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[Column] General: Could Next-Gen Consoles Bring an MMO Renaissance?

BillMurphyBillMurphy Managing EditorBerea, OHPosts: 2,356MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

The XBOX One and PlayStation 4 have a number of high-profile MMOs coming to them. Could what appears to be a much more MMO friendly console generation mean significant growth for the MMO genre? Read on for our thoughts and share your own in the comments.

The fact of the matter is that developing MMOs for consoles helps mitigate the inherent risk involved in putting these projects together in the first place. This is why exclusives are few and far between even outside of the MMO genre these days. Standard games cost a lot more to make than they used to and going multi-platform simply allows for far more potential revenue due to the different install bases. However, MMOs have historically been a pretty tough nut to crack on consoles and all of this changing now has some significant implications for the potential to reach many more players.

Read more of Michael Bitton's Could Next-Gen Consoles Bring an MMO Renaissance?

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Comments

  • TimothyTierlessTimothyTierless Columnist M, ORPosts: 2,163Member Uncommon
    No, but kickstarter will.
  • kaliniskalinis Dexter, MEPosts: 1,428Member

    Kickstarter is great for the niche game but consoles, may make a leap into mmofps, and mmo fighting games. They can also allow companies to make more money thus making a game like tor which had over a million subs a failure. 

    The sad fact is to many studios have aimed for wow like numbers and thats a once in a lifetime freak thing thats never gonna happen again. Blizzard and titan may be able to make that happen but i doubt it. 

    consoles can help add more players that dont use pc's or play pc games to they could help the mmo market take leaps forward. and lets be honest i have lots of skills on my wow hotbar b ut truth is my rotation is basicly a 4-5 ability mash. 

    its like that in alot of mmo's where in the end u may have 30 abilities but u never really use them all. so having to dumb down the skills to 8-10 slots isnt a big deal. 

  • SpottyGekkoSpottyGekko RotterdamPosts: 3,845Member Uncommon

    I'm sure the Next-Gen consoles will result in HUGE growth for MMO's

     

    Sadly, they will do nothing for "classic" MMORPG's, which seem to be an endangered species currently... 

     

    Modern MMO's are very different from their counterparts of 10-15 years ago. They are almost indistinguishable from online co-op games, and continually seem to be moving closer to that genre. They are ever more casual, action-oriented, instanced and phased with pseudo-grouping that allows players all the benefits of being in a group without actually formally joining other players. As long as you are near some other people...

  • syntax42syntax42 Columbus, OHPosts: 1,305Member Uncommon
    The only revolution consoles will bring is the further dilution of the genre.  Developers will be given a wider audience to appeal to and creativity will decrease.  Sadly, there is no way around this because MMOs run on money, and the only way to make significant money is to appeal to the masses.
  • RecoreRecore Posts: 5,090Member Uncommon
    Only time will tell but I really like what I am seeing from consoles this gen. Games like The Division and Destiny look really good.
    Raptr Gamercard
  • deveilbladdeveilblad Saint-Constant, QCPosts: 177Member
    I' ve said this many times during the last few days/weeks, just look at FFXIV:ARR : great example of multi-platform ( cross platform even ) done RIGHT. There is nothing dumbed down because of the console, the game would be the exact same with or without console compatibility.... and it works GREAT with a controller, easy to use dozens of spells and very reactive !
  • superniceguysuperniceguy AnchorheadPosts: 2,278Member Uncommon

    I think games like The Division, The Crew, MGS 5, Watchdogs could do well on console, but typical MMOs like EQ2, Vanguard, WOW, SWG etc are too complex for consoles.

    Watch Dogs looks cool, you can play with a smartphone and help a friend out to evade the police, either by affecting traffic lights (although not sure how that helps much as in open world games  I always ignore the traffic lights!), or even hinder and help the police.

    These games are more than open worlds, they are forever open and changing and living. Games like GTA IV are only active when you have the game running, and single player, but now they are like MMOs where always online.

