Old School + New Funding = Web 2.0 MMO?

There’s a new game company opening up in San Diego named Areae. As a company, Areae will specialize in Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOs). Normally, a new company entering into the MMO market wouldn’t garner too much attention, but this one has a pedigree: Raph Koster and John Donham. Raph Koster was the lead designer on Ultima Online and Star Wars Galaxies, while John Donham was the senior producer over the EverQuest team. So far, the only information we have is from their non-press-release-press release:

“You might have noticed that there isn’t actually a press release here. Usually, when you announce a company, you put together some very formal sounding thing with a bunch of quotes from investors, principals, maybe a third party or two, and it has this big block of puff text at the bottom… you know how it goes.

But we decided not to. Oh, you know, we’ll probably have to at some point — that’s business — but honestly, we wanted to talk to you first. People who might be players, virtual citizens, users, customers, some day in the future. And that’s because we want to make sure that putting you guys first is something that is in Areae’s DNA from the very beginning.

So there’s no press release here. There’s just this announcement. Welcome.”

Funding for Areae was set up by Charles River Ventures, and according to the blog of Susan Wu, this new company may be doing something a little more out of the ordinary than it appears:

“Though Areae is still very stealthy, Areae sits at the intersection between Web 2.0 and MMOGs. If you think about it, the Web 2.0 and the Massively Multiplayer Online Gaming communities have largely been pretty siloed – gamer developers go to game industry conferences and Web 2.0 folks go to Web 2.0 conferences, and there has not been enough intermingling between the two communities.”

Sounds like we could be looking at some interesting times ahead for the online world. Best of luck, guys!