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Console MMOs set to take off in 2-3 years - Monumental

As format holders work out solutions to payment issues, developer set to make early market entry within months

Monumental Games, the UK developer behind PC MMO Football Superstars and upcoming Capcom racer MotoGP 09/10, has said that it will be 2-3 years before the big players enter the MMO console space as they wait for issues relating to subscriptions and royalty shares to be resolved.

In the meantime, the company told, it has its own plans to make steps into the space early, possibly starting with a licensed title set to be announced in the coming months.

"I think the big players will start moving into console MMOs now that the format holders are moving in themselves and releasing the ability to do console MMOs: like billing, who gets the share, do they have to use PlayStation Store, what's the royalty share, hard-drive downloads and so on," said Rik Alexander, the company's CEO and co-founder.

"Now those hurdles have been gone through then everybody's going to be moving into it. I think it'll be 2-3 years before the main players, or rather the normal players get into it. But we want to just be part of the solution, so we'll be 2-3 years into knowing about console MMOs before anybody else thinks about it."

"Online's the exciting place," he added, as he outlined his studio's plans to launch a 3D Facebook MMO in June, as well as its ongoing work on owned IP Hunter's World.

"We're currently talking to a big North American publisher about a deal on a console MMO, which we'll hopefully announce in the next three months or something. We've already ported our tech onto it - it's an ongoing process, we're still developing tools and so on."

Console MMOs have been slow to emerge on the current generation platforms, with Final Fantasy XI the only one properly nailing the experience. Sony Online's plans to bring Free Realms to PlayStation 3 appear to have stalled and Realtime Worlds' APB is now only in development for PC, although a future Xbox 360 version hasn't been completely ruled out.

The ideal model for a console MMO will need to be defined, added Alexander. Retail packages with subscriptions could be an option, as could a hybrid micro-transaction model - "We're not going to define, we just want to be part of the solution," he said.

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Latest comments (7)

Aidan Fitzpatrick Artist 11 years ago
Hard to imagine justifying a 40 xbox live Gold account fee, 30-40 for the game and a monthly 10-15 or so Sub fee all for the sake of one game.
I think that for a console MMO to be successful they will need to seriously consider a wider range of revenue options - ie. Micro Transactions, stand alone episodes (like guild wars), in game ads etc.
That and somehow placate Sony and Microsoft.

It'll be interesting to see who pulls it off first.
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Terence Gage Freelance writer 11 years ago
Depending on what people consider to be the boundaries for a straight MMO, I wouldn't be at all surprised to see an MMO entry in the Call of Duty series. Given how successful the series is, I imagine Activision would be salivating at the thought of a subsciption-based persistent online shooter. A bit like PlanetSide, but more mainstream.

I believe Ubisoft were also talking about a Tom Clancy MMO just after acquiring the rights to the name. I could see that going down well particularly in North America.
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Joseph Marlow Blogger 11 years ago
I guess the obvious two to keep an eye on are Final Fantasy XIV and DC Universe Online on PS3. I'm not prepared to pay a subscription, and any console player I speak to agrees.
The good news is that it's happening and is merely down to logistics.
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Show all comments (7)
Mike Kebby Marketing Manager, Green Man Gaming11 years ago
Having subscribed to various MMOs in the past, I would consider playing and subbing to a console based MMO, but only if it felt right. Looking beyond the typical ideas of what an MMO is (I imagine the barrier for most console owners is how the keyboard and mouse configuration could be adequately translated to a console) and imaging what a more mainstream MMO could be like for console, I see no great barrier really. As long as whatever console MMOs come along are designed for consoles from the ground up (with a fluid and well designed control scheme), then potentially this could be very successful.

I'm sure there would be various payment options too not just a standard subscription model, as console owners (those who do not game on the PC) would probably not feel comfortable with a subscription only model.
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Jason Avent Studio Head / Creative Director, TT Games Publishing11 years ago
Lots of people are thinking about console MMO's including the 'big players'. As soon as Sony and Microsoft settle their subscription billing and infrastructure plans, the floodgates will open. With a bit of creativity, there is nothing to stop any major franchise from becoming an MMO.
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Ruud Van De Moosdijk VP of Development, Engine Software11 years ago
It might be nitpicking, but people that make these kind of comments should be aware of the fact that there already is a console MMO, and it has been around for 7 years. And it's multi-platform-on-the-same-servers too. I am talking about Final Fantasy XI of course, released on PS2, PC and X360. I can understand the view that with the much wider online abilities of this generation of consoles, give developers the expectations of platform-holder support on payments and infrastructure, but a console MMO can be done, has been done, and will be done a lot more.
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Stephen McCarthy Studying Games Technology, Kingston University11 years ago
Ruud>But how well did Final Fantasy XI there?
Aidan Fitzpatrick > Final Fantasy XI did not need gold for you to play it, just the Sub fee for it.
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