A new independent game development studio, Meteor Games, launched today with Adam Powell and Donna Williams at the helm — the two entrepreneurs who previously launched game company Neopets back in 1999 and then sold it to Viacom’s MTV Networks for $160 million.
The new company is working on a fantasy/sci-fi massively multiplayer online game — a stylistically animated world for children ages 8 to 18 in 2009. That age group is well above the target for Neopets (which has more than 45 million users).
It’s certainly harder to start a new MMO today than it was back in 1999. There are dozens of companies trying to challenge Blizzard’s “World of Warcraft,” which has 10 million paying subscribers. Gaia Online, which described its own MMO today, will be more direct competition in the MMO space, though Meteor Games is going to shoot for higher graphics fidelity than Gaia Online, which could help the new company set itself apart. Runescape is another casual fantasy MMO that targets a younger crowd, though that game also appeals to a variety of ages.
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