The Daily Grind: Which games will be the big winners (and losers) from more MMOs on consoles?

I don't think that being one of the only fully featured MMOs on a console is what has made Final Fantasy XIV successful. I think there are a lot of other factors that have attracted and kept people playing. So I don't get worried for the title when, say, I see that Skyforge is heading to consoles. But for games like DC Universe Online, I do start worrying a little, because one of that particular title's biggest draws is "action-based combat MMO on a console," and every other title that checks those same boxes gives it a stiffer competition.

That's something we don't think about much, but as we're noticing more and more games moving to consoles in addition to their PC clients, I think it's worth considering. Which games will be the big winners (and losers) from more MMOs on consoles? We're no longer in the days when playing an MMO on a console meant you had two options at most, but which games will benefit from the console port and which ones will suffer when they are no longer one of only two options?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today's Daily Grind!
SHARE THIS ARTICLE

LEAVE A COMMENT

44 Comments on "The Daily Grind: Which games will be the big winners (and losers) from more MMOs on consoles?"

Subscribe to:
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most liked
Reader
Bryan Cole

Wildstar and TSW really need to move over to console. The combat in those games almost demands controller support and they are definitely more suited for casual play. I'd be happier myself playing both on my PS4, I know that much. It's worked with ESO, so why not those 2?

Reader
Melissa McDonald

older MMOs are going to find new life on consoles. Star Trek Online is going to blow console gamers' minds. World of Tanks had a triumphant rollout on consoles.
The point is, we are finally at that generation of console capable of playing a PC MMO and doing it justice. And it only gets better from here.

boredinbc
Reader
boredinbc

I haven't played STO on the console yet, but it looks incredibly polished in videos. I don't know if the whole game got that treatment, or just the console version, but visually it is leaps ahead of where it was on PC a year ago (from what I can recall).

Reader
touchofkiel

I think FFXIV had benefited tremendously - not just from being a console release, but more importantly, sharing servers with PC. I'm a longtime console player, a controller user, a Mac user - yep, pretty much the opposite of what a MMO gamer looks like. But I've slowly been moving towards PC play (dual-booting Windows, naturally) for MMOs like Neverwinter and ESO for one reason - the console versions just aren't that good.

FFXIV seems designed from ground up to be a console AND PC game (like FFXI before it), and it shows. They've really hit a sweet spot in optimizing the game for both platforms, as much as they can at least. And it runs pretty damn well on a PS4. Yes, even my Mac can run it better - but hey, I can switch over at any time!

The same can't be said for Neverwinter, which runs like garbage on PS4. Or ESO, whose PC version is leaps and bounds over the console. I haven't tried them all yet, but the same is probably true of Star Trek Online, or the inevitable Marvel Heroes, or DCU. I never thought I would be the type to sneer at console ports, but yeah...

Which is why I appreciate FFXIV so much, because the level of quality is comparable. You know why? It has to be, because it's cross-platform. Are the console versions 'holding it back?' Perhaps a bit. But that's a fair trade-off if it means we don't have this huge gap in quality as with other multi-play MMOs.

Reader
Xijit

DCUO is going to be fine ... The people who play it (especially the people who play it on console) are not going to be woo-ed away by a generic Korean grinder.

The only console MMOs that are going to suffer from more MMOs on consoles is the cheap, half assed ones that only became popular because they were part of the early wave of MMOs to hit consoles.

Reader
Xijit

*Looks at Neverwinter*

Reader
Sally Bowls

Sigh, I am already in disagreement with the first sentence. My understanding is most of XIV's success is in Japan and on consoles, actually console. I think the numbers make it hard to justify the first statement. I would have no problem if you added a qualifying phrase like "amongst the MOP community" - it is a good and well-liked game.

I don't think XIV will be affected much by console competition, it has found its audience and they seem pretty happy. Although all subscription services, be they Netflix, newspaper, or MMO lose subscribers every month. I guess the console replacement players will be a tad harder to come by if there are more/bigger/newer console offerings out there. But again will affect the Japanese PS4 market less than most.

Reader
rafael12104

The losers? Tab targeting. Lol. Dead, dead, dead.

I have no problem with MMORPGs on consoles as long as the same functionality is there. A few combos of buttons and for the most part it can be achieved. There is also the possibility of using a keyboard on a console, but really, that is far less the norm and a bit clunky to say the least.

