FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SAN DIEGO, CA - April 20, 2005 - Sony Online Entertainment Inc. (SOE), a worldwide leader in massively multiplayer online (MMO) gaming, today announced plans for Station ExchangeTM, the official auction site for SOE games. Station Exchange, scheduled for launch in late June, will be the official, secure way for EverQuest II subscribers to buy and sell the rights to use characters, items and coin in a player-to-player auction setting.
"The unsanctioned secondary market for online games is rapidly growing and more and more of our players are taking part in it," said John Smedley. "Not only are we answering the demands of a sizable portion of our subscriber base, but we are also set on establishing the standard for online game sales. SOE is in a unique position to help guide the industry, just as we have since we first opened the world of EverQuest to the public six years ago."
Leading industry analyst group DFC Intelligence estimates that the online game industry in 2003 was $1.9 billion. By 2006, they predict revenue growing to $5.2 billion with continued steady growth, with worldwide online game revenue reaching $9.8 billion by 2009. As this business has grown, so too has the "secondary" market, which is based around the unsupported buying and selling of in-game characters, items and coins. Unofficial estimates of underground "secondary" market trade volume range from $100 - $800 million a year, with titles such as SOE's EverQuest and EverQuest II making up 20% of those sales.
The difference between Station Exchange and other third party, non-sanctioned sites can be summed up in one word: security. When a player decides to auction the use of an item or character, that item is removed from the game world and is moved to a secure Station Exchange server. Interested buyers will be able to browse through all auctions, and will have the comfort of seeing exactly what they are bidding on and knowing that once an auction is complete, the item or character will be placed in their account. Since all transactions happen through Station Exchange servers run by SOE, fraud will be virtually eliminated and the transfer becomes an automatic process. All activities on Station Exchange will be player-to-player on servers designated "Exchange Enabled"; Sony Online Entertainment itself will not sell items, characters or coin.
For more information, visit http//www.stationexchange.com.
About Sony Online Entertainment
Sony Online Entertainment Inc. (SOE), a subsidiary of Sony Pictures Digital Inc., is a recognized worldwide leader in massively multiplayer online games, with a subscriber base of over 800,000 active accounts around the globe. SOE creates, develops and provides compelling entertainment for the personal computer, online, game console and wireless markets. Known for its blockbuster franchises, EverQuest®, EverQuest® II and PlanetSide®, as well as for developing Star Wars GalaxiesTM: An Empire DividedTM, SOE continues to redefine the business of online gaming and the creation of active player communities while introducing new genres on various entertainment platforms. Headquartered in San Diego, CA, with additional development studios in Austin, TX, and Seattle, WA, SOE has an array of cutting-edge online games in development.
EverQuest is a registered trademark of Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc. Station Exchange is a trademark of Sony Online Entertainment Inc. SOE, the SOE logo and PlanetSide are registered trademarks of Sony Online Entertainment Inc. All other trademarks and trade names are properties of their respective owners.
Chris Kramer, Corporate Comm. Dir.
Sony Online Entertainment
April M. Jones, Sr. PR Manager
Sony Online Entertainment