Sony Online Entertainment, the San Diego-headquartered team responsible for EverQuest
and Star Wars Galaxies
, is increasing the scope of its operations by opening a studio in Seattle, Washington.
Matt Wilson, formerly the Group Manager for the Mythica
PC MMO team at Microsoft, before his co-founding of independent developer FireAnt Inc., will serve as Executive Producer of SOE Seattle. All other members of FireAnt will join Wilson on the full-time staff of SOE Seattle, but with the notable exception of Ed Fries.
Fries, who was vice president of games publishing at Microsoft before his departure in January 2004 to co-found FireAnt, will merely serve in a consulting role with SOE Seattle rather than joining as a permanent member.
"As our business grows, so does the need for more diverse titles," said Russell Shanks, COO of SOE. "With the core team’s expertise in the video game industry and their passion for making games, we are confident that this new studio will allow us to maintain and expand SOE’s position as one of the world-wide leaders in online gaming." The announcement did not specify what games or projects the Seattle team will initially take on, but it seems likely that prospective titles might be related to MMO games in some way.