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Role Playing (Games) Entertainment Games

Explaining the Dearth of Console MMOGs 123

spielermacher writes "Gamasutra is running an interesting analysis written by Flying Lab Software Producer Joe Ludwig explaining why there are not more successful Console MMOGs. Some reasons given: lack of keyboard, MMOG players like to play in pairs, business model doesn't always work out for the developer, larger installed base of game-quality PCs, and others."
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Explaining the Dearth of Console MMOGs

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  • Re:Dearth? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Fex303 ( 557896 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @02:48PM (#23731743)
    Let me introduce you to the dictionary [reference.com], a new invention that lets you find out the meaning of words.

    In future you may be able to use such a device all by yourself without posting inane comments on /.

  • Re:No Keyboard (Score:4, Informative)

    by oahazmatt ( 868057 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @02:56PM (#23731965) Journal
    Actually, the Logitech ProBoard was sold for about $20 and was fully compliant for the PS2 and Final Fantasy XI. I've recently discovered it works on both the X-Box 360 and the Wii.
  • by SeePage87 ( 923251 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:04PM (#23732203)
    Oh, to be back in the days of ASCII TradeWars played on the BBSes with a 4800 baud modem. Now I have to play http://www.starportgame.com/ [starportgame.com]Starport: Galactic Empires on broadband. What's this world coming to?
  • Re:No Keyboard (Score:3, Informative)

    by tacroy ( 813477 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:13PM (#23732449)
    Both xbox and ps3 can use a keyboard, and the xbox has a "chatpad" which dock into the normal controller and works incredibly well. Also, the bulk of chat would most likely be audio, something consoles have working quite well.
  • Half-wrong... (Score:3, Informative)

    by SanityInAnarchy ( 655584 ) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:18PM (#23732553) Journal

    Voice chat is great for small groups. It even works pretty well for short messages from one player to another. It really doesn't work so well for chat groups of 100.
    Nothing really works well for chat groups of 100. Voice chat can be done on that scale, though -- you just have to setup channels properly.

    There are other reasons to want a keyboard -- keyboards have far more buttons than controllers, meaning more actions, and MMOs can be complex. And there's the registration, login, etc.

    People sit pretty far back from their televisions, and even HD displays really aren't very high-res compared to PC screens.
    People do sit pretty far back. But HD is 1920x1080. Raise your hand if you have a computer monitor that high. The biggest I have is 1600x1200, which is not widescreen, and is 153,600 pixels fewer than a 1080p screen.

    MMOs take four to five years to build. People keep trying to convince themselves that they can do it in three years, but they're wrong.
    So what? Good MMOs are continuously updated for five to ten years. No reason to think you couldn't port it to a different platform and give it a graphical update in that time.

    Many, many people play MMOs (and other games for that matter) in pairs. I've played 6 different MMOs with my wife. Lots of people play with their spouses, siblings, or kids.
    And many, many people play console games in pairs, trios, or quartets. We tolerated split-screen for Goldeneye on the N64, where each player might get, what, 180x140 worth of screen space? And now we're on HD displays.

    Console MMOs really need to support split-screen play on a single machine, which adds to the development complexity.
    And developing for a single platform, instead of the "PC platform" of whatever the fsck the user decided to buy, should reduce development complexity.

    There were some good points here, and I'll stick with my PC platform as long as I can -- on Linux -- but I don't see anything compelling.

    Here's one thing that does matter: MMOs are big, and getting bigger. Much of them must be download in patches. It's difficult to buy a computer with a hard drive less than 80 gigs these days. It's difficult to buy a console with a hard drive more than 60 gigs, unless something's changed.

    Oh, and consoles very likely won't allow mods. Many people live by their WoW UI mods, custom voice chat, etc.
  • Console specs (Score:3, Informative)

    by DrYak ( 748999 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @08:33PM (#23739289) Homepage

    * The modern consoles (Wii exempt) both have multiple CPU cores.
    Nope. The PS3 has a single PowerPC core. You're confusing it with the SPU (of which there are 7) which are specialized stream processing units.
    But the system runs on the PowerPC core.

    The XBox is the only to feature 3 main cores.

    * No keyboard for socializing! The 360 has a headset. I'm not sure about the PS3. The Wii is screwed on this front.
    All 3 consoles (and even previous generation consoles) feature USB port. All console can use USB keyboards. (Out of the box for Playstations and XBoxes ; the Wii needs a firmware update which is automatic as soon as the Wii has internet access).

    Previous generation consoles (DreamCast and GameCube) supported keyboard, either by using a console-specific keyboard or by using a PS/2-to-console adapter with whatever keyboard you have lying around.
    And even if this required some hardware purchase (both hardware for the keyboard and a broadband modem if either you had a GC or didn't like the built-in analog of the DC), that didn't prevent hack'n'slashes like Phatansy Star Online to be produced and achieve success on those consoles.
    The keyboard was even supported on the DC version of Quake 3 to offer classic keyboard and mouse gameplay style.

    In addition the keyboard it self is a pretty lame excuse. Radial menus have already been proved to be efficient (Silver is an example of PC+DC game which used radial menus for quick accesses) and consoles gamepads have pretty much enough axes to allow radial menus. So it's possible to put enough short-cuts even if there's no keyboard.

    My opinion is that the current crop of top MMORPG that are both successful and well marketed happen to run on PCs.
    In short : almost everybody is on WoW currently, and WoW runs only on Windows PCs. It's hard to compete with it and be successful by introducing yet another MMOG in a saturated market where PC games already have a monopoly.

Mathemeticians stand on each other's shoulders while computer scientists stand on each other's toes. -- Richard Hamming