Microsoft has joined forces with Marvel Enterprises to develop a massively multiplayer online game featuring Marvel's cast of superheroes (which includes Spider-Man, the Hulk, the Fantastic Four and the X-Men). Not surprisingly, this is a response to a similar deal reached last month between Sony and DC Comics (whose superhero stable includes Batman, Superman and Wonderwoman)
The entertainment industry is starting to recognize the commercial potential of MMOs, and these agreements reflect that understanding. Currently, the most successful MMOs are PC-based and generally require powerful (and expensive) home computers. However, both Sony's and Microsoft's next-gen consoles will support MMOs, and breaking into that market (especially in Asia, where MMOs are hugely popular) is an important part of their marketing strategy.
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