers Brad McQuaid and Steve Clover who had come to Smedley's attention through their work on the singleplayer RPG "Warwizard".

In April 1998, Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) was formed by merging parts of "Sony Online Ventures" with "Sony Pictures Entertainment"'. Within a matter of months after this change, "Sony Interactive Studios America" was renamed 989 Studios.

Towards the end of 1998, 989 Studios shifted its strategy to making PlayStation console games only. The company's computer game/online development branch spun off, initially calling itself RedEye Interactive and then soon after Verant Interactive.

"EverQuest" launched with modest expectations from Sony on March 16, 1999 under its Verant Interactive brand and quickly became successful. Numbers continued rising at a steady rate until mid-2001 when growth slowed. As of 2004, Sony reported subscription numbers close to 450,000.

In April 2000, Verant hired former "Ultima Online" developers Raph Koster and Rich Vogel forming its office in Austin, Texas to develop "Star Wars Galaxies" for LucasArts. SOE acquired Verant in June 2000 and eventually promoted Brad McQuaid to be its Chief Creative Officer. [cite web |url=|title= Sony Acquires Verant|accessdate=2007-05-12 |author= Parker, Sam|date= 2000-06-01|year= 2000|month= June] ' (March 2000) was the first in a long list of expansions for its hit MMORPG. In October 2001, McQuaid resigned and went on to found Sigil Games Online, drawing many of the original developers of "EverQuest" from SOE to develop their ' MMORPG, released January 2007.

Developed by Sony Online Entertainment, LucasArts released "Star Wars Galaxies" in 2003, which saw rapid growth as expected. Bruce Woodcock estimates that "SWG" reached nearly 300,000 subscribers within the year before trailing off. LucasArts has released three expansions for "Star Wars Galaxies", "Jump to Lightspeed" October 2004, "Rage of the Wookies" May 2005 and "Trials Of Obi-Wan" November 2005.

In 2003, the company also explored relatively untouched MMO territory with the MMOFPS "PlanetSide" and the PlayStation 2 MMORPG "EverQuest Online Adventures". "PlanetSide" enjoyed a reasonably successful launch, however the product never attracted wide popularity. SOE has released two expansions for "PlanetSide", one a retail product called "Core Combat", and a second free expansion titled "Aftershock". "PlanetSide" can be played for free under a "Reserves" program, that limits character advancement, but otherwise grants full access to the game. EverQuest Online Adventures was not as successful but spawned an expansion "EverQuest Online Adventures Frontiers", which is still maintained by SOE as of 2007.

In November 2005, SOE suffered a large subscriber loss, after pushing the launch of the New Game Enhancements to Star Wars Galaxies, changing many of the game's core mechanics. This caused an outrage from the playersWho|date=November 2007, many demanding their money back for the recent expansion that was released just days before the announcement of the changesFact|date=November 2007. The refund was eventually givenFact|date=November 2007.

The company continued the EverQuest universe through a sequel set hundreds of years after the original with the release of "EverQuest II" on November 9, 2004, which has seen similar success to the original phenomenon.Fact|date=May 2007 SOE has released several adventure packs and expansion packs for EverQuest II, including "The Bloodline Chronicles" March 2005, "The Splitpaw Saga" June 2005, "Desert of Flames" September 2005, "Kingdom of Sky" February 2006, "The Fallen Dynasty" June 2006, "Echoes of Faydwer" November 2006 and "Rise of Kunark" November 2007.

Through 2007, the company experienced many technical support issues causing a decrease in the number of players using their services.Dubious|date=March 2008

Recent History

Currently, John Smedley is the CEO of Sony Online Entertainment. SOE is headquartered in San Diego, California, with additional game development studios located in Austin, Texas, Denver, Colorado and Seattle, Washington.

In January 2005, Sony Online Entertainment announced the creation of Station Publishing, a new label for distributing titles made by external developers. The first products expected from Station Publishing are Turbine's ' and ' expansions.

SOE has produced numerous "EverQuest" expansions and spin-off video games, including "Champions of Norrath" (for PlayStation 2) and "Lords of EverQuest" (Windows). They published the sequel to "Champions of Norrath", called "", in February 2005.

In August 2005 SOE entered a deal with Warner Bros. Entertainment which saw the acquisition and transition of "The Matrix Online" to the existing line up of Station games.

In April 2006, Sony Online Entertainment, Inc. became Sony Online Entertainment LLC, owned by Sony Pictures Digital and Sony Computer Entertainment America.

In May 2006, it was announced that SOE would be co-publisher of "". However, Sigil retains full development rights, and SOE's role is only that of marketing, distribution, technical support and hosting the game servers. SOE also announced the release of "Field Commander", its third game for the PlayStation Portable System.

