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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Console MMO's And You

Ars Technica takes a look at a genre that is likely to expand soon - the console MMO:

Maintaining a good gaming computer is costly, so being able to play an MMO on the couch with a stable and standard console has proven to be the most enjoyable route for me. Though I have played and continue to play many PC MMOs, I've come to prefer their console counterparts. With the way that the Xbox 360 is allowing developers to use a similar code-base for both a 360 and a PC version of a single title, I'd like to see the option available in the future.

There are other advantages to console-based MMORPGs as well. The locked platform of the console is less prone to hacking (though not immune), and with a more stable and predictable user platform, tweaks can be made to the games to better facilitate code; compensation for different rigs will be rendered unnecessary.
-- Console MMOs: looking towards the future

They take a good look at titles like Huxley and Conan. Considering all three modern consoles are dishing out some kind of online goodness, I can't imagine that this won't get legs pretty soon. And honestly, once we go down that path - what is there for the PC gaming world once World of Warcraft moves to the living room? First person shooters were once a key reason for keeping your PC rig alive, but Halo has officially busted that concept out of the water.

So what would that leave? Real time strategy? The MMO genre is a massive draw for PC gaming at the moment ... if interest in that declines the market is possibly going to take a hit.

The next couple of years will be interesting to see how faithful Microsoft really is to the PC gaming market. Right now - I'm not impressed. Halo 2 being a Vista exclusive is a slap in the face to XP gamers worldwide. I honestly don't know why the only Live Arcade title slated for Games For Windows treatment would be UNO. Your average gaming rig is easily capable of running anything the 360 can - but Microsoft insists on keeping titles like Gears of War to push 360 sales while PC gamers can look forward to what? Live Anywhere? Oh yeah, still for Vista only.

Sadly most of what I have to be excited about with a newly upgraded PC is the ability to play bargain titles at full clip.


Unknown said...

Wait, this isn't about LOST. What's going on here? ;^)

Patrick said...

I believe the migration of hardcore genre patterns to a console environment only belies their "perfect" adaptation to serve a particular niche (hardcore gamers) with maximal efficiency. But perfect adaptation is death. The most exciting stuff is going to be happening on the internet, in the form of web-based MMOs and innovative downloadable content. These will move to the console eventually, and the PC and console will also become much more similar. Right now though, the most casual gaming maching you can own is a Mac or an old PC, thats where the biggest market is (by a power of ten) and thats where the ecology is going to diversify most rapidly.

Josh said...

I think the battle between Mac/PC casual gaming and Xbox Live casual gaming is pretty fierce. XBLA continues to be one of the best reasons to have a 360, and that's a statement true even after the 360 stopped sucking :)

I don't think anytime soon we'll see PC market as dry and arid as the Mac market - but its going to get close. Right now the Mac gets mostly aftermarket PC ports.

At this rate - the PC is going to be dominated by 360 ports.

So the follow up question is - can PC casual or downloadable gaming eclipse that?

Josh said...

Oh, and Lost post later today :)