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SpongeBob SquarePants to head for MMO waters

In "news we didn't see coming" we have a new IP that's going to be joining the MMO landscape -- SpongeBob SquarePants. That's right, soon players everywhere will have a chance to wander around Bikini Bottom, perhaps even grabbing their own Krabby Patty to nosh on, as MTV and GigaMedia Limited are partnering up to produce the first MMO based on one of Nickelodeon's titles.

Now, as to the bad news: The game is being developed primarily for the Asian markets first. It will launch in 2011 to players in China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Southeast Asia and India. That's right -- no Western client, despite SpongeBob being popular over here. However, with as fast as things are seemingly localized for our market from the Asian side of the MMO house, one could expect a fairly quick port if one of the Western outlets picks it up and gets the ball rolling.

As to details on how the game itself will play, there's no real news on that beyond the statement that it will be a free-to-play game. The release states that they will be utilizing "a wide range of video and simple Flash-based games allowing users of all skill-levels and ages to interact and share their SpongeBob SquarePants experiences online." Whether it will wind up more a Facebook-type MMO, a web-embedded suite of games with a thin virtual world veneer, or a true Western-styled client, we'll have to wait and see. Still, it might be worth playing just to smack Squidward, or cruise around on David Hasselhoff.

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