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GI.biz MMO Week roundup

Trade boys set virtual worlds to rights.

It's been MMO Week on our sister site GamesIndustry.biz all this week. Our colleagues amassed a line-up of interviews and articles that are worth reading for anyone with an interest in the MMO field.

Biggest of the cheeses GI spoke to was Sony Online Entertainment president John Smedley. He gives some interesting insight into how his company operates and relates to his customers, and how it was "too arrogant" in the past. He even sticks up for Vanguard, bless him - it's "rocking and rolling" now, apparently.

NCSoft Europe's Sebastian Vidal banged the Tabula Rasa drum, bigged up his company's strategy of not putting all its eggs in one basket, and predicted a future where traditional online games like Counter-Strike blend with MMOs. There's certainly something in that.

Codemasters Online Gaming boss David Solari revealed that his company was going to start in-house MMO development, and Funcom's ubiquitous Age of Conan spokesman Erling Ellingsen talked about controlling the hype.

Looking beyond core MMOs, FireSky discussed its new social networking platform, RuneScape developer Jagex talked about using MMO technology in casual gaming, and a co-founder of massive kids' virtual world Club Penguin commented on selling it to Disney for a vast pile of cash (USD 700 million, to be precise).

Beyond the interviews, GamesIndustry.biz ran a series of columns on the state of MMOs today. GI.biz's editor Phil Elliott - who, we can exclusively reveal, has played every MMO ever made - discussed the ever-present problem of the MMO launch experience, from beta to inevitably troubled roll-out.

In his column, regular Eurogamer contributor Rob Fahey argued that Call of Duty 4 was almost an MMO, with surprising success. And the editor of some MMO channel or other wrote about MMO's need to move beyond fantasy, mere hours before Blizzard showed him Wrath of the Lich King and he stopped caring about anything else.

Although MMO Week has now drawn to a close, watch out for an interview with EA Mythic's Josh Drescher about Warhammer Online on GamesIndustry.biz next week.