Pioneering MMO EverQuest
reaches its ten-year anniversary today, with publisher Sony Online Entertainment holding a number of upcoming in-game and real-world events in celebration.
The game was released on March 16, 1999, and was developed by the Verant Interactive label of now-effectively-defunct Sony subsidiary 989 Studios. One of the first major graphical massively multiplayer online games, it has had a significant impact on the genre.
Largely because the graphical MMO segment is a relatively young one, few other games have hit the decade milestone. Origin Systems' Ultima Online
reached ten years of service in 1997, and the arguable first modern graphical MMO Meridian 59
did so in 2006 (albeit with a period of downtime as it switched from original publisher 3DO to the current Near Death Studios).
Gamasutra recently conducted
an interview with SOE president John Smedley about the history of the franchise, revealing that the title is "still very profitable" for the Sony division, even after a decade.
"This year marks a major milestone for SOE and the entire interactive entertainment industry," said SOE president John Smedley, instrumental in the original development of EverQuest
and credited as one of its co-creators. "While it was hard work and a dedicated vision that brought EQ
to fruition, without our loyal fans, EQ
would not be the game that it is today."
The company is hosting a number of in-game events this week in EverQuest
and the embedded collectible card game Legends of Norrath
, and has planned a number of celebratory activities for this year's SOE Fan Faire, to be held June 25 to 28 in Las Vegas.