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MMO Week: Codemasters to bring MMO development in-house

Following licensing success, publisher to create own online titles as part of a five-year plan

Codemasters Online Gaming has told GamesIndustry.biz that following success with licensed titles it now intends to bring development of MMO games in-house.

The publisher currently operates four games with development partners with a fifth – NetDevil's Jumpgate – due later this year, but David Solari, vice president of Codemasters Online Gaming has said that developing its own MMO titles was always part of the business plan.

"We always had a five year plan and it was always in the middle of that five year plan that we would start developing our own games," said Solari in an exclusive interview published today.

"We are looking at that and we have to think very carefully about what title is right, what will work in the future. These aren't easy questions to answer and it's very easy to fail in the MMO market so you've got to take your time, be careful and be sensible," he added.

The publisher is confident after cutting its teeth with Korean imports RF Online and ArchLord, followed by big licenses Dungeons & Dragons Online and Lord of the Rings Online.

But Solari remains cautious in the PC market, where development is costly and titles are not only competing with other MMOs but also other emerging markets such as free-to-play gaming.

"It's one of the toughest areas of the videogames business. It's the hardest space in which to make games, you see some really big, high-profile games that don't end up coming out, there's huge risks involved.

"The model that we took initially was licensing games – we will get into development eventually – but we did licensing so we could manage the risk and learn more about the business," he revealed.

"Recently we've seen a couple of really nasty failures in the MMO space, whether the message wasn't right or the quality of the game wasn't there, because it's an extremely competitive market."

The full interview with Solari can be read here.

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