Cheats and Walkthroughs
With the amount of money that World of Warcraft generates on the PC and Mac, Blizzard Entertainment is used to getting this question: where is World of Warcraft for consoles?
The games industry hasn't had much luck getting MMOs off the ground on consoles, with Square Enix's Final Fantasy XI proving a rare exception to the rule. At DICE last month, I asked World of Warcraft lead producer J. Allen Brack what was stopping the genre from transitioning over.
"I think there's a lot of reasons," said Brack. "There's not one thing. One is, it takes a long time to develop an MMO. The lifecycle of consoles being what they are, you have to really time when your console's going to come out, what its projected lifecycle is going to be with when your game is going to be, which is challenging."
Naturally, the discussion quickly turned to his own ongoing MMO, World of Warcraft.
"In the case of WoW, we talk about it all the time," he said. "How would we bring WoW to the console?"
Brack immediately pointed to one huge problem: World of Warcraft's "footprint" (the total hard drive size for the game, patches and all) is around 15GBs. That's a pretty big memory commitment. Some Xbox 360s, for example, don't even have a hard drive and many of them are limited to just 20GB.
"There's those technical challenges," he explained, "there's patching challenges, there's the quality controls that we have vs. the quality controls that say, a Microsoft or Sony or Nintendo has. All those things sort of raise the bar in terms of the challenges and then specifically in the case of WoW, WoW was designed to be a keyboard game and its control scheme and its camera controls and the number of abilities that you have and the spells and how things work are very keyboard-centric. The idea of translating that to a gamepad is a very, very challenging proposition."
Even though the concept of a console version of World of Warcraft remains a hot topic even internally at Blizzard, Brack appeared to declare the near-final word on the fate of the idea. Brace yourself!
"I think it's unlikely that WoW comes to the consoles," he said, dashing hopes and dreams. "It is something that we talk about on a pretty regular basis, but someone is going to figure out how to make an MMO on a console and they're going to be wildly successful. I have no doubt about that."
Will that problem also be the case for the company's still-mysterious new MMO? Time will tell.