MMO Industry, why aren’t you mobile yet?

I realize I’m a bit late but I wanted to comment on this apparent rumor that Blizzard is interested in making some sort ofWoW Gone Mobile World of Warcraft mobile application for your cell phones, iPhones, etc. The reason I wanted to add my two cents is mainly just because I’m so excited about the possibilities with this. Everything is going mobile these days, from internet browsing to internet radio, people want to stay connected and our technology is allowing them to do so.

I want to echo what Pocket Gamer said, with this:

“Forget mobile games, and make a mobile application instead. Something that gives you access to guild chat, or other admin aspects of the PC version of WoW. Instead of selling it through mobile operators, Blizzard might tack this onto the regular WoW subscription – pay a quid/dollar extra a month, and get the mobile app.”

I agree, everyone should probably forget about hoping to raid Onyxia on their iPhone. They should instead be excited about how they could manage that raid on their phone, how they could check up on their sales in the auction house, work on crafting a new item, or maybe just chat with their guildies and friends. I doubt these applications would be super complicated to build, definitely not as complicated as trying to fit WOW on a mobile device and have a graphical version playable.

I think in general as video games go more and more online that they should be making mobile tie-ins to their service. To me it’s all about surrounding yourself with your hobby and with something that you love and enjoy. After all, that’s why I do internet radio for gamers. This could do all sorts of good for your brand royalty and after all, the more time people spend in your game the better, right? If you could provide tools for your players that could make it easier for them to do things, like coordinate raids for example, I bet you’d make them quite happy. I’d much rather send out a message on our integrated mobile device raid function than have to coordinate a last minute main-tank change via IM or phone call.

This isn’t the first time that MMO companies have talked about doing stuff like this but I do wonder why WoW has been so slow to act with regards to this. SOE’s The Agency has talked about possibly integrating game features into mobile devices, for instance getting a text message from your own Q when your new car is ready. I’m pretty sure 38 Studios has also talked about integrating into mobile devices, as well as a slew of other things like movies and other media forms. In my opinion more and more companies need to be thinking like 38 Studios and be proactive about the future and lead the way. I think this is the future of MMO/Online gaming and I don’t understand what is taking developers so long to act.

Is Raph Koster’s MetaPlace talking about this? Why hasn’t Second Life done something yet? It’s time to start thinking outside the box and creating an entire experience(in marketing terms, your brand) for your players. It’s just a matter of time and I can’t wait :) What do you think MMO companies should do to break outside the mold and do something new and unique, beyond just adding new ways to PVP and raid?