NEW YORK – The Cartoon Network is developing a "massively" multiplayer online game in the vein of "World of Warcraft" and "EverQuest" for kids 6 to 14.
The yet-to-be-named game, expected to launch in 2008, will let players interact with Cartoon Network characters like Mac, Bloo and the Kids Next Door.
Massively multiplayer online role-playing games, or MMORPGs, have reached mainstream popularity over the past few years, driven primarily by "World of Warcraft," which now has more than 6.5 million players.
The game, announced Wednesday, is being developed with a South Korean company, Grigon Entertainment. Seoul-based Grigon already has developed several online games for the Asian market, including the cartoonish "Seal Online."
Cartoon Network, a unit of Time Warner Inc., already provides simpler ad-supported games on its Web site, which drew 4.6 million visitors last week.
The cable network would not say how much it is investing in the new game, but Paul Condolora, who heads Cartoon Network's "new media" division, said it was equivalent to the cost of a new TV series.
Condolora said age verification for players and age-appropriate chat functions are in the works, but details have yet to be determined.
Walt Disney Co. launched an online multiplayer game for kids, "Toontown Online," in 2003.