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Posts with tag consoles

Blizzard: "How would we bring WoW to the console?"

Sadly, the ultimate answer appears to be "very reluctantly" but it's an interesting read anyway. J. Allen Brack talks to G4 about WoW, consoles, and the barriers to entry for an MMO. The usual suspects apply, of course. WoW was designed for keyboards, consoles tend to have a short lifespan compared to the development time of a MMO, and WoW currently takes up about 15gb worth of memory while consoles like an XBox 360 have at most 20gb worth of hard drive space without buying any additions. This is no surprise, of course... they've said all this before.

What I really found interesting was that this is supposedly something they think about a lot. "In the case of WoW, we talk about it all the time." I'm the curious sort, so I find myself wondering why, given all the reasons Brack himself lists. Personally, I'd love to see a single player Warcraft property of some sort for consoles, perhaps a God of War style action game or even a Dragon Age/Mass Effect hybrid RPG. And who knows, perhaps Blizzard will come up with a way to do it despite their laundry list of reasons why they won't, they've surprised me before.

Filed under: Blizzard, News items

Pardo says Blizzard still not interested in bringing WoW to consoles

Blizzard has never been keen to put WoW on consoles -- while there have always been rumors, they've never bothered showing much interest. And in a new interview with IndustryGamers, Blizzard's Rob Pardo tells us why: the controller issue remains a problem (it's certainly possible to map WoW onto a controller, but not yet in any way Blizzard would approve of), and modern consoles have come up with even more problems of their own. A hard drive, says Pardo, would be pretty much required, since WoW is up to around 10gb so far, but even the Xbox 360 (which now commonly allows game installs on the HD) still doesn't guarantee players will have that much space available. And Pardo says that while they have been in talks with Microsoft about what the two companies can do together, he says he's wary of the patching process over there -- it's not exactly as quick as they'd like.

So it remains unlikely that we'll ever see WoW in its current form on any console systems -- while there's probably lots of money to be made, the game was designed from the ground up to be a PC game, and there are still too many issues flying around (and it's likely too late in the game's lifetime) for Blizzard to try and make the jump. But that next-gen MMO...

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Hardware

Blizzard's hate (/love?) relationship with consoles

Rumors are bubbling up from GDC '09 that Blizzard is finally considering consoles again for their future games. Blizzard seems to have a hate/hate relationship with consoles -- despite the fact that they started out with some extremely popular console games (Lost Vikings was one of the best games on the Sega Genesis), they've become very solidly a PC gaming company in the past few years. Sure, they released Starcraft 64 and the Playstation port of Diablo, but since Starcraft: Ghost left a bad taste in their mouths, they've stayed away from the console market (and some might say that's saved the PC market).

The main problem, says Rob Pardo, is one of control: console controllers just don't have the flexibility to do what Blizzard wants to do with their games. "If I were them," he told the press, "I'd be sitting around trying to figure out what's a cool new input device that supports all types of new kinds of games." And he also hinted that he might be trying to do just that -- Blizzard is apparently in talks with Microsoft, not to develop for this generation of consoles, but to help them advance to the next generation. This is a little more than just Diablo III on the Xbox 360 (though that's definitely a possibility) -- it's Blizzard possibly getting the chance to bring what they love about PC gaming to the next console generation.

Heady stuff. Blizzard doesn't need to do anything these days, of course -- if they want to take their next sequel and release it in, say, three separate parts, they can do that and it will likely still be a hit. But if they want to set their sights on innovating in the console space, we'll probably all benefit.

Filed under: Odds and ends, Blizzard, Economy, Hardware

Play WoW with a PS3 controller


We all know Blizzard hasn't exactly been a fan of consoles and that our favorite game isn't likely to arrive in console form anytime soon, but reader Spazzer showed us how he plays World of Warcraft with a PlayStation 3 controller. Spazzer attached his PS3 controller to his MacBook Pro and hooked up his laptop to the TV, which he says is "effectively the same as playing on a PS3." So it's not exactly playing on a PS3 but it also sorta kinda is.

Spazzer points Mac users in the direction of two freely downloadable programs to play WoW console-style -- an obscure driver for the PS3 controller and a game pad emulator to help with all the key bindings. When Blizzard game designer Jonathan LeCraft was interviewed last year, he stressed that "you really do need a keyboard to play WoW". It seems like someone seems to have already sidestepped that limitation using readily available tools, and Spazzer points out that resourceful Windows users will easily be able to replicate the same trick. Could this herald a new era for WoW or console gaming? Or, uh, just a bunch of free HKs?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff

Blizzard doesn't hate consoles, it's just a square peg and a round hole

We love diversity when it comes to controlling our WoW time. There's a seemingly infinite sea of AddOns and custom UI options. You can even hook up a treadmill, and simulate your character running in live action. However, except for a few custom hacks, like rigging your Wii up to control your character's direction, WoW is not playable on your console gaming device.

