The NDA on SOE's upcoming game, Free Realms, came down yesterday, and various commentary ensued. (See Tipa, Syp, Stargrace, and Cuppy for their thoughts, and links to even more commentary from people who have actually played the beta.)
Though it's easy as always to get caught up in the shiny new game hype, there are remarkably few naysayers, and most of them are focused on the transaction-based business model. In fairness, this is an area of concern, given recent SOE behavior in EQ2 and Vanguard. Then again, deciding whether it's worth paying to play the game is only necessary if the game is worth playing in the first place, so that's a comparatively good problem for the game to have.
As always, I'll believe the hype when I get to play it for myself. Judging from the reviews, this thing is pretty close to ready for prime time, so that may be sooner, rather than later. It would be nice if this game succeeded - we could use some more high quality hit games in the marketplace. If the worst strike the game has against it is the business model, it could be a pretty big hit. Even an aggressive transaction sales model might still be a better deal for infrequent players like bloggers' spouses (many of us have observed interest) or more serious players who want the occasional change of pace from their primary game of choice.