Sony Online Entertainment Day Interview: 10 Years of EverQuest

EverQuest

Today marks the 10-year anniversary of pioneering massively multiplayer online rpg, EverQuest. As such, TGR took the opportunity to speak with a Sony Online Entertainment spokesperson about the company, its very special way of celebrating the occasion, and plans for upcoming events in both the real and virtual worlds.

The City of San Diego is naming a day in honor of SOE. That’s quite an honor, and not something you hear about very often.

Yes, March 16th will be officially known as “Sony Online Entertainment Day” in the City of San Diego! We are extremely proud that the city and our district Councilmember, Carl DeMaio, chose to recognize SOE on the 10th anniversary of the launch of our flagship franchise game, EverQuest.

How did this come about? I’m sure people are curious as to why exactly a city might name a day in a company’s honor.

Founded in 1998, San Diego will always be home for SOE and as such, SOE has always made it a priority to support the local community, whether it be through charitable work, donation or volunteer hours. In turn, the City has recognized not only our contribution to the local community and economy, but also our pioneering contribution to the interactive entertainment industry as a whole.  

That’s really great. Are there any favorite charities you deal with, or do you sort of spread the love as best you can?

Sony Online Entertainment and its employees donate thousands of dollars and volunteer considerable man-hours annually to support the San Diego community in efforts such as the Red Cross Blood DriveJuvenile Diabetes Research FoundationToys for Tots, U.S. Wounded Soldiers Foundation and numerous holiday food and toy drives. 

And on top of that, the company has shown stability in doing business, providing jobs to area residents, and generally stimulating the economy. 

SOE currently employs over 600 San Diegans, and with additional development studios and employees in Austin, TX, Seattle, WA, Denver, CO, Tucson, AZ and Taiwan, SOE has an array of cutting-edge games in development.  

SOE’s been headquartered here in San Diego for how long now?

Originally, SOE was a part of Sony’s 989 Studios, which is where development of EverQuest began in 1996. SOE was formed in April of 1998. 

When SOE orignially took shape, was it primarily around the new beast that was EverQuest? Were there other projects at the time? 

Tanarus and Infantry were in development along with EQ, Tanarus launched in 1997 and Infantry came out in October 1999.  During EQ’s initial development at 989 Studios, they were also publishing other console games as well.

EverQuest just sort of overshadowed them, I guess, which brings us back to its 10th anniversary and SOE Day. So what exactly does it entail? Is the company planning some sort of celebration? Is the city doing anything special? What will make SOE Day SOE Day, aside from the declaration?

San Diego City Council gave the proclamation that officiates and celebrates March 16th as “Sony Online Entertainment Day” throughout the City of San Diego. This is the first official day in the City of San Diego named for a local video game company and one that also celebrates a huge milestone for SOE — the 10-year anniversary of the launch of our blockbuster franchise online video game, EverQuest, which has been played by millions of people worldwide. Sony President John Smedley accepted the proclamation and gave a short address to attendees on behalf of the company. SOE employees, fans, and community were in attendance at the City Council meeting to show their support for SOE and EverQuest

"Sony Online Entertainment" Day

Presented by Councilmember Carl DeMaio

WHEREAS, SONY ONLINE ENTERTAINMENT, founded in April 1998, and with a current employment of over 600 San Diegans; and 

WHEREAS, SONY ONLINE ENTERTAINMENT is a recognized industry leader dedicated to creating, developing and providing compelling entertainment for the personal computer, online, game console and wireless markets; and

WHEREAS, SONY ONLINE ENTERTAINMENT continues to strive for excellence in its products by using cutting-edge technology, innovation and delivery while continuing to redefine the business of online gaming and the creation of active player communities; and

WHEREAS, SONY ONLINE ENTERTAINMENT has served more than twelve million customer accounts and published more than 60 titles, including its groundbreaking franchise game, EverQuest®, which on March 16, 2009, is celebrating its 10th anniversary; and

WHEREAS, SONY ONLINE ENTERTAINMENT has made it a priority to perform charitable work in the local San Diego community. Sony Online Entertainment and its employees donate thousands of dollars and volunteer considerable man hours annually to support the San Diego community in efforts such as the Red Cross Blood Drive, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Toys for Tots, U.S. Wounded Soldiers Foundation and numerous holiday food and toy drives; and

WHEREAS, SONY ONLINE ENTERTAINMENT provides amazing entertainment to video game players around the world while staying committed to a vibrant, prosperous San Diego for its employees and their families.

