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The Random Gamer

A blog that has to do with everything gaming. (Title pending)

Author: maskedweasel

The Console Misconception (Part 1)

Posted by maskedweasel Monday June 7 2010 at 11:31AM
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I have a confession to make.  I am a console gamer.


Why then, you ask, am I on a forum dedicated to MMORPG's?  I'll get to that in more detail later on, but first a short story.  I was once approached by a man while I was at work one day, he was selling some kind of trip package to a beach or some hotel resort.  After his entire sales pitch, which I waited through patiently, he asked me if I was interested. "No."  I told him, in which he replied, "This package is fun, don't you like fun?"


It was a good sales pitch, and I wonder how many people fell for it.  How can you answer that truthfully?  Who doesn't like fun?  I ended up giving him some spiel about how I couldn't take the time off, and I just wasn't interested,  but the question remained.  What kind of person would I be to not like fun?


Lets bridge this conversation.  I love playing games, I have ever since I was a child.  Games are meant to be fun.  There are many different kinds of games on the market now.  MMOs have become some of the most popular of the gaming genres.  Though we've seen them prevalent on PCs, somewhere down the line misconceptions were drawn that somehow, console gamers do not, can not, and will not play MMOs for consoles, and - in the event of a popular console MMO - the game would be too simple for any true PC MMO gamer to take it seriously.


I heartily disagree, and below you will find the beginning of my list of these misconceptions and my answers to those that ask the question, "Why a console MMO?"


Misconception 1:  Consoles do not have the hardware capable to run a successful MMO


This is, undoubtedly incorrect.  Consoles are identical to PCs in just about all of their components though the inputs may vary.  No one can deny that as technology progresses, what once were modern technological console marvels, will eventually become older and outdated dinosaurs.  


If you are looking at the consoles we have now and you are thinking, "theres just no way we can get an MMO to work on that"  perhaps you should look in the past to what MMOs we have already on consoles and what they were running on.


   Exhibit A:  The Phantasy Star Series.  

   When I first saw the dreamcast I was absolutely floored with its  graphical capability.  I remember first dialing in on it and getting online on a web browser.  Online games on console suddenly seemed a reality, and the first iteration of Phantasy Star was a testament to what we could look forward to in the genre.  The next few Phantasy Star titles came to fruition on the Xbox, Xbox 360,  the PC, and the Playstation 2.  Though the gameplay was hub based, similar to Guild Wars, the feeling that you were out and about, even if just in a hub with other people, gave the feeling and sense of community.  Being able to group with them and see all the great emotes that were created, or just getting help on a quest was fun and enjoyable.



Exhibit B: Final Fantasy XI.


Possibly the best known Console MMO is Final Fantasy XI.  Originally released on the PlayStation 2 it went on to release on the Xbox 360, PC, and was playable on the Playstation 3.  In early revenue statistics it was said that the majority of all players playing Final Fantasy XI, more were playing on consoles than the PC.  Though it was a small margin, Final Fantasy XI showed us that playing an MMO on console is completely viable and enjoyable in the right context.  Final Fantasy XI was such a hit that its online predecessor, Final Fantasy XIV will be releasing simultaneously on PC and the Playstation 3.



If decade old hardware could run an MMO, albeit in a rudimentary fashion,  the idea that the newer, more powerful consoles couldn't run something much larger in scope is just a failure to see the obvious.


Misconception 2:  "Console players, don't want to play MMOs they only want to play single player games."


I think this is the misconception that i have the hardest time understanding.  Who gets to decide what other players enjoy and what they don't?   Though the genre has had the ability to develop MMOs for consoles we have not seen an abundance of them, but the ones that we have seen on consoles have done well.


Therefore this misconception of player segregation is unfounded.   Why discriminate against your gamer brethren for their choice of hardware?  We both enjoy games, it just may be that we don't have the same options you do in terms of MMO choices.  As a console gamer,  I love MMOs on my PC.   Some of the best fun I've had has been in MMOs.   I would love this same sense of fun on a console as well.


Why should owners of consoles have to suffer minimal MMO releases because of a misconception that console gamer can't have fun with MMOs?  To tie in my original story,  who doesn't like fun?  What kind of player base would console gamers be, if we didn't want the option of the same enjoyment that PC players have with MMOs?  Its like saying PC gamers won't want to play the next most anticipated console hit.  What would you say Gamer, do you like fun?