It’s a crying shame when Blizzard’s World of Warcraft manages to beat Nintendo and Game Freak to releasing an online creature collecting-battling game, and inside an already successful MMO, to boot. It’s another however when there’s no sign that other developers are capitalising on the buzz surrounding SEGA’s Phantasy Star Online 2, an MMORPG for the PC, but also – and more importantly – for the Playstation Vita.
The impact of a full-scale, portable MMO is huge. They’ve appeared in various forms on the mobile platform already, but on a dedicated portable gaming console, the idea of being able to delve into something with the depth of World of Warcraft (it’s not like the Vita can’t run it, to be fair) should excite everyone from Runescape devotees to frequenters of partycasino.com. Sounds good, right?
Well, then why aren’t there more of them? Although it might be a WiFi or at least a heavy-data-usage experience for those who want to game MMO-style on a portable, the allure of being able to connect with so many and experience and expansive world of the scale usually only seen in MMO titles is easy to see.
But will it work? MMOs tend to be RPGs with many skills and menus. As a result, you usually need a keyboard. But an RPG hack-and-slash, an MMOFPS or any number of genres utilising a massively-multiplayer online approach are going to be popular, especially if it either lacks a subscription fee or allows people to sign up at a lower cost than World of Warcraft.
Phantasy Star Online 2 really will be the biggest test of portable MMO play, and will probably form the basis for whether or not other developers, publishers and even console manufacturers pursue the idea of an MMO title on their dedicated portable platform. Fingers crossed, right?