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THQ*ICE Shuttered, Gravity Taking Over  Dragonica Online
THQ*ICE Shuttered, Gravity Taking Over Dragonica Online
September 8, 2010 | By Eric Caoili

September 8, 2010 | By Eric Caoili

Online game operator THQ*ICE, the joint venture established by THQ and I.C.E. Entertainment, has closed and passed its Dragonica Online publishing rights to Gravity Interactive, according to an email from Gravity Interactive business development manager John Choi.

"THQ*ICE is no longer in business and dropped publishing rights for Dragonica Online, and Gravity Interactive has just acquired the publishing rights and is going to be publishing the game at the end of September this year," he wrote.

THQ*ICE's website corroborated regarding Dragonica Online: "As of August 31st 2010, North American operations of Dragonica Online on is [sic] suspended. The service of Dragonica is being transitioned to another game publisher."

Shanghai-based I.C.E. and publisher THQ announced their partnership to create the firm in September 2008.

The publisher hoped to combine I.C.E.'s online games experience with THQ's product development and retail publishing knowledge to bring MMOs to the North American market.

Dragonica Online, THQ*ICE's only release, is a free-to-play MMO from South Korean developer Barunson Interactive Co. The online title launched in October 2009, but its operations have been suspended as the service transition to new owner Gravity Interactive is underway. THQ*ICE offered refunds through August 27.

A subsidiary of Seoul-based developer Gravity Co., Gravity Interactive also specializes in operating MMOs in North America, such as its parent company's flagship game Ragnarok Online.

Neither THQ or I.C.E. have revealed what exactly happened at the joint venture that led to its closing, though Gamasutra has reached out to THQ for additional comment. THQ*ICE's closing follows just three months after Chinese online games developer and operator ChangYou purchased I.C.E Entertainment.

[UPDATE: THQ Vice President for Investor Relations and Corporate Communications Julie MacMedan tells Gamasutra in an official statement: "THQ*ICE was a joint venture with ICE Entertainment (not THQs Online studio) and we sold our interest back to ICE in March 2010. ICE then elected to shut down North American operations."]

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Jonathan Jennings
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It looks like it's becoming increasingly difficult to be a smaller MMO developer, I imagine the number of resources necessary to make sure and MMO runs well is staggering in comparison to that of most other genres.

Aaron Truehitt
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Theres just way to many mmos out right now..