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Blizzard: World of Warcraft Not for Consoles

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 43 comments

If Blizzard is to make an MMO for a console, it won't be World of Warcraft.

While some game developers who have traditionally been making franchises for the PC have ported its games to find great success on consoles such as the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, Blizzard isn't ready to jump on that wagon just yet.

The World of Warcraft is undoubtedly the juggernaut of the online PC gaming world, but Blizzard isn't so keen on the idea of trying to cash in on console gamers just yet.

G4TV asked World of Warcraft lead producer J. Allen Brack what may be stopping MMO's from crossing over into the world of consoles.

"I think there's a lot of reasons," said Brack. "There's not one thing. One is, it takes a long time to develop an MMO. The lifecycle of consoles being what they are, you have to really time when your console's going to come out, what its projected lifecycle is going to be with when your game is going to be, which is challenging."

Blizzard launched World of Warcraft in November 2004, a year before the Xbox 360 hit the market, and two years before the debut of the PlayStation 3.

Even if Blizzard had considered putting World of Warcraft on the then-state-of-the-art consoles, the company would be facing technical challenges today that it doesn't encounter on the PC and Mac. Brack listed patching challenges and differing quality control standards to what Microsoft or Sony or Nintendo enforces.

"All those things sort of raise the bar in terms of the challenges and then specifically in the case of WoW, WoW was designed to be a keyboard game and its control scheme and its camera controls and the number of abilities that you have and the spells and how things work are very keyboard-centric," Brack added. "The idea of translating that to a gamepad is a very, very challenging proposition."

Brack admitted, however, that Blizzard often considers an MMO product for consoles, but it's not going to be one related to the current World of Warcraft. In a near-conclusive statement, Brack said, "I think it's unlikely that WoW comes to the consoles."

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  • 21 Hide
    pumakrieg , March 9, 2010 9:24 PM
    A modest PC can kill any "graphics machine" console. Then again, they do cost more.
  • 18 Hide
    restatement3dofted , March 9, 2010 10:00 PM
    hakestermanI'll take Console gameing over a PC any day of the week. Everytime you buy a PC game you have to waisttime configuring your new game to your system. Is your graphic's card supported in this game????Guess i'llhave to go online and research. Will my sound card work proper????? How much memmory does it require???? bla bla bla and so on. Ok now it's loaded, wait a minute i can't play yet, oh that's right i got to configure the controller to the new game. Ok now can i play right???, whoops nope, i got to enter copy protection code and also register it online. Ok now i'm playing it, yep were doing good. Opps i just got a windows crash, dam it all i should of got this game for my console. Yea!


    I recently switched back to PC gaming, and haven't had a single issue. Open Steam, choose my game, play game. Is it running smoothly? If yes, either play, or see if I can increase my graphics settings. If no, decrease graphics settings. It's a 15-second process.

    If you're having to constantly monitor whether your GPU is compatible, or whether you have enough RAM, you know it's time to upgrade your system. If you have anything other than on-board sound, you've probably wasted money.

    You make it sound like PC gaming is some incredible hassle, when the development of things like Steam have really simplified it. Hell, with Steam I don't even need physical media anymore, even for the newest games, and my purchase history is stored remotely. No discs to swap or scratch, which means no need to get up from my desk to play something different. Sounds like a win to me.
  • 15 Hide
    restatement3dofted , March 9, 2010 9:33 PM
    Jakew120The only thing I can currently think of that consoles have going for them is that they are graphics machines. But, in all honesty, amazing graphics never really impressed me. I do not care if something is 10% more life-like, as long as the graphics don't hinder my play, I am fine.


    "Graphics machines" in what sense? The only point in a console's lifetime that it is potentially competitive with the graphics capabilities of even a mid-range PC is right at launch, and even then that's far from guaranteed. You can't upgrade a console's hardware, other than maybe upping your storage space, and so within a few months you're almost certainly going to be running hardware that's inferior to what you can dump into a PC.

    The only thing consoles have going for them is that the hardware is optimized for what the system is doing, and designed with permanency in mind - when you build a console, you know you're stuck with the same guts for the machine's lifetime. That keeps it functioning at acceptable levels until the company releases its next generation of consoles, but it's still going to lag quite far behind even a marginally upgraded PC.
Other Comments
  • -9 Hide
    jakew120 , March 9, 2010 8:59 PM
    What is the fascination with consoles anyways? I prefer a PC to anything. The only thing I can currently think of that consoles have going for them is that they are graphics machines. But, in all honesty, amazing graphics never really impressed me. I do not care if something is 10% more life-like, as long as the graphics don't hinder my play, I am fine.
  • -6 Hide
    nekoangel , March 9, 2010 9:20 PM
    old by a few years.
  • 10 Hide
    touchdowntexas13 , March 9, 2010 9:22 PM
    Jakew120What is the fascination with consoles anyways? I prefer a PC to anything. The only thing I can currently think of that consoles have going for them is that they are graphics machines. But, in all honesty, amazing graphics never really impressed me. I do not care if something is 10% more life-like, as long as the graphics don't hinder my play, I am fine.


