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Last Updated: Friday, 1 December 2006, 13:00 GMT
Gamers aspire to take over world
Screenshot from  Ryzom, Nevrax
Ryzom combines Science-fictional and fantasy elements
A collective of online gaming fans is making a bid to buy an online world and hand it over to the players.

The Free Ryzom Campaign is hoping to purchase the online fantasy game Ryzom from current owners Nevrax who will go into receivership in December.

The campaign is raising the necessary capital through pledges and has already received more than 60,000 euros.

If the group is successful it will purchase the source code for the game and distribute it for free.

Avid fans could then write code and contribute to the game's development.

"The game won't change, its more the way people will use it" said Xavier Antoviaque, a founder of the campaign and an ex-employee of Nevrax.

"Rather than just consuming the game, everyone will be able to contribute to it."

Future fantasy

Ryzom is what is known as a massively multiplayer online game (MMO). Other popular MMOs include World of Warcraft (WoW) and Everquest.

It is set in a world, known as Planet Atys, that fuses science-fiction and fantasy.

If nobody tries to buy the game we could have it for 10,000 euros
Xavier Antoviaque

Gamers can play as one of four humanoid races who venture around the world gaining experience by battling creatures and picking up loot.

The game was created by French developers Nevrax and released in September 2004. Earlier this month the company was forced to go into receivership.

A statement on the company's website read: "While the game will continue to run and be supported, Nevrax (as a corporate entity) will be going into receivership next month." The exact reason for the company's bankruptcy has not been disclosed.

However, some gamers believe it could be because the MMO market has become saturated as developers jump on the MMO bandwagon hoping to cash in on the success of games like WoW, which has seven million players worldwide.

The games future will be decide on 4 December when a Judge and the liquidators will decide whether or not the game and company can continue to run in its present form.

If it is decided that it cannot, the company will be split up and sold off.

It is at this stage that the Free Ryzom Campaign hopes it will be able to buy the source code, artwork and other game data.

"If nobody tries to buy the game we could have it for 10,000 euros," said Mr Antoviaque. "If there are several people it could be several hundred thousand euros.

"The more money we get the more likely we are to succeed."

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