Vivendi Universal's Vu Games has announced the upcoming launch of Lord of the Rings:  Middle Earth Online, a massively multi-player online roleplaying game (MMORPG) based on the Tolkien works.  Vu Games also just announced a 10-year deal to produce MMORPGs based on Marvel properties (see 'Marvel Licenses MMORPG').  And Magic:  The Gathering was recently taken online by Wizards of the Coast (see 'Wizards Takes Magic Online').  The trend is now clear--the most powerful pop culture properties are being developed into MMORPGs (including now the Tolkien property that's the original inspiration for many fantasy RPGs on paper).  What is less clear, as we've noted before, is whether this represents new exposure for the products sold in pop culture stores, or simply competition for the time and dollars of consumers.