When will MMOs captivate console owners?

MMOs have long been successful on the PC. But in recent years, they have fallen flat on the console. At least one developer believes that will change going forward.

Don Reisinger
CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read

Massively multiplayer online video games, or MMOs, are huge on the PC. They are led by World of Warcraft, a game that has achieved the kind of success newcomers like Star Trek Online can only hope to attain.

On the console side, MMOs have yet to take root. Final Fantasy XI aside, consoles have become the graveyards for MMOs. Whether or not that will change anytime soon is decidedly up for debate. But at least one developer believes that in a few years, we will start seeing MMOs enjoy unprecedented success on consoles.

"I think it'll be two to three years before the main players, or rather the normal players, get into [MMOs on consoles]," Rik Alexander, CEO and co-founder of MMO developer Monumental Games told GamesIndustry.biz in a recent interview.

Alexander said that finally, console makers are starting to make it easier for MMOs to succeed, citing billing, royalties, and "hard-drive downloads," as key issues that hardware companies have worked out with publishers.

That said, Alexander has a vested interest in seeing MMOs gain ground in the console market. He told GamesIndustry.biz that he is currently in talks with a U.S. publisher to release an MMO to home consoles at some point in the future. So, a level of speculation should be maintained.

Regardless, Alexander brings up an interesting issue. Are console gamers really ready for MMOs?

The industry might be. MMOs are big business. Activision Blizzard, the company behind World of Warcraft, reported in its third-quarter filing with the SEC that it generated $939 million in MMO role-playing game, or "MMORPG" revenue for the nine months ending on September 30, 2009. In other words, MMOs generate major cash.

Whether or not console gamers will play MMOs is unknown. But with the growth of online gaming through services like Xbox Live, now is certainly the best time for an MMO maker to consider bringing a game to the Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, or PlayStation 3.