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Blizzard: World of Warcraft Not for Consoles

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."

Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.
  • jakew120
    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.
    Reply
  • nekoangel
    old by a few years.
    Reply
  • touchdowntexas13
    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?
    Reply
  • pumakrieg
    A modest PC can kill any "graphics machine" console. Then again, they do cost more.
    Reply
  • tayb
    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.
    Reply
  • Honis
    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).
    Reply
  • restatement3dofted
    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.
    Reply
  • restatement3dofted
    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.
    Reply
  • rantoc
    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.
    Reply
  • zoemayne
    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.
    Reply