The situation for bringing MMOGs like World of Warcraft to consoles is pretty dismal, thinks Blizzard's Rob Pardo, but the next generation should be much better.
Asked what he thinks of bringing games like World of Warcraft to consoles, Blizzard's VP of Game Design Rob Pardo seems to have nothing good to say. There are multiple obstacles to doing it right. First, the controls: "Do you ship a keyboard and a mouse? DO you try to make a game that [adapts] to all the different controls and buttons?" Then, there's the issue of storage: "You'd have to eat almost the entire hard drive, and there are Xbox consoles...that don't have hard drives. So that's a big issue."
Those are the hardware problems. In addition to those, you've got the matter of the console makers themselves. Blizzard patches WoW with massive content updates, but on consoles, "the certification process is pretty arduous to do that. I know that's something Microsoft is trying to work out...but it's not going to be nearly as fast as we can do it." Finally, you've got the money issue: Pardo knows Sony and Microsoft will want cuts of subscription revenue, and that's a "hurdle."
Sounds like Pardo is pretty pessimistic about the future of MMOGs on consoles, but he's actually quite the optimist. "So there's definitely a lot of hurdles right now for doing MMOs on a console, but it can all be overcome and I think in the next generation of consoles it'll be much easier," he said.
This isn't just wishful thinking on Pardo's part. According to him Microsoft is making a concerted effort to learn how to make MMOGs work, and they're trying to learn from the best. "Microsoft has shown us some stuff they have in development and they asked us our opinion," Pardo said.