Blizzard is deriving most of its revenue at the moment from World of Warcraft, the leader of the subscription-based MMO market. And with the company close to launching StarCraft II and with Diablo IIII set to arrive in the next year, it might have the necessary resources to try and create a console version of the MMO, tapping a potentially large customer base that has not received many similar experiences.
But it seems that Blizzard is not interested in making the move. J. Allen Brack, one of the producers at Blizzard, told G4TV at the DICE conference that “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."
It appears that the big problem for a console move is the very PC-centric design of the Blizzard-made MMO. Brack explained that “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. The idea of translating that to a gamepad is a very, very challenging proposition.”
Other potential problems are linked to the disk space needed for the MMO and the delivery of patches, which might take longer on consoles because of the approval process that Sony and Microsoft are in charge of. There is also the problem of connecting those playing on home consoles with those playing on the PC and of accounting for their different reaction times.
While World of Warcraft is unlikely to move to consoles, Blizzard has apparently been working on a new and innovative MMO design that might arrive on the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360 at some point.