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The elusive breed of the console MMO

Eliot Lefebvre

Much like the Loch Ness Monster, the console MMO is a rarely-seen creature which nevertheless has captured the imagination of many. (Unlike the monster, console MMOs are not admitted hoaxes perpetuated by willing disbelief and a lakeside town's need for tourist revenue.) We've yet to see much progress made toward console MMOs, despite the huge available market (see also: China) and the increasingly robust hardware of consoles. Even more notable is the fact we've already seen publishers promising the game for consoles without it happening, with Age of Conan and Champions Online being the biggest offenders. What's the problem?

Syp recently asked and tried to answer this very question, noting that most of the problems come from the console hardware, both its short lifespan and lack of several input devices. Still, it hasn't stopped many from playing and enjoying Final Fantasy XI on the Playstation 2, nor does Sqare-Enix seem worried about placing Final Fantasy XIV on a console. The lifespan of consoles can also be somewhat elastic -- almost anyone who plays console games holds on to their systems longer than their market lifespan. Gordon at We Fly Spitfires believes it may be a split in audience, since computers are more ubiquitous than consoles -- but computers capable of serious gaming are far less common than the PS2. Whether a hardware issue or one of audiience, the breed remains elusive, though the subject of far fewer undewater searches and TV specials than the aforementioned lake monster.

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