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?

  • http://www.cuppycake.org Cuppycake

    “Is Raph Koster’s MetaPlace talking about this?”

    Absolutely. All of our code is open sourced so that anyone can write a client. We have wiki documentation already helping people do this. So essentially, once someone writes a mobile client – we’ll have one. And since we work like the web does, and mobile phones are web-capable and gaining speed…a mobile client shouldn’t be too far off in the future.

  • http://www.qforq.com/blog QforQ

    Nice, well that’s pretty exciting. I kind of thought you guys might be doing something but I wasn’t sure :)

  • Fayth

    forgive me if I am beating a dead dog.I am very new to the blog thing and I know that you all must have hack all this stuff out a long time ago. BUT I got to start some where so here it goes…

    The Agency , 38 Studios ,and any othere MMOs in the makeing could do this in a big way. I allso could see EVE useing a off-line hooks with your mobile phone.
    never got into WOW so no idea.
    EQ2,VG,SWG … would be limited to chats and playing mini games with your friends ingame.allso maybe check in ingame sells.
    I could see them doing like mini games for your mobile phones and mobile devices where you could maybe do off-line quest and/or crafting. then when you log back into your MMO game what ever you won for doing the quest would be in the game. same thing for crafting. you could grined out your crafting skills off-line then sell all the stuff you made when you log back in game.

    am I way off base? or is this all old news?

  • PekkaR

    While it wasn’t your point, did you know mobile MMOs have been around for years already?

    TibiaME since 2003: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tibiame
    Pocket Kingdom since 2004: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pocket_Kingdom (only for n-gage, possibly closed?)

  • http://www.qforq.com/blog QforQ

    That’s interesting…I’ve never heard of those :O

  • http://www.tibiame.com Benjamin

    There are actually quite a few real MMOs out for mobile phones already. TibiaME is the first one and has now been online for more than 5 years already…

  • http://www.tibiame.com Benjamin

    And TibiaME is really great – that is how a mobile MMO should look and feel like – really worth a try.