Saturday, February 25, 2012

A Console MMO

I wonder when we will get the first truly successful console MMO. Personally, I think that the first game to get the "console" part correct will be the game that beats WoW's subscription numbers.

But I wonder what that game will look like, what will make it work? Will it be entirely voice-comm based? After all, Mass Effect is a console game, and The Old Republic is very similar.

I think the key element that needs to be worked out is multiple players in the same household. For computer MMOs, every player has their own computer. But that usually isn't the case with console games. Would the MMO have some sort of co-op mode, where if two players are in the same area, they appear on the same screen? And then seamlessly split screen if they split up?

I have no idea how it would work. But I'm sure there are game companies working on it, and it will be interesting to see what they come up with.

17 comments:

RJ said...

I wonder when we will get the first truly successful console MMO.

May 16th, 2002. The day FFXI was released on the PS2 in Japan, and regardless of it's flaws it's remained a powerhouse MMO ever since.

Given the number of times I've mentioned FFXI in response to your "Maybe an MMO should do this..." posts, maybe you should go and actually check it out.

spinksville said...

With the thing about multiple players in the same household, I wonder when we'll start seeing more MMOs on mobile devices.

Redbeard said...

I'm not so sure I'm ready for an MMO on a mobile device. Having an MMO on a tablet or a smartphone could easily mean that you have to gyrate around and do things in order to get your avatar to do something, and that would look kind of weird on a bus or in an office.

Rohan said...

FFXI does not match my mark for "truly successful". 200k-300k players is decent, but not in the same league as WoW.

I honestly believe that a console MMO has the potential for a few million players.

RJ said...

FFXI has ~500k subscribers, which puts it in the upper quintille of MMOs. Also, it's been in operation for longer then almost all of the current "successful" ones; the only MMOs that have run for at least as long as FFXI are Runescape, Everquest, and Ultima Online. By longetivity alone, it's successful.

Doing a quick search, for the sake of argument, if we take the numbers seen at http://mmodata.blogspot.com/ to be accurate, the NEXT closest game is Aion at 3 mil (which I find highly suspect), followed by TOR at 1.7 mil, then Runescape and both Lineages. Going below 1 mil, you have Second Life (~800k), then EVE (~300k), and then FFXI (~300k). This puts FFXI as one of the top 10 largest MMOs in the world. By subscription numbers alone, it's successful.

Trying to compare anything to WoW by a straight subscriber base is not even trying to be fair; you're looking to fail them. There is literally no other game that has been in the same park for years. A normal MMO considers themselves super successful to even have 500k, let alone a million. What kind of criteria are you honestly trying to use, here? Because according to the numbers, and your statement, WoW has been the only successful MMO ever.

Felcat said...

@RJ

I used to play FFXI when it first hit the US, and have dabbled in it on and off.

It's a game I've always tried to hard to like and enjoy but always end up leaving it in frustration. It has a lot of good in it, but is very very weighed down by very very old and creaky engine/UI, and some of it's more recent "modernization" elements really didn't sit right with me. Field Manuals where nice, making small groups able to XP at a decent rate was amazing, but letting full alliance do FoV/Abby pages was just silly in my mind >.<

Azuriel said...

There will apparently be a console version of Guild Wars 2. And Diablo 3, if you want to count that as an MMO (I wouldn't).

But, yes, FFXI has been out forever, for a given value of success. I doubt it's very successful in the US/EU - which is probably what you're referring to - but if that is the case, I'd suggest adding in that specification.

Kerlon said...

Um, may be this counts too:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dust_514

UFTimmy said...

I am not much of a console gamer, but it's my understanding that not many console games offer split screen anymore.

JThelen said...

On success, as others point out FFXI was successful, very much so even if it's now on the decline. I know that I would still unhesitatingly call it one of the best MMOs I've ever played.

As for console MMOs coming down the pipe, there is GW2 and DUST 514. I don't know that either one will even remotely come close to what you term successful however. To me, the big holdup is paying the subscrirption fee. GW2 should have an advantage here, however I just don't see it doing as well in that market.

Anonymous said...

The main reason why there hasn't been a huge console MMO is that there isn't a platform that hosts a good enough controller to offer the same ease of use that a keyboard does. You would at least need for them to have a number/letters pad to type out things and would need a touch interface for moving a mouse around.

Leah said...

I think the biggest problem I see with a console MMO is lack of easy content updating. with computer based games, you have virtually unlimited space for updating, multiple patches, especially content patches. for consoles? people would have to update their harddrives big time and it would have to bi relatively limited, becasue there's only so much space DLC's can take up on consoles. not only that - with x-box at least new games seem to require at least 2 disks to play. and that's single player. can you imagine having to swap disks, every time you are trying to travel to a new area?

I think, there would have to be a new and improved console, before we see a big scale console MMO show up for it.

C.B. said...

I think Diablo 3 for the console will be the first 'real' step into multi player RPG. From that, alot of boxes on the MMORPG checklist can be ticked off. They're doing some interesting stuff with the Kinect as well which might be the way that the keyboard requirement of MMORPGs will be solved.

Anonymous said...

Phantasy Star Online was my first MMO. I played it on the gamecube with a keyboard plug in.

I do think that PC's fit MMOs a lot better rather than Nintendo consoles, because of online support (websites, voice chat software).

RJ said...

@Leah

I disagree with that, because both the 360 and the PS3 come with MASSIVE hard drives. DCUO, for example, had no problems with being a game that independently patches and gets DLC, instead of dealing with PSN. The only hassle comes with the 360, because Microsoft has a standing policy that because really old 360s didn't have a hard drive, you can't design a game that REQUIRES the HD. That said, I think the 360 version of FFXI was able to ignore this requirement.

I mean, honestly. Even WoW at this point is a little under 30 gigs with EVERYTHING installed. The smallest PS3 you can buy now is 130 gigs, with 250 being the one that's really being pushed. The smallest 360 is 4 gigs, but they market that as the non-gamer's version, saying that you should get the 250 gig one instead (and also offer HD upgrades). FFXI is about 8 gigs, everything said, because it was designed for systems with much smaller drives. So, there's certainly ways to manage the disk space and patches on a console MMO.

Lexicorro said...

I vote ffxi too. Still playing that. The trouble with MMOs and consoles is the interface/control system. If it's not designed for a gamepad first, a gamepad is liable to be a big disadvantage. In the same way ffxi on the pc is a lot easier with a gamepad.

Fn0 said...

You know what is funny, if you'd have make this post 20 years ago people would've called it a MUD. Because console equals text-based in that era, and it was the first thing I was thinking about. Nothing beats smartphone 3G + SSH + screen + Nethack. Not MMO, single player heaven. And challenging.