One month after it hit its 8 million user milestone
, Sony Online Entertainment's free-to-play family-friendly Free Realms
MMO has racked up another million, hitting 9 million registered players to date.
SOE president John Smedley says closely watching player suggestions and feedback plays a key role in nurturing Free Realms
' userbase. "We believe the persistent exercise of capturing in-game research inside Free Realms
has been a huge contributing factor as to why we've attracted over nine million players in less than a year," he says.
The company says its new features, regular themed in-game events and the marketing support it places behind the game also play a role in welcoming new players in.
Developed by SOE's San Diego headquarters, Free Realms launched April 28 of last year, giving it an average monthly registration rate of nearly 900,000. The game is free to download and play, with an optional paid subscription conferring various bonuses, as well as in-game microtransactions.
was nominated for this year's Best New Social/Online Game award at the Game Developers Choice Awards, to be held on March 11 during the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.