MMO’s have been traditionally the reserve of PC gamers because of the technical and interface demands these games put upon the platform. Just imagine trying to manage your World of Warcraft interface from across the room with a console controller.
With the next generation of consoles just around the corner we can imagine these barriers coming down. We’ve been playing and developing games for a long time now and the innovations haven’t just been technical; the way we interact with our hardware has changed and the next gen Kinect looks like it will do more than eliminate the barriers that a mouse and keyboard had created before, it will create new opportunities. Developers are using their imaginations and rethinking the way we interact with our preferred platform, which will probably produce some surprising results alongside the more conventional fare.
I don’t think console gamers will struggle with the content of the MMO, but I don’t think we will see MMO’s on the next gen that look anything like what has come before. World of Warcraft or Eve wouldn’t cross over – with the best will in the world they just aren’t suitable for the console format, however advanced it becomes. That, for me, is a good thing. I love both those games with my whole heart, but I wouldn’t want to see them on the console, it just wouldn’t be right.
What I’m looking forward to is a whole new frontier of MMO development, that will see innovation rather than compromise and expansion rather than limitation. There’s so much that could be done to open this genre up to the console market and the brave first steps on this generation’s consoles, like Defiance and DC Universe have shown that, while flawed and less than outrageously successful, there is a market out there for the right title.