MS Developing Online Game with Marvel
In hopes of drawing more gamers to its new Xbox 360 platform, Microsoft on Thursday announced it had obtained the exclusive rights to produce massively multiplayer online games (or MMOGs) featuring the Marvel characters. But fans will have to wait; the first game isn't expected until 2008.
The deal is the first for Marvel on a MMOG, and the first for a Microsoft console. Microsoft already had struck some deals with companies for games on the PC side. The Xbox 360 is expected to be launched in November.
MMOGs appeal to gamers because they allow players in different locations to compete. Unlike the original multiplayer games where the players had to be directly connected to each other, MMOGs allow the gamer to connect to a central location and involve hundreds if not thousands of users at the same time.
Recent estimates placed the number of MMOG players at approximately two million, with a large portion of those players in Asia, where the games have become quite popular. Sony currently dominates the online gaming market with its popular Everquest games.
"Marvel has created some of the most iconic and exciting characters and stories in the past century. We're thrilled to bring this universe to interactive entertainment," said Peter Moore, corporate vice president of Worldwide Marketing and Publishing for Xbox at Microsoft.
Marvel believes that the partnership with Microsoft and the highly anticipated Xbox 360 will give it a "strong presence" in the world of online gaming.
"We are very excited to be working with Microsoft to bring our fans what we expect will be a world-class online gaming experience," Tim Rothwell, vice president at Marvel Enterprises said. "We also believe online gaming will provide valuable, global exposure to our character brands."
Microsoft promised more details of games based on the Marvel characters would be available in the coming months.