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF SAN DIEGO that this council, for and on behalf of the citizens of San Diego, does hereby recognize Sony Online Entertainment for its commitment to economic growth and community service.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that March 16, 2009, is hereby proclaimed to be "Sony Online Entertainment" Day in the City of San Diego.

The proclamation. 

SOE Day proclamation, San Diego

But, March 16th is just the beginning, we actually have a number of exciting initiatives planned for the coming year. Along with in-game events, veteran rewards, and community contests, we will be hosting a huge birthday party at our annual Fan Faire to celebrate with our community and fans — the people that made this milestone possible! We also plan to release a 10th anniversary commemorative coffee table art book and a documentary that takes a nostalgic look back at the past tens years of EQ development and the people behind the game. 

So when and where can fans attend the Fan Faire? And can you give any information about specific, upcoming, in-game events that the gaming community should mark their calendars for? 

The Fan Faire will be held June 25-28 at the Bally’s Hotel in Las Vegas. For other community events, here’s some information:  

EQ In-Game Events

Party all the time! In celebration of the anniversary, we are proud to bring you fresh EQ content for the next few months! Solo, group or raid, there’s content for everyone to enjoy! Earn great quest rewards, and show off your raiding skills on the Anniversary leaderboards. Log in now to receive your piece of cake and see what other fun events are planned. For more information on specific events, visit www.EQ10th.com

Calendar of Events:

  • 03.16.09 – I.R.A. 1 launch 
  • 03.16.09 – The God Connection event 
  • 03.16.09 – PoP Group Fabled events launch 
  • 03.16.09 – It’s a party! Dance along to the EQ Anniversary video here 
  • 03.16.09 – LoN – It’s Oathbound Day! 
  • 03.17.09 – Live Chat with the people who bring EQ to you every day. 
  • 03.17.09 – LoN – It’s Forsworn Day! 
  • 03.18.09 – LoN – It’s Inquisitor Day! 
  • 03.19.09 – LoN – It’s Oathbreaker Day! 
  • 03.20.09 – LoN – It’s Ethernauts Day! 
  • 03.18.09 – Find out what kind of server you’ve chosen for the Anniversary! 
  • 03.23.09 – Sand Golem Launch (I.R.A. ends) 
  • 03.30.09 – I.R.A. 2 launch (Sand Golem ends) 
  • 04.06.09 –DPS launch (I.R.A. 2 ends) 
  • 04.13.09 – Dragons, Dragons, Dragons Event Launches (DPS ends) 
  • 04.27.09 – All raids re-launch (Dragons continue) 
  • 04.27.09 – Cazic Thule+ Blackburrow Group events launch 
  • 05.11.09 – Unrest + Guk group events launch  

*Please note: Dates are subject to change. To find out more information about all our events, check out the EQ 10th Anniversary events page: www.eq10th.com 

Legends of Norrath™ In-Game Events

Starting Monday, March 16, log in to Legends of Norrath (LoN) to check out their Anniversary Celebration Event! On each day of the Anniversary week, one of two loot cards (one for EverQuest players and one for EverQuest II players, depending upon your preference) from that day’s release will be given out free to all EQ and EQII players who log in to LoN.  There will also be five daily events that honor the first five LoN releases:

  • Monday, March 16 is Oathbound Day.
  • Tuesday, March 17 is Forsworn Day.
  • Wednesday, March 18 is Inquisitor Day.
  • Thursday, March 19 is Oathbreaker Day.
  • Friday, March 20 is Ethernauts Day.

For more information on specific events, visit www.legendsofnorrath.com.

Awesome! I’m sure this whole thing has people here feeling pretty good about what they do, huh? Are spirits high around the offices?

EverQuest pioneered the 3D massively multiplayer online genre and has since proved to be a monumental entertainment property, spawning 15 expansion packs, multi-platform game properties and introducing millions of players to the virtual world of Norrath. We are very excited to celebrate this anniversary with the City of San Diego, all of our employees and a dedicated community of players worldwide.

Thanks! Have a great day… and a great SOE Day!

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