PDA

View Full Version : Microsoft and Marvel team up


Lurker the Second
15-07-2005, 20:03:08
From today's NY Times:

Microsoft Joins Marvel in Online Game Deal

By SETH SCHIESEL
Published: July 15, 2005

Batman and Spider-Man have been rivals for decades. Now they will square off in the online gaming arena.

Expanding the video game wars to new fronts, Microsoft announced a deal with Marvel Enterprises yesterday to develop an advanced online game based on Marvel's well-known cast of comic book characters.

Tim Rothwell, president of Marvel's consumer media group, said his company and Microsoft hoped to release their new game in 2008.

The deal extends Microsoft's competition with Sony, its prime video game rival, into the lucrative market for what are known as massively multiplayer online games. Last month, Sony struck a deal to make such a game based on characters from Time Warner's DC Comics unit, Marvel's nemesis. (DC owns Batman while Marvel controls Spider-Man.)

While traditional online games often allow only a few dozen players to occupy the same digital environment, like a racetrack or combat zone, massively multiplayer games allow thousands of people to simultaneously explore continent-size virtual worlds.

Massively multiplayer online games, known as M.M.O.'s, first burst into popular consciousness with the emergence of EverQuest in 1999, but the blockbuster success of World of Warcraft, released by Vivendi Universal last fall, has awakened the entertainment industry to the genre's potent opportunities.

World of Warcraft now has more than two million subscribers, each paying around $15 a month. In addition, most of those users bought the initial software for about $50. Taking into account the game's release in China last month, World of Warcraft is poised to generate revenue of more than $500 million this year.

Those figures have set off waves in the media business. But until now, the industry's quandary has been that users of massively multiplayer games have generally required powerful home computers, which can cost $2,000 or more.

The inexpensive game consoles like the Microsoft Xbox and the Sony PlayStation 2 that dominate the gaming market generally have not had the technical ability to offer a compelling massively multiplayer experience. According to NPD Group, a market research firm, all of the nation's top 10-selling massively multiplayer games have been for PC's.

Now, Microsoft and Sony are each trying to bridge the gap between the pot of gold promised by a successful online game and the mass market that plays on consoles that plug into televisions.

Microsoft plans to release its new game console, the Xbox 360, later this year, and Sony plans to release its new PlayStation 3 in 2006. Each new console will be able to support advanced massively multiplayer games.

"These massively multiplayer worlds that go on 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, have clearly been a big driver of gaming's growth recently," Peter Moore, a marketing vice president in Microsoft's Xbox group, said in a telephone interview yesterday. "Now, the ability to access that kind of world from your couch, through a console and television, rather than hunched over at a PC, is a very engaging idea."

Beyond Spider-Man, the Marvel stable includes the Fantastic Four and the Hulk.

In the minds of comic book fans, the Marvel heroes have long competed with DC rivals, who in addition to Batman also include Superman and Wonder Woman.

While massively multiplayer gaming has risen in popularity in the United States, it has become by far the most important sector of the gaming market in major non-Japanese markets in Asia like China and South Korea, which are dominated by PC's. (The Japanese market has remained focused on consoles.)

Mr. Moore said that making a massively multiplayer game for the Xbox 360 was a major part of Microsoft's gaming strategy in Asia.

"Clearly North America and Europe will be very important," Mr. Moore said, "but Asia in the next generation will be a booming area for us and the ability to have an M.M.O. there will really be a vital part of taking advantage of that opportunity."

Venom
15-07-2005, 20:29:29
I shit on this thread and it's subject matter.

Shining1
16-07-2005, 00:11:24
Shining1 is terribly bored with Microsoft.
Shining1 is terribly bored with Microsoft.
Shining1 is terribly bored with Microsoft.
Shining1 is terribly bored with Microsoft.
Shining1 is terribly bored with Microsoft.
Shining1 is terribly bored with Microsoft.