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SOE reveals free-to-play Star Wars MMO

Kids' virtual world to be driven by micropayments and premium subs

Sony Online Entertainment has unveiled Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures, a free-to-play online world aimed at younger players.

The business model will involve paid-for in-game items and an optional subscription for extra content. Capitalising on the perennially enormous Star Wars IP, currently in rude health thanks to the Clone Wars TV show and toyline, the virtual world is a joint venture with LucasArts.

"We have a long running and extremely successful partnership with Sony Online Entertainment and look forward to working together on our next project, Clone Wars Adventures," said Mary Bihr, global VP of publishing for LucasArts.

"Working hand in hand with Lucasfilm, LucasArts and Sony Online Entertainment ensures that Clone Wars Adventures will be the most authentic and accessible Clone Wars experience for kids and families to play in their very own living room."

The game itself will focus on socialising and mini-games, with players able to customise their character with costumes, items and accessories, bought with SOE's Station Cash virtual currency. Additionally, "players who want to take the galactic action to the next level can purchase a monthly membership," according to SOE.

Sony has previously achieved great success in the F2P market with last year's Free Realms. In April, it was announced that the game now has 10 million registered players - though SOE has yet to reveal how many of these are active or have paid for items.

The popularity of the license will doubtless attract many adult players too, though Bioware and EA's upcoming Star Wars: The Old Republic is aimed more directly at an older MMO audience. EA has referred to SWTOR as being its largest-ever development project.

Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures is due for release online and at retail this Autumn.

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Alec Meer

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A 10-year veteran of scribbling about video games, Alec primarily writes for Rock, Paper, Shotgun, but given any opportunity he will escape his keyboard and mouse ghetto to write about any and all formats.

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