In a panel at Comic-Con in San Diego earlier this week, Sony Online president John Smedley announced that Free Realms was now "close" to the 5 million registered users mark, according to Gamasutra. Perhaps even more interesting are some of that facts and speculations found in the article, specifically regarding the micro-transaction business model and the future of MMO gaming.
According to Gamasutra, "DFC analyst George Chronis estimated that right now, 33 percent of United States game revenue comes from MMOs." That's a pretty substantial share of the market; one which might see even more growth as the micro-transaction and free-to-play business models mature.
"Smedley credited the success to the free-to-play business model, which relies on microtransactions [sic] for revenue," according to the article. Check out the full story, which goes on to analyze the potential of these burgeoning business models, and speculates what the MMO landscape might look like a few years from now.