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No marvel there will be no Marvel

February 12, 2008

In this blog entry there is an interview with Microsoft’s Shane Kim where he confirms that the Marvel Universe Online MMOG has been cancelled. With the rumors that have been circulating about the cancellation it is not really any surprising news.

It is interesting to read Kim’s comments regarding the cancellation though:

  • Kim never mentions Cryptic Studios. He talks about Microsoft and Marvel and that “both parties” came to an agreement. So where does Cryptic Studios fit in all of this? Have they just been hired by one of the two M’s as consultants? In the MUO trailer on Cryptic Studios web page Marvel, Microsoft and Cryptic seemed to be included as partners all three. So what happened here?
  • According to Kim there is only one successful subscription-based MMOG, based on Microsoft’s definition of success. That would be pretty certain that he is thinking of World of Warcraft and that success means a game that pulls in loads of money and/or is a game that many people will know about. He also indicates that a different business model than subscriptions would have been preferable.

I am certain that Microsoft’s main platform for the game would have been XBox 360. With the XBox Live service which in itself is a subscription-based service, would the game have been good enough to lure a significant amount of XBox players with another subscription fee? Perhaps not; certainly not at the numbers Microsoft would have liked for the game (millions no doubt).

I would not be surprised if M&M have looked at material available for The Agency and throught “we should have taken a similar approach”. Will Microsoft try again at some point? Traditionally Microsoft buys companies that make stuff that is better than what they do themselves and that fits in their portfolio. So will they buy an MMOG game studio at some point, or just stay out of the traditional MMOG market?

I think they might focus on more casual multiplayer games than the MMOGs typically offer. That could potentially attract many more players than the traditional MMOGs. If there are some good candidate game companies in this area that are XBox friendly I think they could become candidates for being bought by Microsoft.

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  1. February 24, 2008 at 14:42
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