When most people think of Massively Multiplayer Online Games, or MMO‘s for short, the current generation of home consoles does not come to mind, usually. While the genre has seen some success on home consoles thanks to games like Final Fantasy XI and Phantasy Star Online, most MMO purists still favor the PC platform. However, if the assertions of developer Funcom are to be believed, the Nintendo Wii U might change all of that.
In speaking about their current project, The Secret World, the developers behind Anarchy Online and Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures hinted that the Wii U’s technology would be perfect for these types of games. In an interview with Official Nintendo Magazine, Funcom developer Joel Bylos pointed to the Wii U as having the potential to appropriately serve fans of MMO games who traditionally choose PC. His main point is centered around the unique tablet controller, which Bylos indicates could support the “hotbars” (one-click tabs to which you can map spells, items, potions, etc) that are MMO staples, and the 3D spatial movement could also benefit such games on the console. Bylos goes further to say “Wii U could be the first real console on which running an MMORPG without compromise is plausible.” The Wii U software line-up including games such as the confirmed Dragon Quest X: The Five Awakening Races Online, and the rumored release of Phantasy Star Online 2, lend some credibility to these claims.
So will the Wii U become the last bastion for those wanting the MMO experience on a home console? While there have been differing reports on whether or not the Wii U’s horsepower will be able to match the current generation of consoles, let alone the next one, the appeal of a typical MMO is a quality online experience as opposed to best-in-class graphics and sound. With the Wii U’s capability of providing online play and the upcoming introduction of the Nintendo Network, this is not as crazy a notion as it might initially seem. The real question is whether or not MMO players will embrace the experience on a console. Time will tell.