    It would be good if there was more to do in the game than the game itself, like Sim City meets Sleeping Dogs. In Sleeping Dogs you visited several safe houses and shops - It would be good if players could create and build safe houses, shops, garages etc Then other players buy these houses and run shops, hotels, night clubs etc Then other players just play the game content, and visit the player run shops, hotels, night clubs etc Basically the game starts as an empty canvas, and built up by the players more so than the devs. Devs could still add their content, and build it around the structures that players have created. Something like this, would then be finally close to what SWG was.

  • HrimnirHrimnir Qeynos, COPosts: 1,597Member Uncommon

    I definitely agree that the larger potential audience is a good thing.  My concern is that the state of the game industry due to companies like EA has essentially turned into where the music and movie industry are.

    What i mean by that is they're not interested in making a game unless its going to sell like gang busters.  They'd rather milk the same IP's over and over then produce a game that could sell great but could also just do OK.  They're not interested in making just a profit, it has to be a HUGE profit.   Even if they make a game that only costs them 2 mil to make and it sells enough to make them their development costs plus another million in profits, nope, not good enough.

    Games have become the justin bieber / michael bay movies of games.  Basically freeze dried crap based on a formula that generally does well.

    "The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently."

    - Friedrich Nietzsche

  • keithiankeithian Los Angeles, CAPosts: 3,042Member Uncommon
    I agree with everything this article wrote including the dream that they could all play together.

    There Is Always Hope!

  • Four0SixFour0Six Missoula, MTPosts: 1,181Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by keithian
    I agree with everything this article wrote including the dream that they could all play together.

    Always will be just a dream, because keyboard/mouse > controller.  MOAR buttons FTW.

  • waynejr2waynejr2 West Toluca Lake, CAPosts: 4,471Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Hrimnir

    I definitely agree that the larger potential audience is a good thing.  My concern is that the state of the game industry due to companies like EA has essentially turned into where the music and movie industry are.

    What i mean by that is they're not interested in making a game unless its going to sell like gang busters.  They'd rather milk the same IP's over and over then produce a game that could sell great but could also just do OK.  They're not interested in making just a profit, it has to be a HUGE profit.   Even if they make a game that only costs them 2 mil to make and it sells enough to make them their development costs plus another million in profits, nope, not good enough.

    Games have become the justin bieber / michael bay movies of games.  Basically freeze dried crap based on a formula that generally does well.

     Pretty much sums up the mindset they have.  Good enough isn't good enough.  We need homeruns not base hits.  Consumers don't help when they clamour for bleeding edge graphics which don't add to gameplay but are sparkly shinies that capture their attention.

    We need to be better consumers.

  • MikeBMikeB MMORPG.com Community Manager Queens, NYPosts: 5,717Administrator Uncommon
    Originally posted by Four0Six
    Originally posted by keithian
    I agree with everything this article wrote including the dream that they could all play together.

    Always will be just a dream, because keyboard/mouse > controller.  MOAR buttons FTW.

    This has nothing to do with it, actually. For example, FFXIV PS4 players will play with FFXIV PS3 players and FFXIV PC players. It has more to do with the fact that Microsoft and Sony will not allow crossplay between their platforms and likely never will.

    Michael "MikeB" Bitton
    Community Manager
    Twitter: @eMikeB

  • AG-VukAG-Vuk Phoenix, AZPosts: 823Member Uncommon
    Only if you're a console only player. The selection of MMO's are limited and this will expose a entire segment of gaming to a new population .  On the other hand PC gamers will now need to look to indie devs for MMO's , because the big studio's have all but abandoned developing MMO's for PC. The ones that are being developed are almost all cross platform games , that will preform better overall then for the past systems, but will be still be limited by console constrictions ( currently based on tech that is 2 to 3 y/o ) . ( all be it these constriction are less then they would on the old systems they are replacing. ) In 5 years games we will again find games stagnating, while awaiting the introduction ( 3 to 4 year further down the road ) of the next gen platforms by $ony and Micro$oft. 

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  • FoomerangFoomerang Portland, ORPosts: 5,564Member Uncommon

    It could be the start of a new golden age. Consider the fact that mmos have been striving to have more action based combat ala console action/adventure games. Combined with the fact that for the past 8 years, consoles have been the frontrunners for open world/ sandbox style games and you have the potential for an mmo revival.