    wait, what?
  • 21 Hide
    pumakrieg , March 9, 2010 9:24 PM
    A modest PC can kill any "graphics machine" console. Then again, they do cost more.
  • -1 Hide
    tayb , March 9, 2010 9:25 PM
    It's the controller and Microsoft's strict XBL policies. It's certainly not a hardware issue as both the Xbox 360 and the PS3 could easily run World of Warcraft. And really, why would Microsoft want keyboard/mouse support on the Xbox 360? They sell copies of Windows for that kind of gaming support.
  • -6 Hide
    Honis , March 9, 2010 9:32 PM
    The guy brings up some interesting points that are very apparent in Final Fantasy XI. The PC (and to a limited degree the 360) versions are being held back by the space and capabilities of the original PS2 (since the slim can't mount a hard drive).

    That being said, FFXI has the best and most diverse interface of any MMO I have ever played. Being able to move from a PS2 controller, to a laptop keyboard, to a full keyboard (no mouse required in any setup) and only lose the ability to chat when on the PS2 controller is extremely nice. The no mouse required part is something I encourage all MMOs to adopt. It allows for a more laid back experience since you can play while sitting in almost any chair (I prefer my recliner).
  • 15 Hide
    restatement3dofted , March 9, 2010 9:33 PM
    Jakew120The only thing I can currently think of that consoles have going for them is that they are graphics machines. But, in all honesty, amazing graphics never really impressed me. I do not care if something is 10% more life-like, as long as the graphics don't hinder my play, I am fine.


    "Graphics machines" in what sense? The only point in a console's lifetime that it is potentially competitive with the graphics capabilities of even a mid-range PC is right at launch, and even then that's far from guaranteed. You can't upgrade a console's hardware, other than maybe upping your storage space, and so within a few months you're almost certainly going to be running hardware that's inferior to what you can dump into a PC.

    The only thing consoles have going for them is that the hardware is optimized for what the system is doing, and designed with permanency in mind - when you build a console, you know you're stuck with the same guts for the machine's lifetime. That keeps it functioning at acceptable levels until the company releases its next generation of consoles, but it's still going to lag quite far behind even a marginally upgraded PC.
  • 3 Hide
    restatement3dofted , March 9, 2010 9:37 PM
    Honis The no mouse required part is something I encourage all MMOs to adopt. It allows for a more laid back experience since you can play while sitting in almost any chair (I prefer my recliner).


    I'm fine with the idea of not being required to use a mouse to play a game, but I wouldn't want to see the ability to customize your interface, or map out your keyboard to suit a mouse/keyboard style of play, diminished in favor of making games more accessible to a crowd that insists on playing with nothing more than a gamepad. Re-reading your post, I think we tend to agree on that point. Designing games so that you can do both is great, so long as you don't decrease functionality on one end to increase it on the other.
  • 5 Hide
    rantoc , March 9, 2010 9:39 PM
    Consoles are lazy mans or poor mans game pc's, they will never be anywhere near a high-end or rarely even near a mid-range gaming rig.

    I think the tessellation will help the developers to really use all that insane power in a pc and yet make it playable on consoles at the same time. Best of both worlds, insane gfx on pc and yet budget-pc playable on the xbox.
  • -3 Hide
    zoemayne , March 9, 2010 9:43 PM
    I think they just need to hire a team of software engineers and the job can be done and it will be certainly be profitable. But then again if microsoft and sony simply add keyboard support it would save the developers a lot of trouble. I thought some consoles allow keyboards well idk cause im not into consoles at all.
  • -4 Hide
    zoemayne , March 9, 2010 9:45 PM
    Graphics cant be the reason as far as i know WOW should be playable on Play Stat 2 and the original XBOX.
  • 18 Hide
    restatement3dofted , March 9, 2010 10:00 PM
    hakestermanI'll take Console gameing over a PC any day of the week. Everytime you buy a PC game you have to waisttime configuring your new game to your system. Is your graphic's card supported in this game????Guess i'llhave to go online and research. Will my sound card work proper????? How much memmory does it require???? bla bla bla and so on. Ok now it's loaded, wait a minute i can't play yet, oh that's right i got to configure the controller to the new game. Ok now can i play right???, whoops nope, i got to enter copy protection code and also register it online. Ok now i'm playing it, yep were doing good. Opps i just got a windows crash, dam it all i should of got this game for my console. Yea!


    I recently switched back to PC gaming, and haven't had a single issue. Open Steam, choose my game, play game. Is it running smoothly? If yes, either play, or see if I can increase my graphics settings. If no, decrease graphics settings. It's a 15-second process.

    If you're having to constantly monitor whether your GPU is compatible, or whether you have enough RAM, you know it's time to upgrade your system. If you have anything other than on-board sound, you've probably wasted money.

