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.
"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.