  • jbombardjbombard SapporoPosts: 530Member Uncommon

    Doubt it.  It depends on how well the next gen consoles do.  Really you want as many customers as possible, if they also release on current gen then maybe.  Next gen is an incremental improvement over current gen much like DVD to Blu-Ray was.  This time around we have higher pricetags that don't really provide much value for the increased prices other than slightly better graphics.

     

    Also there are a number of unknowns, a lot of people don't use Vent because they don't want to do voice chat for whatever reasons.  While being more or less required for raiding, raiding is a very small percentage of MMORPG players overall.  Being there are no keyboards, voice chat is really the only method of communication, it remains to be seen how many of your average casual MMO gamers are cool with voice being the only feasible means of communication.

     

    Also people tend to play MMORPGs in long chunks of time, for people living by themselves or people with several TVs in their house this is probably not an issue, but for many people and especially teenagers the other people in your family may not be cool with you hogging the TV all day.

     

    That said, Tom Clancy's "The Division" looks totally badass.

     

  • OzmodanOzmodan Hilliard, OHPosts: 7,181Member Uncommon

    Just got done in another thread debunking that theory.  It is simple.  A console game requires a simplex UI because it has to support the controller.  Simplistic MMO's are something people play for a month or two and then move on to the next game.  Hence no developer is going to spend much time on a MMO when their audience won't stick around long.

    So yeah, you might see some console MMO's, but they will not be something to get excited about.  

    A MMO Renaissance? Pardon me while I chortle at such a suggestion.

    You really need a PC to play a full blown MMO.

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Posts: 14,770Member Uncommon

    And how exactly are consoles supposed to make MMORPGs less risky?  Developing a game for multiple platforms doesn't decrease your costs.  It increases them.

    Most likely, only a small fraction of MMORPGs will come to the new generation of consoles, for most of the same reasons that few MMORPGs were released on the old generation of consoles.  The increased system memory will help, but that's about it.  And at least early on, the new generation of consoles will have a much smaller install base than the old generation.

  • HokieHokie Vancouver Wa.Posts: 1,063Member Uncommon

    I'm gonna go slightly off topic because I somewhat have issue with what was said about Warhammer.

    I think if you look back WAR had one of the better launches they hit what around 1.2M sold. And as we all know there was considerable drop off after the 1st month. But WAR held significant sub numbers, 500K thru Lich King, and still about 300k for almost 8 months after release till Mythic/EA just more or less lost those numbers because they were stupid about it.

     

    Second point I have, you make it sound as if the PC MMO market isnt thriving. Honestly, I'd say the problem is that its over saturated. Kind of like what happened to the 80's Atari cartridge market.

    The problem we have is that all a developer has to do is inject into the title "MMO" and boom, someone is throwning money at it. Doesnt matter if its a quality game or not. Most investors dont have a clue what makes a good MMO, hence all the WoW clones.

     

    And the biggest issue I have is what you wrote is your thinking that consoles would be good for MMO's...!

    Not being, or trying to be insulting. But are you f*****g serious?!? Consoles are the worst thing that can happen to our genre.

     

    Can you imagine Oblivion and Skyrims f'd up inventory system in a MMO? That would be a reality in a shared console/PC MMO market.

    Not only that we'd see less variety in our items. Cant remember the exact video, but it was a Dust514 dev blog and he was talking about designing for console as a challenge, coming from PC design. About how he was always making decisions and cutting what he could add because of the limitations of consoles HD capacity.

     

    Or how about having the game engine de-tuned to support the limitation of console GPS. Theres a video out there on Youtube about the Crytec engine. About how it was so improved, per the developer. And someone did a side by side comparison to the old engine and the new improved one. And guess what? It improved on the console, and boned the PC players, because they lowered the draw ranges because the GPUs on the consoles couldnt render that many objects 50 feet infront of the player. So console players got a less GPU laggy game and the PC players got a crappy looking game.

