Sony Online Entertainment president to discuss how Free Realms has widened the market

John Smedley to keynote GDC Austin

Sony Online’s John Smedley is to keynote GDC Austin 2009.

In a talk titled ‘From Dragons and Daggers to Kart Racing, Cooking and Concerts… It’s a Whole New MMO World’ (*gasp*), Smedley will talk about how the three million-strong Free Realms has used its Free-to-Play model to open new audiences to online MMOs.

Smedley will use ’empirical research’ and ‘hard-won insight’ to elaborate on the issues SOE faced when creating an MMO specifically for tweens and teenagers, and how to target mass-market success.

“There’s no better speaker than John Smedley to discuss redefining MMO gameplay and the expanding MMO audience,” says Izora de Lillard, event director at Think Services Game Group.

“The success of the Free Realms is a testament to the evolving nature of the connected gaming space and the growing player base that is drawn to this new iteration of the MMO. It isn’t just teens or parents playing games, it is teens and parents now playing together.”

GDC Austin takes place from September 15th to 18th at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, Texas. Early registration discounts are still available until August 13th – for more information, visit the official website.

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