But the real loser is customization. Game UI, mods, addons just won't be the same and that is ashame because IMO it is a big part of what I like as it relates to MMORPGs. Not so much the mods and addons as those aren't necessary. But the UI? That's another story.

And last, but not least, the old guard lose once again. Those old vets that find group finders a travesty. The purist who like to do everything in a chat window. Lol. They lose if there is a big transition to consoles. And PC gamers too. PCs were the top dog in game many years ago. Now, it is almost a niche. Almost. MMOs go the way of consoles then, well, that will be another chink in the armor.

Winners: The list is long.

Losers: SoA types.

Reader
Wendigo Runner

The sooner that we get rid of tab targeting, the better. This isn't 1994 yet they want to still design their games like it is.

Reader
Totakeke

I feel like some games without the UI mods are actually have some what of a different feeling to them. ESO on my PC is cyborged the fuck out and it's always about the numbers. ESO on my PS4, holy shit it's like the most chilled out experience ever and I kind of like it, especially since it requires a bit more skill on my part to play.

boredinbc
Reader
boredinbc

I much prefer ESO on the console. It tremendously immersive and fun to play. Even though I didn't use a ton of mods on the PC version, it is begging for some mini map support and objective tracking (skyshards, dungeons, points of interest) mods.

Reader
Craig Sharp

Marvel Heroes would be perfect for console if they could just redesign the entire UI and menus to do away with the mouse pointer.

GW2 would also be another great contender if they could develop controller support and controller friendly UI too.

As for DCUO - it's got some great ideas, but likewise some terrible ones too. I wouldn't mind seeing it sunset if it meant we could get a modern DC mmo in its place.

Reader
BalsBigBrother

MH already has controller support on the PC with UI design to fit. It works quite well after you get used to it but it does take getting used to after playing with M&K for a long time :-)

Reader
Craig Sharp

MH does indeed have controller support (it's a lot of fun) but the UI could use a lot of work. Outside of a single radial menu, it's basically the old PC UI still.

They'd do well to look at DCUO or ESO for examples of how an MMO menu with full controller support should work :)

butterpanda888
Reader
butterpanda888

I'd like to see Marvel Heroes and Herowarz ported to console. And while I'd love to have MapleStory ported, I think there are so many buttons it would be difficult (but not impossible). It would take some reworking but it could theoretically happen. And I'd play it if it did.

Reader
Albert Guzman

I am very much interested in expanding MMO's into consoles and multiple platforms. I've played WoW, Swtor, and GW2 all on PC, but now I'm on FFXIV on the PS4. While I've no complaints about the PC games I've been in (at least, no complaints relative to this discussion), I Have been enjoying using a controller on FF14. I'm a casual player, and somewhat not that interested in min/maxing my damage output or super customizing my u.i. To fit my perfect ideal.

I suppose the biggest reason that I'd support more MMO games on multiple platforms is the spelled out in those 2 M's. 'Massively Multiplayer'. FF14 lets all players on all consoles play together, and while there are plenty of debates on who can do more damage in a raid or react the fastest to mechanics, I've still had plenty of fun running with my friends online. Most of whom play on PC's.

So for me, at the end of the day, all these console expansions mean is that more people will get to play and hang together. How much more do I need than that?

Reader

I'm of the opinion that if keyboards (or at least a far more complex controller) and mice/trackballs/whatever were to work on a console, the crossover would be perfectly fine. But given that a majority of console players are doing it with a... what is it now, 12 button controller? 16? (counts the buttons on the 360 controller) 10 button controller (not counting D-pad and analog stick "push" buttons that would expand that to 16), that severely limits what MMOs can do. I mean, even with a keyboard some MMOs have so many abilities to juggle at once you're struggling to find buttons to put them all on. Paring that down for a controller has to be a nightmare that, if not pre-designed into the game, borders on impossible. And yet, as with DCUO (and also seen on Fallout 4), starting with the console market in mind and moving it to the PC also causes a load of problems with the UI. I mean, let's be honest, DCUO is not a great game on the PC, and the control scheme is abysmal. I didn't enjoy it all that much until I got my 360 controller connected to the PC and was able to play using that. It's almost a completely different game! And all this completely ignores another issue, one that relates to shooters as well, in the accuracy of the analog stick vs using a mouse/trackball/your preferred input here.