In August 2006, SOE announced the acquisition of developer Worlds Apart Productions, renaming the studio SOE-Denver. The studio has since released an online version of the "Wizkids" Pirates Constructible Strategy Game.

In November 2006, SOE released its first PlayStation 3 title, "", within the launch window of the PlayStation 3 system, which was released in North America on November 17 2006. SOE also released "Pirates Online Constructible Strategy Game", which is the online version of the "Wizkids" Pirates Constructible Strategy Game.

In January 2007, SOE announced that it has licensed rights from Midway Home Entertainment to develop and release six classic Midway games for PlayStation 3 Digital Download, including "Mortal Kombat II", "Gauntlet II", "Joust", "Rampage World Tour", "Rampart", and "Championship Sprint", which will be available from the PlayStation store. The announcement came shortly after SOE released its second PlayStation 3 digital download "GripShift".

On January 30, 2007, Sony Online Entertainment and Sigil Games Online launched "

On May 15, 2007, Sony Online Entertainment announced that they had completed a transaction to purchase key assets from Sigil Games Online, including "" (described as Sigil's "tentpole property").

On April 9, 2007, Sony Online Entertainment [ announced] a partnership with Virgin Comics to create a MMO based on the popular Indian-Mythology inspired Ramayan 3392 A.D. graphical novel.

On June 11, 2007, Sony Online Entertainment announced that The Agency (video game) was currently under development.

On March 13, 2008, Sony Online Entertainment announced that Sony Computer Entertainment will have direct control over SOE.


*"The Agency" — PC, PlayStation 3 (TBA 2009)
*"Cash Guns Chaos" — PlayStation Network (December 2007)
*"Champions of Norrath" — PlayStation 2 (February 2004)
*"" — PlayStation 2 (February 2005)
*"Cosmic Rift" — PC (April 2001)
*"DC Universe Online" — PC, PlayStation 3 (TBA 2009)
*"EverQuest" — PC (March 1999)
**"The Ruins of Kunark" (March 2000)
**"The Scars of Velious" (December 2000)
**"The Shadows of Luclin" (December 2001)
**"The Planes of Power" (October 2002)
**"The Legacy of Ykesha" (February 2003)
**"Lost Dungeons of Norrath" (September 2003)
**"Gates of Discord" (February 2004)
**"Omens of War" (September 2004)
**"Dragons of Norrath" (February 2005)
**"Depths of Darkhollow" (September 2005)
**"Prophecy of Ro" (February 2006)
**"The Serpent's Spine" (September 2006)
**"The Buried Sea" (February 2007)
**"Secrets of Faydwer" (November 2007)
**"Seeds of Destruction" (October 2008)
*"EverQuest Online Adventures" — PlayStation 2 (February 2003)
**"" — PlayStation 2 (November 2003)
*"EverQuest II" — PC (November 2004)
**"" (March 2005)
**"" (June 2005)
**"" (September 2005)
**"" (February 2006)
**"" (June 2006)
**"" (November 2006)
**"" (November 2007)
**"" (November 2008)
*"Field Commander" — PSP (May 2006)
*"Free Realms" — PC, PlayStation 3 (TBA 2009)
*"Infantry (computer game)" — PC (October 1999)
*"Lords of EverQuest" — PC (December 2003 - Developed by Rapid Eye Entertainment)
*"Pirates of the Burning Sea" — PC (January 2008)
*"PlanetSide" — PC (May 2003)
**"Core Combat" (October 2003)
**"Aftershock" (October 2004)
*"Ramayan 3392 A.D." — PC (TBA 2008)
*"Star Wars Galaxies" — PC (June 2003 - Published by LucasArts)
**"Jump to Lightspeed" — PC (October 2004)
**"Rage of the Wookiees" — PC (May 2005)
**"Trials of Obi-Wan" — PC (November 2005)
*"Tanarus" — PC (November 1997)
*"The Matrix Online" — PC (Assumed operation as of August 2005)
*"" — PSP (March 2005)
*"" — PlayStation 3 (November 2006)
*"" — PSP (March 2005)
*"" — PC (January 2007 - Co-Published with Sigil Games)
*"Wheel Of Fortune 2" — PC (March 2007)

SOE's is a portal to its PC, console, casual and mobile games. Players can access and download games such as "EverQuest", "EverQuest II", "Star Wars Galaxies", "The Matrix Online" and "PlanetSide". also provides sneak previews to new games for Sony PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3 and PSP, including "Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom [ [ Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom] ] " November 2006. In August 2006, added several games by Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment.


External links

* [ Sony Online Entertainment's]
* [ Sony Online Entertainment's press center]
* [ Forums]
* [ Sony Online Entertainment's podcast feed]

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