Pretty big news item for the game industry's traditionally slow summer months: EA went shopping for a studio full o' successful MMORPG goodness. Key management is staying aboard.
Cynics may point to the acquired-and-dismantled notches on EA's bedpost -- Kesmai, Westwood, Origin -- but a lot of the news and PR coming out of gaming's 800 lb. gorilla points toward new strategies and policies. Innovation, new IP, and smaller, more agile teams leading feature development are just a few.
Mythic knows what they're doing. Here's hoping EA will just, y'know, let them do it.
THQ was in the press a bit ago stating that it's "misguided" to build an MMO to compete with World of Warcraft. I agree that coming out now with a fantasy MMO sans killer, marquee IP is a dicey proposition at best (if I was working on Vanguard, I'd have my resume in good shape), but for Lord British's sake, do we need more fantasy MMOs?
Other genres and themes are woefully underrepresented, as are completely different takes on virtual worlds. Habbo Hotel is a rampaging success. Second Life is growing like gangbusters. Maple Story and other "lite" MMOs with business models beyond the mass market-offputting $15/month money suck are snagging customers by the bushel.
I also agree with Damion at Zen of Design that progress is the bete noire of all MMOs, and who's to say WoW will still be teh shiney by the time it takes a next-gen MMO to come out?