Yes, moving an MMO to the console CAN expand the audience, but is it worth totally revamping the game mechanics and potentially alienating another potential audience in the process? I'm not sure....

styopa
Reader
styopa

Personally, I think games being console ported (and being designed around console-porting...looking at you Elder Scrolls) is TERRIBLE.
Even as TVs have gotten monitor-quality, the need to stupidify the UI and controls for gamepad input* makes everything harder than it has to be, and likely stupidifies parts of the game as well ("Well, we can't really do that NPC that way, because consoles really don't have a text-input ability that doesn't suck.")
*and you damned well better not try to use a pc and keyboard, or MS will call you a cheater (http://massivelyop.com/2017/02/07/overwatch-team-lobbies-against-using-a-mouse-and-keyboard-on-its-console-versions/)

Consoles are:
- simpler (thus cheaper)
- consistent from unit to unit making game development somewhat easier
...the two reasons they exist. They were not intended to be poly-capable and frankly, the more interesting games require that flexibility.
Look, consoles are great for what amount to arcade-caliber games. The computer is a varied multifunction device that does everything better - HUNDREDS of potential inputs, mouse>analog sticks (and hell, you *can* use a gamepad with a computer if you really want to).

PC master race

Reader
mcsleaz

Well said. With MMO's now wanting to focus on console development, we can expect even less innovation in games now that our PC games will be tailored to sub-par console / controller support.
Greed wins again.

Reader
Nordavind

"Stupidify" UI/controls -> makes things harder -> stupidifies game? Wat?

Reader
Bryan Correll

Not an MMO, but Skyrim (as I've bitched about before) has a horribly clunky interface on the PC. It was clearly designed as a console game and doesn't take advantage of a mouse/keyboard setup at all.

hurbster
Reader
hurbster

Which is why everyone installs SkyUI.

Reader
Schmidt.Capela

And likely why on the PC old Skyrim has more players right now than the remastered edition, despite how everyone that had the old Skyrim plus the DLC on the PC got a free copy of the remastered one.

Reader
mysecretid

Given that MMORPGs are currently going through a "down phase" -- meaning that the genre is not considered "hot" any more to big investors, to the point where new MMORPG-type games prefer not to call themselves MMORPGs -- I'm thinking that any strategy which puts the MMORPG genre in front of new faces (who might then become fans) is generally a good idea.

Sure, the games which maximize player choice and complexity through full use of the mouse and keyboard may not make the transition well (if at all), but I think keeping the genre as a whole in front of new gamers as a type of game, and as an extant gaming choice, is important enough to risk some loss of archetypal genre "purity" on consoles in the process.

My opinions, anyway,

Reader
Armsbend

DCUO is a bad example. It is a console first game with pc as an afterthought. When I was active for a few months asking developer's questions on the pc forum was like talking to yourself in the mirror. ASsk a question on the ps3/4 forums? A few hours with a response tops.

Reader
Sray

It's not really as console first/friendly as it initially looks; it just seems that way to PC players.

I played DCUO on PC for about a year at launch, during which time I also thought that it was really a console game first; but after dabbling again on my PS4, and I can say that it's actually a terrible console experience. It's much more difficult to control on a gamepad with the multiple button holds for actions that are single button presses on a PC; combat aiming is a nightmare if you have move around while maintaining a single target (which is pretty much always); and the shitty UI is just that regardless of platform.

Reader
deekay_plus

i remember giving the game a shot after it went f2p. the ux was soooooooo terrible it was hilarious. we complain about consolitis in alot of cross platform games but i don't think many come anywhere close to the level DCUO achieved wrt to that sort of thing.

iirc the ui revamp to make the game more pc friendly wasn't a terribly great improvement on that either even if it was an improvement.

Reader
BalsBigBrother

I think Path of Exile will do well when it makes the transition to Xbox 1 simply because it is the type of game that will work well in the console environment.

I am going to be interested to see how the PoE passive star map and the skill gem systems are received by those players. I wonder if they will embrace the complexity or call for it to be simplified. I simply don't know and I am not willing to generalise an entire segment of players based on the preconception most folks seem to accept for them.

The obvious loser here is Diablo 3 though I imagine just like its PC iteration it won't vanish into obscurity and will always have a decent fan base. However as a franchise it is just not doing anything different or forward thinking enough to keep up with PoE at this point it time and will lose ground because of that.

Reader
Armsbend

I think console players crave more complexity. There are not nearly as many options in that niche.

Reader
BalsBigBrother

I would hope that is the case but as always time will tell :-)

Reader
Armsbend

I want PoE to conquer the world and live for another decade. It is the supreme example of an indie with an impossible dream becoming an impossible success.