     

    Consoles would be the bane of PC MMO's. You think they will make two game engines, one for the stagnated specs of a console and one that can take advantage of evolving PC hardware? They will design for the lowest common denominator, the console.

     

    Dont believe me? Look at Skyrim. Even though Bethesda succeeded because of  PC games Arena and Morrowwind, look how quick they thru to the wayside their PC fans.

    I didnt buy Skyrim for about 4 months because I was waiting for the modding community to fix the horrid console...everything.

     

    Sorry Mike I just cant believe youre heralding one of the last bastions of PC focused gaming with thinking that consoles would add to it, instead of taking away from it.

    When all of PC gaming has suffered because if it. And its right there in front of your face for the last 8 years.

     

    I respect you and your article, but I think you are so far off on this its almost scary.

     

    "I understand that if I hear any more words come pouring out of your **** mouth, Ill have to eat every fucking chicken in this room."

  • BattlerockBattlerock Youngstown, OHPosts: 1,393Member
    I think it could like others are saying mmorpgs are catching up with action style combat and now console technology is catching up. Wow has made people realize its not just flashy graphics and you actually can have less than mediocre graphics and produce a fun and sustainable title.
  • Aldous.HuxleyAldous.Huxley Monticello, MNPosts: 418Member

    Consoles will inevitably change the scope of MMO's. Hell, friends of mine who once hassled me about playing MMO's on pc are now just realizing what these games are because of console MMO's like DCUO. Console players are like China, the sleeping giant.

     

    For better or worse.

  • FoomerangFoomerang Portland, ORPosts: 5,564Member Uncommon


    Originally posted by Ozmodan
    Just got done in another thread debunking that theory.  It is simple.  A console game requires a simplex UI because it has to support the controller.  Simplistic MMO's are something people play for a month or two and then move on to the next game.  Hence no developer is going to spend much time on a MMO when their audience won't stick around long.So yeah, you might see some console MMO's, but they will not be something to get excited about.  A MMO Renaissance? Pardon me while I chortle at such a suggestion.You really need a PC to play a full blown MMO.
    I think having a controller allows for a more streamlined ui and also lets you perform more complicated moves that reward hand eye coordination.
  • rojoArcueidrojoArcueid hell, NJPosts: 6,757Member Uncommon

    MMOs on console can potentially bring more varied and improved mmo shooters to the mmo community. The few info we know about The Division and Destiny already look like the first improvements over the mmo shooters we have now (Defiance and FIrefall), and both Division and Destiny are coming to consoles. And i am totally OK with that. Let them come as long as they make the mmo (shooter) genre better.

     

    As for traditional mmo, they always play better on PC due to the freedom of the mouse not attached to a reticle and the keyboard to chat. But i welcome mmos on any platform as long as the controls are intuitive and the system isnt a limitation to the game ( cough ps3 - 360). Next Gen solved that for consoles.

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  • ElRenmazuoElRenmazuo Alexandria, VAPosts: 4,546Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Hokie

     

    What mmorpg was designed for high end PCs? they are all mostly designed for PCs with low and mid specs thats one of the biggest reasons why WoW has become so successful and same for GW2 (which you can play with a gamepad).  The PS4 has higher specs than PCs of what most people have.  Its got 8 gigs of GDDR5 ram, a amd card equivalent to a 560 GTX, and 8 core cpu. SOE even said that Planetside 2 will have its max graphics and 2000 player limit on map for PS4.  And down the line as programmers and graphics designers are more practiced in using its hardware they can optimize the games even better.  Games that come out at near the end of a consoles generation look way better graphically than the games that came out at the consoles release. For instance in terms of PS3 look at Last of Us or Beyond Two Souls compared to games that came at PS3s release.  PCs can keep coming out new hardware every few months but it doesnt mean programmers can fully optimize it since its new to them and some of the reason why new games especially mmos have so many bugs and graphical glitches and performance issues at their release because they had to design the game for so many different combinations of hardware.

