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Media Molecule invests millions to stop relying on  LittleBigPlanet
Media Molecule invests millions to stop relying on LittleBigPlanet
January 6, 2012 | By Eric Caoili

Media Molecule spent 4.1 million ($6.3 million) on research and development in its last fiscal year, as the Sony studio seeks to mitigate its risks from relying solely on the LittleBigPlanet franchise.

The Guildford, UK-based developer said its primary business risks have been "largely as a result of the company's heavy reliance on the one LittleBigPlanet brand name," according to an annual directors' report obtained by trade site Develop.

In order to combat that and thrive, the firm said "it is vital for Media Molecule to focus a high proportion of its resources on R&D to allow it to maintain its world leading position as a developer of innovative games." The developer also hired 50 new employees during that period to support its goals.

Media Molecule's research and development into future advances included investments in game physics and dynamics, rapid world creation from laser data, web-based interfaces, 3D stereo-optics for advanced simulation, and hi-def data capture and processing techniques.

The amount it spent on those technologies exceeded its profits during that 12-month period, 3.44 million ($5.3 million), generated by releases like LittleBigPlanet for PS3 and PSP, and LittleBigPlanet 2(Sony's Xdev also released a LittleBigPlanet Sackboy's Prehistoric Moves spin-off).

Though Xdev, Tarsier Studios, and Double Eleven are currently developing a LittleBigPlanet game for PS Vita, Media Molecule studio director Siobhan Reddy reportedly said last year that the company is "stepping away from LittleBigPlanet to focus on some new ideas."

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Brian Pace
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Hope Rovio is taking notes.

Joe McGinn
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I'm sure they are, but it's easier said than done. I think both companies are finding that a hit game is like a lightning strike. Which is not to take away anything from the talent needed, but there was also a lot of convergent variables in "the right time and place" to create their first hits.

Jeremy Reaban
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Of course, the ironic thing is Sony probably has them working on an Uncharted game for the PS4...