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Big publishers ready to "play hard" in portable MMO space

Conservative companies waiting for break-out hit on iPhone/tablets before entering sector

MMO veteran and NCsoft West executive producer Jeremy Gaffney has said that massively multiplayer online games have the potential to hit it big on formats other than PC, and predicted that once one sets the standard, publishers will flock to new formats.

"I think we'll see a big hit in the tablet and iPhone space, I think we'll see a big hit in the console space," said Gaffney to GamesIndustry.biz in an in-depth interview published today.

"There are some pretty good games experimenting with that on iPhone and tablet - one of those is going to hit at some point, and once it does all the big boys who are so conservative with all their money are going to come in too and play hard in that space."

One of those is going to hit at some point, and once it does all the big boys who are so conservative with all their money are going to come in too and play hard in that space.

Jeremy Gaffney, NCsoft West

He acknowledged that the main difficulty for MMOs on formats other than PC is that development periods are out of sync with the rapid iteration of hardware, but still believed the potential to become market leader on new formats is up for grabs.

"If you have a five-year development cycle, trying to hit a console is very hard, because the hardware may change in that time. So all of a sudden the console you're working on went away, or it's 'hey let's sign up for the PlayStation 7 six years in advance', and who knows where the market is by the time you come out. Because of that it's very difficult to go to console.

"It's similarly difficult in iPhone and tablets because generations of that come out faster than your development cycle."

The full interview with Gaffney, where he discusses the pros and cons of free-to-play versus subscriptions, managing falling players numbers following big MMO releases and the future of online play, can be read here.

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Matt Martin

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Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.

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