‘Marvel Universe Online’ – Why They Killed It
That’s weird. We were just talking about Marvel Universe Online a few days ago. The massively multiplayer online role-playing game (think World of Warcraft with Spider-Man and the X-Men) based on Marvel comics superheroes. Joystiq.com writer Christopher Grant got to have dinner recently with Shane Kim, VP of Microsoft Games Studios, and asked him why it was canceled.
Basically, Microsoft owned up to the fact they don’t do MMOs well.
"We don’t have a heritage of MMOs," said Kim. The article went on to list several MMO attempts that Microsoft attempted that failed. "It’s a hits-driven business … it’s all about quality, all about hits."
A link to a Gamasutra.com piece shed more light:
Given the rumors of confusion on the dev team about what the game was going to be like at a fundamental level, pulling support from the project seems like a no-brainer. That said, I think MUO’s death highlights Microsoft’s sordid history with Massively Multiplayer games.
I think that the fact that we’re still talking about Marvel Universe Online several months after it was officially canceled shows that the concept is still compelling and viable. But there’s no arguing that outside of a few MMO hits, the landscape is littered with flops from many different companies. Remember The Matrix Online or Star Wars Galaxies? Not surprising when you consider it’s a subscription-based business. How many of us just have HBO and consider that good enough instead of also getting Showtime?
I like to imagine, though, that Uatu the Watcher is spying on one of his "What If…?" universes where Marvel Universe Online game out and was more popular then Warcraft. Of course, the game would be populated by a thousand variations of Spider-Man and Wolverine with names like "5piDer-MaN" and "Wolverine Gets High."