    And when it comes to controls it depends on how well the developer design the game.  Because you can have a traditional mmo gameplay tab target auto attack gameplay with gamepad too.  FFXIV ARR proves that, because in it you can slot up to 32 skills on its cross-hotbar system, 16 on one hotbar set and another 16 on the second hotbar.  While the keyboard/mouse controls and UI is the same as any other traditional mmo.  The gamepad UI is very similar to the k/m UI which is why the game allows PC and PS3/PS4 players to play on same servers.

    Here is an explanation http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hqbg9_ZJLw

  • jbombardjbombard SapporoPosts: 530Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Foomerang

     


    Originally posted by Ozmodan
    Just got done in another thread debunking that theory.  It is simple.  A console game requires a simplex UI because it has to support the controller.  Simplistic MMO's are something people play for a month or two and then move on to the next game.  Hence no developer is going to spend much time on a MMO when their audience won't stick around long.

     

    So yeah, you might see some console MMO's, but they will not be something to get excited about.  

    A MMO Renaissance? Pardon me while I chortle at such a suggestion.

    You really need a PC to play a full blown MMO.


    I think having a controller allows for a more streamlined ui and also lets you perform more complicated moves that reward hand eye coordination.

     

     

     

    If you are a more action based, non RPGish MMO with very few abilities then it is OK.  Some people playing PC MMORPGs have like 16-30+ keybinds trying to do that on a standard controller is not very feasible.  Especially consider that you also have to access all of the UI from the controller as well, like inventory, quest logs, friend lists, ability trees, etc... etc...  

     

    Getting the UI right on the PC can be hard, trying to get that work right on a console is even harder, and a bad UI can ruin an otherwise good game.

    If you make the game less RPG and start removing a lot of the elements that are hard to get into the UI then you run the risk of not meeting player expectations.

     

    Not saying it can't be done.  I think Tom Clancy's "The Division" is listed as an action  MMORPG and it appears to have the trappings of an RPG, and the UI looked bad ass, it should be very interesting to see how that turns out even though it isn't a traditional fantasy RPG.

  • ElRenmazuoElRenmazuo Alexandria, VAPosts: 4,546Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by jbombard
    Originally posted by Foomerang

     


    Originally posted by Ozmodan
    Just got done in another thread debunking that theory.  It is simple.  A console game requires a simplex UI because it has to support the controller.  Simplistic MMO's are something people play for a month or two and then move on to the next game.  Hence no developer is going to spend much time on a MMO when their audience won't stick around long.

     

    So yeah, you might see some console MMO's, but they will not be something to get excited about.  

    A MMO Renaissance? Pardon me while I chortle at such a suggestion.

    You really need a PC to play a full blown MMO.


    I think having a controller allows for a more streamlined ui and also lets you perform more complicated moves that reward hand eye coordination.

     

     

     

    If you are a more action based, non RPGish MMO with very few abilities then it is OK.  Some people playing PC MMORPGs have like 16-30+ keybinds trying to do that on a standard controller is not very feasible.  Especially consider that you also have to access all of the UI from the controller as well, like inventory, quest logs, friend lists, ability trees, etc... etc...  

     

    Getting the UI right on the PC can be hard, trying to get that work right on a console is even harder, and a bad UI can ruin an otherwise good game.

    If you make the game less RPG and start removing a lot of the elements that are hard to get into the UI then you run the risk of not meeting player expectations.

     

    Not saying it can't be done.  I think Tom Clancy's "The Division" is listed as an action  MMORPG and it appears to have the trappings of an RPG, and the UI looked bad ass, it should be very interesting to see how that turns out even though it isn't a traditional fantasy RPG.

    Play FFXIV ARR with a gamepad and you will prove your self wrong.  You can slot up to 32 skills on its cross-hotbar system. And its a traditional tab target auto attack mmorpg with a deep crafting system similar to vanguard, housing similar to lotro, and many other standard mmo features.  Emotes are even used as part of gameplay in some of the quests.  PC and consoles share same servers too and no one is dumbed down.  Windows users are able to customize UI just as much as any other mmorpg too.

    Gamepad UI and Controls - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hqbg9_ZJLw

    PC UI - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYeY8dDH5XM

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