The fundraising campaign never seemed intrusive and it always seemed like the game was going to get made with or without crowdfunding money.

When I was console only a a half decade ago I was always pining for more complex games like Civilization and the like. I'd snatch them up as soon as they were released.

Reader
Cypher

I think any MMO with about 5 or so active skills (more if the twitch requirement is less) will excel on consoles, games like SkyForge and other "Lobby-grinder" MMO's seem to be made for consoles.
This being the biggest difference between PC and console, now that the hardware/graphics are catching up.

Chukii

Reader
David Goodman

Still not sold on any MMO on a console being worth it. I don't like the simplified controls and experience. "Action combat" has become one of those 'eye-roll' catchphrases for me that means "You have three attacks and everything else is mostly dodging the red tell on the floor"

Reader
Crow

MMOs have seen great success on console, so I'm not sure where that comes from. DCUO was "saved" in part by console release. STO is going strong; ESO is crazy popular; ARK is very popular; etc., etc.. And there are plenty more.

STO, for one example, has pretty complex controls. The idea that because you use a controller you have "three attacks" is pretty laughable considering that trigger buttons and condition combinations are pretty standard these days allowing for a huge range of at-your-fingertips commands. I'm not sure of any "action combat" game that is actually like that. As someone who plays MMOs with both K+M and controller when appropriate, controller setups tend to be a lot more complex and are simply very different.

But really, the fact of the matter is that so many MMOs are far better suited to console release. The kind of "not a MMORPG, but a MMO certainly" games work exceptionally well on consoles. Especially if their content has a large amount of instances with auto-group queues. Frankly, I'm immensely "pro-console" for the sheer fact that it creates a bit more of the necessary division between "MMOs" and "MMORPGs" where the former are decidedly "games" and the latter strive to be worlds and "homes". We'll see how BDO does, as it is one of the first actual MMORPGs to give this a shot on console.

Reader
deekay_plus

i'd wager for the console audience mmo's being available on their platform of choice is more of a novelty than really diving into the genre like alot of the readership of massively has done. some degree of interest in the already established IP definitely helps but the mmo tropes can also undermine those IP's value as mmo's often offer a less than higher quality experience vs more core genre games in those IPs.

same applies to the everything is a MOBA now paradigm lately that apes the same types of games beign called mmo's a mere decade ago.

so while a console player may see "oh look a dc or tes game on the store for cheap i haven't played yet, i like batman, i like skyrim, let's give it a whirl" i'm not sure they have the typical standing given the value added components of psn and xbl subs wrt to monthly free games in addition to teh already established consumption habits of the audiences involved as it is.

further add into it the current generation's somewhat gun shy sales numbers that have been way down compared to past generations relatively speaking even while the games industry is growing to a massive degree. which is hurt further by the upgraded hardware versiond of ps4 and xbone so early in teh cycle while nintendo puts out the switch with the wii u's life time being so incredibly short. it's no surprise that even while xbon sales numbers are starting to improve drastically ms continues to prepare for their windows 10 ecosphere plans instead of their past decade plus emphasis on xbox division as their gaming platform focus.

anyways like most console games longevity is not guaranteed and often happenstance, while success is often luck of the draw/being lucky enough to be part of the dozen or so games a year that catches the attention of the hype machine big or small.

Reader
Jack Pipsam

I suppose those with bad or jank console ports.

I personally didn't play STO on console long as it just felt bad IMO on a controller, the controls were just not there.

Reader
Cypher

While I am having a blast in STO on console, I do agree that it's controls were not made for consoles and are actually a hindrance.
You really need ready access to all your bridge officer skills at the click of a mouse, rather than activating the correct wheel-menu, then finding the required skill before you lose the opportunity to use it!

Reader
Danny Smith

I think it depends on how its done, I play XIV on PS4 because like XI it was made for consoles first and as such playing a final fantasy game with a dualshock has been the most natural thing since the early 1990's so they had a lot of experience with how to make a FF mmo work on PlayStation's well gameplay wise.
Buuut then you have stuff like never winter where last I tried they couldn't fit all the controls on so some things simply didn't work and it felt cut down and buggy.

I think its all about controls at the end of the day, FFXIV and Diablo 3 are vastly more fun on consoles than PC in my experience but that's two games out of how many at this point? 20? 30?

