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Warner Bros. is set to make its first foray into the burgeoning online gaming world with a pay-to-play game version of its film franchise “The Matrix.”

The online game is set to bow as early as the end of this year as Warners attempts to emulate the success Sony has already found with its online hit “EverQuest.”

Wachowskis aboard

Monolith Prods. and EON Entertainment, the production entity of “Matrix” helmers Larry and Andy Wachowski, are producing the actioner along with Warner Bros.

When launched, the game will allow tens of thousands of people to play at the same time and compete against each other in a 3D world that mimics locations found in “The Matrix” film.

There are more than 70 subscription-based multiplayer games being prepped for launch on the Web, including Sony’s “Men in Black II: Crossfire” and LucasArts’ “Star Wars: Galaxies.”

Multiplayer platform

” ‘The Matrix’ is a perfect property on which to base a massive multiplayer online game,” said Kevin Tsujihara, Warner Bros. exec veep of corporate business development and strategy. “This project will combine the online entertainment resources and expertise of Warner Bros. and AOL Time Warner with one of the most cutting-edge game developers in the world.”

“The Matrix” generated more than $475 million in worldwide B.O. Franchise’s next two installments, “The Matrix: Reloaded” and “The Matrix: Revolutions,” bow next year.