John Smedley on PlanetSide 2 success, Facebook failure

SOE head says shooter is company's highest-grossing title, social network titles "not the kind of games I want to play or make"

PlanetSide 2 officially launched last month, and is well on its way to being Sony Online Entertainment's best performing microtransaction-driven game of all time. Speaking with GamesIndustry International, SOE president John Smedley said there was some trepidation about launching the free-to-play online shooter the week after Call of Duty: Black Ops II, but early results have been reassuring, to say the least.

"I can't give away revenue numbers, but it is doing an order of magnitude greater revenue daily than any of our other titles," Smedley said. "It is really doing very well."

PlanetSide 2 isn't the company's highest grossing microtransaction title of all time just yet, but according to Smedley, "that's going to come very fast. It is going quickly."

Smedley also talked about one of the publisher's earlier free-to-play excursions, a series of Facebook games including Dungeon Overlord and a social network-enabled version of PoxNora. The company no longer runs games through Facebook, and it doesn't look like it will be returning to the platform anytime soon.


PlanetSide 2 launched last month.

"We discovered that we really weren't interested in doing that as a company, and as a result, the games just didn't come out to the quality level that we were happy with," Smedley explained. "So we decided that we didn't want to be in that space. I gotta tell you, I'm not a fan of the Facebook game. To me, they're monetization vehicles and not the kind of games I want to play or make. That's just me personally. So we'll stick to what we do best."

Looking ahead to new platforms, Smedley said he expects the next generation of consoles to be significantly better for free-to-play games.

"To me, they're monetization vehicles and not the kind of games I want to play or make."

John Smedley, on Facebook games

"It's really, really hard to make [MMOs] on this generation of consoles," Smedley said. "It's hard to make an MMO, and it's doubly hard to make it on a console with the limited memory that you've got."

That said, Smedley said the console market has been lucrative for SOE. He noted that 70 percent of the DC Universe customer base play on the PlayStation 3.

"The console market is huge, and it's a big bet for us, and one we see as paying off in this generation, but in the next generation it's going to be even better," Smedley said.

More stories

John Smedley steps down as Daybreak CEO

Did the executive's ongoing tussle with hackers take its toll?

By Dan Pearson

PlanetSide 2 creative director resigns

Latest executive to depart after SOE becomes Daybreak

By Rachel Weber

Latest comments (6)

Robert Fuller Studying GSP, DeVry University9 years ago
Awesome game...My question is has SOE set it's self up for failure or an even larger success with the coming release of Dust. These two games have a lot to offer and are similar in genre. Will people looking to expand their Planet Side 2 empire look to Dust and it's EvE counter part for this?
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Tim Swan Founder, Evryway9 years ago
They've done a fantastic job of bringing Planetside up to date. It's a shame the game requires a beast of a machine to play, I'm sure that's restricting their audience. I've shelled out a few quid so far and will no doubt continue to play (and pay!) - and it's also certain that if it was a subscription only service I'd not have bothered upgrading my machine and getting my toes wet.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Sam Maxted Journalist / Community / Support 9 years ago
I really like Planetside 2 - as I did the original. I don't really agree with needing a 'beast' of a machine to play it (although I may be in the minority here), as my PC's a few years old and it runs just fine. Just don't expect to be playing it on the highest settings.

The real test will be whether people KEEP playing it, as this was the problem with the first game. It's also more problematic here than for other MMOs, as there are no NPCs to face off against in PS2.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Sam Maxted on 12th December 2012 8:11pm

0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Show all comments (6)
Samuel Whitehead Concept Artist & Illustrator, Firaxis Games9 years ago
Dust514 is proving to be quite a let down for people. From what I can tell Planetside 2 and Eve both have the same vision - Planetary and Space warfare on an MMO scale. They are approaching it from two different angles. SOE have mastered the land based element and CCP the Space element. I would argue that Planetside 2 has far more mass appeal than Eve itself, where Dust's beta seems to be lacking the same pinache, and probably won't penetrate the market anywhere near as successfully as PS2.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Joshua Rose Executive Producer / Lead Designer, Storm Eagle Studios9 years ago
PS2 is awesome!

I play it in between doing things in EVE because I can just jump in and out whenever I want. I run them both on the same computer at the same time, so I can't really weigh in on the game requiring a 'beast of a machine' to play.

However with it's massive number of ups, it does have it's downs. The biggest down for me is how many of the higher tier guns are nearly impossible to buy with the cert points (in game points earned through gaining XP over time). When a gun cost over 1000 cert points, and you can get maybe 50 a day in 3-4 hours play time (that's 50 cert points each costing 500xp a piece iirc), that takes a LONG time to add up. So it sort of leans towards the 'pay to win' stereotype. That's not to say I don't spend money on station cash, because lets face it, playing an infiltrator all the time, i've gotta have infinite camo swaps. In short, the ability to get higher tier weapons IS there, but you have to work a LOT to get to it. So you might as well suck it up and buy station cash =P

I have nothing against spending money on a F2P game if I enjoy it. That being said, PlanetSide 2 is the very first free to play game I've ever played where I've spent money to buy stuff in game. And I have no problem doing it again.

Mentioning Dust514 is a sore spot for me because I was really looking forward to it, but I wasn't going to buy a PS3 just to play one game. Had they planned on bringing it out on PC, I would have been all over it like white on rice. Based on the personal expectations I had with Dust514, It seems like Planetside2 will fill the role better than Dust514 will, and that's sad.

I hope Dust514 does well, because I would really hate for CCP lose money on it. Lost money on a game means job cuts, job cuts means less awesomeness in EVE, which would mean less fun. So the circle continues. Stupid circles and their stupid cyclic rotations.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
James Prendergast Process Specialist 9 years ago
"best performing microtransaction-driven game of all time."

I like that caveat. I do wonder what the revenue difference between this statement is and what the alternative, non-microtransaction-driven game is...

I downloaded the game but haven't had time to boot it up. Hopefully I'll get a chance over christmas. Loved the original Planetside and played it for many months... let's see how this one does.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply

Sign in to contribute

Need an account? Register now.