Everquest® II Beta Testing Begins in June

- Beta Program Sign-ups Begin in May for the Next Generation of the Online Gaming Phenomenon -


Sony Online Entertainment Inc. (SOE), a worldwide leader in massively multiplayer online (MMO) gaming, today announced that Beta sign-ups for EverQuest® II will begin in May and the Beta testing program itself will begin in June. EverQuest II will be available at retail in North America after the Beta program is complete later in the year.

"We've been playing EverQuest II internally for months and we're finally ready to begin letting people in to see the world we've built over the last four years," said John Smedley, president, Sony Online Entertainment. "Beta testing is incredibly important for a game like EverQuest II as it helps us both to identify technical issues and continue to polish the game before it goes live. This is one of the final steps in developing a game as huge and important as EverQuest II, and we're looking forward to seeing how players react to the game."

Dedicated, longtime subscribers to SOE's EverQuest Legends service will be the first allowed into Beta, followed by players that fulfilled the requirements of the Lords of EverQuest™ special offer. Additional Beta testers will be selected from applications received through the EverQuest II website. Gamers interested in signing up for the Beta are encouraged to visit http://www.everquest2.com/ beginning May 3, 2004 at 10:00 A.M. PDT, for information on how to apply for a Beta slot. SOE will notify qualified Beta applicants in stages over the coming months.

About EverQuest II

EverQuest II is the next generation of massively multiplayer gaming, a huge online world where thousands of players come together for adventure and community. Featuring breathtaking graphics and a vast, beautiful game world to explore, EverQuest II sets the standard for graphical realism as players are immersed in the game's exciting locales and dangerous lands. EverQuest II brings players into its world with a powerful epic storyline and gives them the power to be the hero or villain in their personal adventure. Players enter this world by creating their own unique character, choosing from 16 races and 24 classes. Players will encounter hundreds of creatures as they travel across majestic landscapes of rolling hills, barren deserts, dense forests, and bustling cities. Thousands of items, hundreds of spells, and unlimited adventure await all who enter the world of EverQuest II. EverQuest II also features:

  *  A new, massive online world for thousands of players to explore, filled
     with danger, adventure and mystery

  *  Voices for almost every non-player character (NPC) in the game, a huge
     project encompassing nearly 100,000 lines and 130 hours of dialog (the
     equivalent of more than 65 feature films worth of content)

  *  A state-of-the-art, cinematic quality 3D graphics engine capable of
     improving as hardware technology advances

  *  Amazing character customization capabilities.  In addition to thousands
     of pieces of armor, weapons and items, players will be able to
     customize their character's facial appearance to an incredible level of
     detail and personalization

  *  16 races, 50 levels and 24 classes with a branching system that allows
     players to choose their class as they advance

  *  No race/class combination limitations, allowing players to truly choose
     who they want to be in game

  *  Player-owned real estate (such as apartments, homes, and guild houses)

  *  State-of-the art combat, spell and skill systems

  *  New user friendly game mechanics with reduced learning curve for both
     new and seasoned players

  *  Trade skills available to all player classes

  *  More than 160 unique creature types, from Orcs and Goblins to huge
     dragons and menacing Living Statues

  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 750,000 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® and PlanetSide®, as well as for developing Star Wars Galaxies™: An Empire Divided™, 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 an additional development studio in Austin, TX, SOE has an array of cutting-edge online games in development.

EverQuest is a registered trademark of Sony Computer Entertainment America 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 Inc.

CONTACT: Sean Kauppinen, +1-858-577-3387, skauppinen@soe.sony.com, or
Chris Kramer, +1-858-577-3481, ckramer@soe.sony.com, both of Sony Online

Web site: http://www.station.com/