A big piece of Neverwinter news floated across my desk today, one that will leave an interesting mark on Cryptic Studios' now nearly one year old title.
The first is technically 'old' news in that it was revealed in China over a month ago. Perfect World Entertainment CEO Xiao Hong confirmed that Neverwinter will be arriving for both the PlayStation 4 and the XBox 1 consoles, though the timing is as yet unclear. You may remember that PWE launched a console-only division late in 2013.
Neverwinter's console version will join other heavy-hitting MMOs including Final Fantasy XIV, DC Universe Online, Warhammer 40k: Eternal Crusade, War Thunder, Elder Scrolls Online, Destiny and many others.
A cursory glance at the comments in that particular thread reveals that a lot of players are very interested in seeing Neverwinter ported to consoles and that, in fact, to some it seems much more like a typical "console" title than a PC one. Whether or not our readers will play the console version will remain to be seen. The far more interesting issue is the fact that yet another game is making the plunge into the fledgling console MMO market.
There's no question that consoles are going to have a huge impact on game development, a trend we have seen as AAA titles have been announced, many with simultaneous development for consoles and PC gaming rigs. It's a huge untapped market right now and one that developers simply cannot ignore. That said, the tangential concern is that consoles are fixed hardware without much, if any, ability to be upgraded in the same way that a PC can see years of improvement by simply replacing components to improve performance. Given that, game development is limited in what it can accomplish so that the specifications of the consoles it is being created for are met.
It's not to say that developing simultaneous releases for PC and consoles is a bad thing. It's simply to say that this is a new and emerging trend in game development that will be fascinating to watch as it grows and changes with the ever-changing console market.
What about you? Will you be playing Neverwinter on console? Do you already play MMOs on consoles? What do you think of the trend? Let us know in the comments.