Personally I think XIv should be for console MMOs what WoW was for PC in the 2000's: "here's how its done, pay attention". Not like straight clones but the crossbar and things like " up and down tabs party members left and right on the d pad tabs enemy's" are such elegant solutions that TESO is really the only one that does something different and it works. Sometimes a system gets it right and its okay to emulate it for a better playing experience.

Reader
BalsBigBrother

I would argue against XIV being "made" for consoles first though given what you are saying about the controls I can see why you think that.

SE have done a sterling job in not saddling any platform with a UI that limits the user friendliness. They took the sadly unusual route of designing specific UI's for each platform it was going to be used on rather than the more usual one UI to fit them all.

So rather than saying it was designed for "x platform" first I would say it was always designed for multiple platforms in mind with no specific one being favoured over the others.

Reader
Crow

I don't know about not designing FFXIV for consoles. It was absolutely a big part and keep in mind that FFXI was big on console back before anyone else was doing MMO console. I have friends who kept their PS2s forever because it was how they played FFXI.

Reader
BalsBigBrother

What I said was:

"argue against XIV being "made" for consoles first"

By that I meant that it wasn't made exclusively for a console (or PC) then ported over with the usual compromises (wonky controls, lack of graphics options etc).

Absolutely the game was designed for consoles but also for PC too so there was no first, which was my point. Each platform was given equal status and designed to their strengths in terms of UI & graphical options without compromising the other significantly in terms of the game play or ease of use.

Reader
Daniel Miller

I am the opisate. FFXI while ok on console it limits what you can do. You can do farr more in FFXI than FFxiv. This is mostly due to a controller limited keys. Elder scrolls online is a great second example of this. Lately with most MMOs going to console its the PC players who got dumbed down and limiting game play.

This in itself does create more revenue for MMO companies, but overall hallows out the games.

Please bring back a few pc only games as consoles is like bringing a moba over to a PC. Limited functions of a moba, limit the pc. Consoles same. And hey FFXI was made on ps2, eventually developer kits were gone and FFXI itself can't update game anymore. This in turn will happen to newer mmos as they age and those consoles go bye bye.

Reader
pepperzine

I'm not worried about the population of DCUO on console when Skyforge makes it port. The emphasis on group activity such as Alerts and Raids (with the additional draw of both solo and duo alerts for those who do not prefer group activity), with the sheer amount of endgame progression available seems very different to me than how grindy the endgame of Skyforge is often described as.

I also think the appeal of making your own superhero, and being able to interact plus work for or against iconic heroes and villians, has its own draw for fans of the genre that do not normally play mmos and is a major advantage that DCUO has that skyforge lacks. Finally, the game has been there for awhile so I think you will see a large portion of the playerbase stay loyal due to social connections made through friends and leagues, but also due to commitment to their characters because of the amount of time and/or money invested into the game. Overall, I would not be overly concerned. Sure they'll lose some of their playerbase who want to try something new, but I think a good portion of those who leave will find themselves returning when additional endgame content is put out.

I would be more concerned for games that are more recent to the console scene where people are not as committed, such as Neverwinter.

Reader
Pandalulz

Hmmm... I get the idea of one MMO stealing another MMOs players, but I'm not sure it'll really be that drastic. If you were bored of DCUO, you had probably moved on anyway. It still exists on PC successfully enough with all the competition there.
What I think is most important about FFXIV's success on consoles is that there isn't a segregation of players. It's all the SAME SERVERS.
ESO for example, is a counter to that and it's actually a bit confusing. I log in with the same account on PS4 or PC, a subscription counts for both, but I can't continue with my same characters on the PS4 and have to play with different folks. That makes things less convenient for me, and I have to decide up front which version I'm going to play, and my friends might play, and further down the road whether I can play with other folks I might meet along the way. I might play on my laptop when I'm traveling for work and want to play on my console when I'm at home, but that's not really an option I have (I know I'm a super niche subset because of this). It's two identical but totally different games, and that kind of kills a lot of the MMOness of it.
I have a similar issue with Overwatch (not an MMO obviously) for example. I had lots of friends super into it, but they were split between console and PC, so I had to pick one and try to stick with it and I think we lost interest as a group because we couldn't really play together effectively. And yes, I get the KB+M vs gamepad argument, but I'd rather play with my friends and suck than not play with them at all.
I haven't really paid a lot of attention to how most of the console MMOs work on that front, but I hope they keep this in mind.

wpDiscuz