Square Enix to Publish Sony Online Entertainment's EVERQUEST® II in Japan

- The Next Generation of PC Massively Multiplayer Gaming Coming to Japan -


Square Enix Co., Ltd. (Square Enix), an industry-leading developer and publisher of interactive entertainment content including the world's most popular franchises FINAL FANTASY® and DRAGON QUEST, and Sony Online Entertainment Inc. (SOE), a worldwide leader in massively multiplayer online (MMO) gaming, today announced that Square Enix will be publishing SOE's EVERQUEST® II in Japan in early 2005. Square Enix and SOE will be working together to "culturalize" EVERQUEST II for the Japanese market, and Square Enix will handle distribution, marketing, customer service and hosting of the game.

"Sony Online Entertainment has been a great partner for FINAL FANTASY XI in the U.S. market, and we are excited to work with them again in offering EVERQUEST II to gamers in Japan," said Yoichi Wada, president, Square Enix. "By combining our sophisticated community management skills with SOE's great content, we believe EVERQUEST II will have a tremendous impact on the online gaming community."

"We're very pleased to be working with Square Enix on EVERQUEST II," said John Smedley, president, Sony Online Entertainment. "Square Enix is known around the globe for the quality of titles that the company publishes, and we're honored that they feel that EVERQUEST II lives up to the standards of their games."

Both companies will be working together to "culturalize" EVERQUEST II in order to maximize the game's appeal for the growing MMO player base in Japan. This is the first third-party title that Square Enix will publish and operate in Japan.

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 Square Enix

With its headquarters located in Tokyo, Japan, Square Enix Co., Ltd. (Square Enix) develops, publishes and distributes entertainment content including interactive entertainment software and publications in Japan, North America, Europe and Asia. Square Enix brings two of Japan's best-selling franchises -- FINAL FANTASY®, which has sold over 60 million units worldwide and DRAGON QUEST (DRAGON WARRIOR® in North America), which has sold over 35 million units worldwide -- under one roof. Square Enix is one of the most influential providers of digital entertainment content in the world and continues to push the boundaries of creativity and innovation.

About EverQuest

Developed and published by Sony Online Entertainment Inc. (SOE), EverQuest launched in 1999 and has since become both a gaming and cultural phenomenon. The game has sold more than 2 million copies while continuing to grow with award-winning expansions The Ruins of Kunark®, The Scars of Velious®, The Shadows of Luclin™, The Planes of Power™, The Legacy of Ykesha™, Lost Dungeons of Norrath™ and Gates of Discord™, making it the largest online 3D fantasy world ever created. During peak periods, more than 118,000 simultaneous adventurers have explored the fully detailed world of Norrath, filled with monsters, magic, adventure and more. Sony Online is committed to bringing EverQuest to various entertainment platforms, releasing titles such as EverQuest Online Adventures for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, EverQuest for the Pocket PC and EverQuest: Hero's Call for wireless phones. In 2004, SOE plans to launch the highly-anticipated EverQuest II on PCs around the globe.

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. FINAL FANTASY and DRAGON QUEST are registered trademarks of Square Enix Co., Ltd. SQUARE ENIX, the SQUARE ENIX logo, are trademarks of Square Enix Co., Ltd. All other trademarks and trade names are properties of their respective owners.

SOURCE: Sony Online Entertainment Inc.; Square Enix Co., Ltd.

CONTACT: Chris Kramer of Sony Online Entertainment, +1-858-577-3481,
ckramer@soe.sony.com; or Kyoko Yamashita of Square Enix U.S.A., Inc.,
+1-310-846-0400, ext. 354, kyoko@square-enix-usa.com