Should More MMORPGs Consider Launching On Consoles?
The rise and fall of the MMORPG genre will always go down in history on the PC, but is it time for a new age of console MMOs? It’s not exactly a taboo topic anymore. Several big name MMORPGs have in fact, made the big jump to launch their games on consoles to varied degrees of success. And we cannot deny it any longer, that consoles are a part of next generation gaming, and it would be foolish to disregard that.
But there’s so much to consider when one wants to launch on consoles. The work involved, the marketing, and of course the game play itself. Simply porting the game over with PC controls won’t do, and to optimize the game will require resources. But is the pay off worth it? Why should MMO developers embrace the age of Console MMOs?
1. Reaching An Entire New Audience
The first reason and possible the most obvious is to reach out to an entirely new set of audience. Console gamers are simple. Appealing to them involves a solid-immersive game that players can enjoy comfortably on their couches. This means more streamlined controls on a controller, and a simple UI system. A lot of us also tend to forget that majority of console players play online games. That is right in the MMORPG backyard. Nothing screams more fun that raiding a dungeon together with friends right?
When Neverwinter moved to consoles, a lot of people questioned the move. Why kill the game’s PC audience in favor of those couch potatoes? The fact is, the game itself needed more revenue being free to play and all, and what better way to gain more players than to embrace consoles?
2. Risk or Reward?
But let’s not discount the fact that it’s a huge risk to launch on consoles. Bigger games can always get away with it, because of the popularity or the intellectually property of the game that will attract the crowd. What about smaller MMOs, with brand new IPs and stories? That’s a calculated risk that these developers have to take. The general consensus seems to be that the smaller and less well known your MMOs, just stick to PC.
More established industry names however, will always reap the rewards for a console move. Look at the Elder Scrolls Online. It took a beating for its terrible PC launch in 2014, and when half the player base jumped ship, the game made a complete U-turn. Besides a game play revamp, business model change and reduced restrictions, Tamriel Unlimited brought the game to consoles. The game now has over eight million players across all platforms, and revenue is bringing more content to the game. It’s safe to say that there’s good rewards for Console MMOs.
3. Double The Work
While us players may think console moves are easy as turning on a switch, we’d all be fooling ourselves. A lot of money and manpower goes into these launches, and bigger MMORPGs are usually able to find the resources to do so. This is probably why we don’t see smaller and niche MMORPGs on consoles just yet. Recently, Tera made it known that the MMO will be coming to consoles. Prior to that, they went on a huge recruitment drive to hire the best engineers to code their game for consoles.
So it isn’t just something that games can crank out in a month or two. It’s an entirely huge operation that’s separate from the core game maintenance. But again, I standby my stance that consoles should be leverage to further enhance the revenue streams for MMOs. With Wildstar not doing too well in particular, I can totally see that game moving to consoles in order to save it.