Sony Online Entertainment Announces Official Online Game Auction Site

- Station Exchange(TM) Allows Players to Buy and Sell the Rights to Use

Characters, Items and Coin for Real World Money -



Apr 20, 2005, 01:00 ET from Sony Online Entertainment

    SAN DIEGO, April 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Sony Online Entertainment Inc. (SOE),
 a worldwide leader in massively multiplayer online (MMO) gaming, today
 announced plans for Station Exchange(TM), 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(R), EverQuest(R) II and PlanetSide(R), as
 well as for developing Star Wars Galaxies(TM): An Empire Divided(TM), 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.
 
 

SOURCE Sony Online Entertainment
    SAN DIEGO, April 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Sony Online Entertainment Inc. (SOE),
 a worldwide leader in massively multiplayer online (MMO) gaming, today
 announced plans for Station Exchange(TM), 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(R), EverQuest(R) II and PlanetSide(R), as
 well as for developing Star Wars Galaxies(TM): An Empire Divided(TM), 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.
 
 SOURCE  Sony Online Entertainment