Today, veteran massively multiplayer role-playing game studio Turbine Entertainment announced it had secured a new round of venture funding. The $18 million cash infusion, which comes primarily from Highland Capital Partners and Polaris Venture Partners, will allow the company to self-publish its forthcoming Dungeons & Dragons Online.
The move puts more control of D&D Online into the hands of Turbine, but it also adds to its responsibilities. Server, tech, and billing support as well as QA and customer service for the D&D MMORPG will be handled entirely by Turbine itself. A Turbine spokesperson told GameSpot that the decision to publish the online title itself represents a "total shift in [Turbine's] business model. We're taking out the middle man between us and our fans," the spokesperson said.
Turbine's relationship with publisher Microsoft for Asheron's Call (and its updates) remains unchanged, as does its agreement with VU Games to publish the upcoming Middle-Earth Online.
Turbine first revealed it had secured the D&D MMORPG sublicense from Atari and Hasbro at the 2003 Electronic Entertainment Expo. Atari will be Turbine's marketing and retail partner for D&D Online, which is currently slated to come to market in late 2005.