Tired of being you?
Well there isn’t to long to wait until you can be someone else.
If you fancy being an elite secret agent, paramilitary general, adventurer, ninja, warrior or even Batman’s sidekick then the wait will soon be over because Massive Multiplayer Online (MMO) games are coming to a PS3 near you.
If you want to know more about MMO’s and their history check out Wikipedia as TSA isn’t the place for a history lesson, but you don’t need to know all about MMO’s to have heard of World Of Warcraft (WoW) or Everquest, often nicknamed Evercrack because apparently it’s that addictive.
Consoles haven’t had a long relationship with MMOs like PC’s have and they represent new ground for the developers with a new set of challenges, and a whole new consumer base to reach.
Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) producers of Everquest, are perhaps predictably the first company to make the crossover and they have gone so far as to announce that all their future games will be available on the PS3 as well as the PC, the first three of these are The Agency, Free Realms & DC Universe Online.
Other developers are also getting in on the act with the creators of LOTOR Online seemingly prepared to move in the world of consoles through news spreading over a recently placed job ad and I’m sure many more will follow.
What will MMOs add to console gaming? Will they work on consoles? Do console gamers even want them?
There are obvious technical challenges to the UI, as PC owners have access to a keyboard/mouse and these input methods are now programmed into developers and users minds as being perfect for this genre of game. Most recently Civilisation Revolution showed it was possible for consoles not to be hindered by a lack of keyboard/mouse, so the joypad should be able to cope fine, so playability shouldn’t be a concern.
My biggest concern for the success of console based MMOs is that PCs/Laptops don’t normally take pride of place in the living room (Sony’s positioning of the PS3 as a media hub ensures it is nearly always sited in the living room on the best TV in the house)
It would be quite easy to sit on a computer and to squirrel away for hours doing tasks and earning points to increase your abilities or ranking, doing this in between episodes of Hannah Montana, Eastenders & X Factor on the family TV is going to be an impossibility
This means games designers may need to make their quests and tasks a bit more bite-size…
I for one can’t wait to be a secret agent in The Agency, Lex Luthor or The Jokers sidekick in DCUO, etc. I just hope the developers keep in mind the consoles place in the modern home and learn the lessons put in to place by Civ Rev on how to make a PC game for consoles.