There's always been quite a few folks who'd like to be able to play WoW on their Xbox or Playstation. But, according to J. Allen Brack in an interview with VideoGamer.com, that's not going to happen any time soon. "World of Warcraft is designed as a PC game," Brack said. "It's designed to have a keyboard and a mouse. So the controls and the control scheme that you have are very PC centric. If you think about mapping those controls and all those different type of buttons that you have to a console without a keyboard for chatting, it's a very challenging proposition."

I think that makes a lot of sense. When you talk about keybinds, control combinations using the Shift and Alt keys, mouse buttons, Addons, customization -- it just seems like an awful lot to try and cram onto a Xbox controller. To even make it feasible, it seems like you'd have to add some kind of keyboard to the device. And even then, AddOn customization wouldn't be the same.

Tom Chilton summed it up by saying "It's just more like a square peg round hole thing for our game. "

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Interviews

Blizzard says MMOs might work on consoles, but not WoW

Here's one more interview with the folks at Blizzard from Leipzig today -- play.tm sat down with J. Allen Brack and Tom Chilton during their interview marathon to chat more about Wrath of the Lich King and our favorite game. Unfortunately, with all the talking they've been doing lately, there's a little reptition -- we hear again that the game will provide content for both hardcore and casual players, and they mention a possible graphical overhaul again.

Their answers about the "biggest advancement" in Wrath are interesting though -- Brack says that he thinks the fact that they're introducing a new class to the game for the first time has been the biggest design challenge so far. Chilton is excited about the achievements (as am I) -- they should provide a lot of new ways for players to extend their gameplay and get rewarded for new accomplishments.

They also talk about a few things players don't usually associate with MMOs: social networks and consoles. Brack says that both are possibilities for Blizzard, though consoles wouldn't really work with World of Warcraft as we know it. Any MMO, they say, for consoles would have to be designed from the ground up to work with the hardware, and that's not something (including the next-gen MMO, we assume) that Blizzard is working on at the moment.

Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Expansions, Leveling, Interviews, Wrath of the Lich King

WoW on Zazoox stations

Soley saw something strange at the airport in Denver: a console with PC games on it, including none other than World of Warcraft. Apparently there was a kiosk with a bunch of different games installed on it, and for a small fee, you could jump in and play any number of games, from Valve's FPSes (including Portal!) to our own big MMORPG.

The company doing this is called Zazoox -- they have a site that shows off all of their different consoles and offers them (for a price and a service charge) to vendors who can then put them up in public places. World of Warcraft isn't actually on their games list yet, so apparently it's just being tested in Denver and other places. Apparently, the price is 25 cents a minute, but as some of the commenters to Soley's post say, if you're entering your WoW password on what is basically a public computer and something goes wrong, it could cost you a lot more than that.

Of course, overseas in Asia, this kind of thing is common -- the vast majority of WoW players there play in public cafes and Internet houses, and in fact the pricing scheme of the game itself there is per hour, not per month like it is here. But for some reason, this kind of ubiquitous public gaming has never taken off in the West -- maybe Zazoox's consoles will get people playing out in public.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Hardware

Blizzard just says no to consoles (or do they?)

Xbox 360Our friends at Joystiq have pointed out an interview with Blizzard's VP of business development, Itzik Ben Bassat, at GameIndustry.biz. In it, he again confirms yearly expansions -- though he didn't let slip any details on what we might see in the next one. However, he has some interesting things to say about gaming consoles, summed up in this quote:

Consoles are becoming sophisticated PCs which sit in the living room... We'll have to see how all this develops. Maybe in five years you won't need a console because you'll have one PC which delivers content all over your house.

No plans to bring World of Warcraft to the console market, then? Bassat says there are no plans to bring the game to consoles, though Blizzard is keeping a close eye on the next gen machines, especially their online services. And he has nothing but good to say about Xbox Live Arcade:

I'm very impressed, I'm impressed by the people who do it, and the service is very easy, very intuitive. I love it.

Is anyone else getting mixed signals here?

Filed under: Blizzard, News items

Blizzard developer says WoW unlikely for consoles

Pro-G caught up with Blizzard game designer Jonathan LeCraft, and got a little bit of an interview out of him (they promise a full-length interview on Thursday). The interesting bits:
  • "You really do need a keyboard to play WoW"
  • Wii-controlled WoW "got to be pretty easy to PvP against"
  • WoW on consoles not in the plans, although they do keep it "on the radar"
  • Blizzard has the "capacity" for another MMO, possibly in a different license (if you're reading this, blue: Diablo MMO plz)
Do you think there is any way WoW could work without a keyboard? I don't really see it happening myself. And what MMO would you most like to see Blizzard come out with next?

Filed under: Odds and ends, Blizzard

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