We've had punters out there guess at just how long Lord of the Rings Online might be able to last, as well as one particularly detailed and precise look at how Tolkien's Middle-earth might unfold over the years, but Turbine has now given official confirmation that they are in it for the long haul. A new press release (posted in full after the break) sent to us from Turbine's PR company states that they have extended their license agreements with Tolkien Enterprises for Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit until 2014, with the rights to claim them all the way up to 2017 if they so choose.

The president and CEO of Turbine, Jim Crowley, affirmed his faith in the license -- and honestly, it's not a bad horse to back -- saying, "With the recent announcement of what are sure to be two blockbuster films based on The Hobbit and a sequel, we expect the success of the license and our relationship with Tolkien Enterprises to grow for years to come." Only time will tell whether Turbine can give LotRO and associated games legs until 2014 (or 2017!), but with this agreement under their belts they can develop away for the foreseeable future. Hit the jump to read the press release in its entirety.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TURBINE AND TOLKIEN ENTERPRISES EXTEND RELATIONSHIP

License to Develop Online Games Based on the Books of J.R.R. Tolkien Extended to 2014

WESTWOOD, MA – February 20, 2008 - Turbine, Inc. announced today that in the wake of the global success of The Lord of the Rings Online™: Shadows of Angmar™, named the 2007 PC Game of the Year*, it has reached an agreement with Tolkien Enterprises to extend it's license to develop Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Games (MMORPG) based on The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien to 2014 with additional options to extend the rights until 2017.

"We're thrilled with the global success of The Lord of the Rings Online since its launch in 2007," said Jim Crowley, president and CEO of Turbine, Inc. "With the recent announcement of what are sure to be two blockbuster films based on The Hobbit and a sequel, we expect the success of the license and our relationship with Tolkien Enterprises to grow for years to come."

"We have had a wonderful working relationship with Turbine over the past several years," said Albert M. Bendich, Executive Vice President of The Saul Zaentz Company, and its merchandising division Tolkien Enterprises. "We look forward to our continuing success with Turbine as it pushes the envelope for compelling online entertainment and gameplay to bring the compelling characters of Middle-earth to life for Tolkien fans around the world."

The Lord of the Rings Online delivers an interactive experience brimming with life and filled with the familiar people, places and monsters from the most beloved fantasy adventure of all time. From the quaint surroundings of the Shire to Angmar, the vile kingdom of the Witch-king, players will experience the world of Middle-earth as never before. The Lord of the Rings Online is available in North America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. For more information, please visit www.lotro.com.

About Turbine

Turbine, Inc. is the premier creator and operator of massive, persistent online worlds that foster powerful social gaming communities. Founded over a decade ago with the vision of becoming a leading provider of online entertainment, Turbine has grown to become one of the largest privately-held online gaming studios in North America. Turbine has created some of the world's most popular and award-winning exciting online games, including The Lord of the Rings Online™: Shadows of Angmar™, Dungeons & Dragons Online® and Asheron's Call®. For more information on Turbine, its products and services please visit www.turbine.com.

About Tolkien Enterprises

The Saul Zaentz Company d/b/a Tolkien Enterprises is the holder of worldwide motion picture, legitimate stage, merchandising, and other rights in J.R.R. Tolkien's literary works The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. Tolkien Enterprises has been producing and licensing films, stage productions and merchandise based on Tolkien's works for almost 30 years. Its headquarters are in Berkeley, California, and its website may be found at www.tolkien-ent.com.

###

"The Lord of the Rings Online," "Shadows of Angmar," "Middle-earth," "The Lord of the Rings," and the names of the characters, events, items and places therein are trademarks or registered trademarks of The Saul Zaentz Company d/b/a Tolkien Enterprises under license to Turbine, Inc. Turbine and the Turbine logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Turbine, Inc. in the United States and/or other jurisdictions. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

This article was originally published on Massively.