    You make it sound like PC gaming is some incredible hassle, when the development of things like Steam have really simplified it. Hell, with Steam I don't even need physical media anymore, even for the newest games, and my purchase history is stored remotely. No discs to swap or scratch, which means no need to get up from my desk to play something different. Sounds like a win to me.
  • 12 Hide
    kravmaga , March 9, 2010 10:02 PM
    hakestermanI'll take Console gameing over a PC any day of the week. Everytime you buy a PC game you have to waisttime configuring your new game to your system. Is your graphic's card supported in this game????Guess i'llhave to go online and research. Will my sound card work proper????? How much memmory does it require???? bla bla bla and so on. Ok now it's loaded, wait a minute i can't play yet, oh that's right i got to configure the controller to the new game. Ok now can i play right???, whoops nope, i got to enter copy protection code and also register it online. Ok now i'm playing it, yep were doing good. Opps i just got a windows crash, dam it all i should of got this game for my console. Yea!



    Get off my lawn, greenhorn. I've lived through times when I had to manually assign and manage irqs, install drivers that took up to 12 floppies and reboot my computer any time anything was disconnected out of its socket. Now, everything is usb plug and play and embeds a streamlined standard graphical user interface for your lazy arse's convenience. Back in my days, we troopered through dozens of hours learning and setting up ring networks just so that four of us could take turns dueling in warcraft 2 multiplayer. And we loved it! And we had to walk in the snow for ten miles...etc
    =P

    Seriously though, computers are not consoles. Convenience of use has zero relevance. Every day I plug my cintiq on it and work with maya, cs4, office and countless other 3rd party software that I can install to keep my department churning out work on time and pay for the mortgage...
    Just because I can also spend some odd 200 bucks on a graphic card and install steam or battlenet doesn't make it any more of a fair value comparison to a console.

    The day the console and PC focus groups overlap, that's when you know the ADD generation's all grown up and I'll know I'm too old for this shit.
  • 9 Hide
    Shadow703793 , March 9, 2010 10:36 PM
    taybConsoles routinely have top notch hardware when they are launched that bests anything currently available for the PC. The problem is that for the next 5 years that hardware doesn't change at all and pretty soon that top of the line hardware becomes old hat technology. The notion that a console launches with inferior hardware that couldn't even compare to a mid-range PC is just outrageous. Show me a mid-range PC from 2005 that was running a triple core 3.2GHz processor.

    CPU has little to do when running games. A good X2 or hell possibly even a P4 with a 7800GTS would have blown away the 360.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , March 9, 2010 10:48 PM
    wow would have been great on console. all they had to do was make a device that reads hotkey commands from your brainwaves and it would have been a hit.
  • -3 Hide
    Nimmist , March 9, 2010 11:04 PM
    Restatement3dOfTed"Graphics machines" in what sense? The only point in a console's lifetime that it is potentially competitive with the graphics capabilities of even a mid-range PC is right at launch, and even then that's far from guaranteed. You can't upgrade a console's hardware, other than maybe upping your storage space, and so within a few months you're almost certainly going to be running hardware that's inferior to what you can dump into a PC.The only thing consoles have going for them is that the hardware is optimized for what the system is doing, and designed with permanency in mind - when you build a console, you know you're stuck with the same guts for the machine's lifetime. That keeps it functioning at acceptable levels until the company releases its next generation of consoles, but it's still going to lag quite far behind even a marginally upgraded PC.

    The big thing consoles have going for them is the lack of PC style DRM. I know several people who have given up on PC gaming just because of the ridiculous DRM common in PC games.
  • 9 Hide
    Camikazi , March 9, 2010 11:40 PM
    kravmagaGet off my lawn, greenhorn. I've lived through times when I had to manually assign and manage irqs, install drivers that took up to 12 floppies and reboot my computer any time anything was disconnected out of its socket. Now, everything is usb plug and play and embeds a streamlined standard graphical user interface for your lazy arse's convenience. Back in my days, we troopered through dozens of hours learning and setting up ring networks just so that four of us could take turns dueling in warcraft 2 multiplayer. And we loved it! And we had to walk in the snow for ten miles...etc=PSeriously though, computers are not consoles. Convenience of use has zero relevance. Every day I plug my cintiq on it and work with maya, cs4, office and countless other 3rd party software that I can install to keep my department churning out work on time and pay for the mortgage...Just because I can also spend some odd 200 bucks on a graphic card and install steam or battlenet doesn't make it any more of a fair value comparison to a console.The day the console and PC focus groups overlap, that's when you know the ADD generation's all grown up and I'll know I'm too old for this shit.

    I feel old now :/  I remember manually configuring IRQs and floppy driver installs :/ 
  • -4 Hide
    mister g , March 10, 2010 12:08 AM
    The PS3 has a Geforce 8200 chip right, even if the Cell was triple core you think the graphics chip would have helped it play games at HD quality. Even in 2005.
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