Follow us:

Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

June 12, 2006 at 5:08 PM

A visit with Sony Online Entertainment – Seattle

I headed over to Bellevue today to visit with Sony Online Entertainment, which opened up a studio there in fall 2004. Back then, the studio’s only employees were its four founders, all of whom had worked at Microsoft. (See here for the story I wrote on the studio in 2005).

Now, SOE-Seattle, as it is called, is up to 42 employees and it’s hiring 20 more. Why the big hiring push? They’re about to move from pre-production to the production phase of the still top-secret game they’re working on. Co-founder and studio head Matt Wilson wouldn’t say much about the game, and he wouldn’t comment on a poster on the wall of the lobby touting a new game which combines action, adventure and intruigue in a massively multiplayer environment. (See here for a story I wrote last month on these popular MMO games).

Wilson ended up giving me a preview of the game on a not-for-publication basis, and so I can’t yet write about it. The studio is confident that the game will be a complete departure from other MMO games, which tend to delve into the fantasy and science-fiction realms. In fact, they’re not even going to be calling it an MMO (which stands for “massively multiplayer online”). These games are extraordinarily complex and can take years to develop, and to move away from the tried-and-true formula is a big-money risk on Sony’s part. It will be very interesting to see how SOE-Seattle’s product fares in the market.

Ed Fries, the former head of Microsoft Game Studios, is still an adviser to SOE-Seattle and pops in every couple of weeks to see the latest phase of the game. The folks at SOE-Seattle still have his Segway scooter to ride through the office, which takes up an entire floor of a building in one of Bellevue’s many nondescript office parks.

Comments | More in Games & entertainment

COMMENTS

No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.



The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.


The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►