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Console MMOs set to take off in 2-3 years - Monumental

As format holders work out solutions to payment issues, developer set to make early market entry within months

Monumental Games, the UK developer behind PC MMO Football Superstars and upcoming Capcom racer MotoGP 09/10, has said that it will be 2-3 years before the big players enter the MMO console space as they wait for issues relating to subscriptions and royalty shares to be resolved.

In the meantime, the company told, it has its own plans to make steps into the space early, possibly starting with a licensed title set to be announced in the coming months.

"I think the big players will start moving into console MMOs now that the format holders are moving in themselves and releasing the ability to do console MMOs: like billing, who gets the share, do they have to use PlayStation Store, what's the royalty share, hard-drive downloads and so on," said Rik Alexander, the company's CEO and co-founder.

"Now those hurdles have been gone through then everybody's going to be moving into it. I think it'll be 2-3 years before the main players, or rather the normal players get into it. But we want to just be part of the solution, so we'll be 2-3 years into knowing about console MMOs before anybody else thinks about it."

"Online's the exciting place," he added, as he outlined his studio's plans to launch a 3D Facebook MMO in June, as well as its ongoing work on owned IP Hunter's World.

"We're currently talking to a big North American publisher about a deal on a console MMO, which we'll hopefully announce in the next three months or something. We've already ported our tech onto it - it's an ongoing process, we're still developing tools and so on."

Console MMOs have been slow to emerge on the current generation platforms, with Final Fantasy XI the only one properly nailing the experience. Sony Online's plans to bring Free Realms to PlayStation 3 appear to have stalled and Realtime Worlds' APB is now only in development for PC, although a future Xbox 360 version hasn't been completely ruled out.

The ideal model for a console MMO will need to be defined, added Alexander. Retail packages with subscriptions could be an option, as could a hybrid micro-transaction model - "We're not going to define, we just want to be part of the solution," he said.

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