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Thursday, October 13, 2005

Leveling While Driving: The MMO Future?

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I can see it now. A man is having a romantic dinner with his wife.

"Oh, it's so nice to be out for a change. I thought you were never going to stop playing that game," the man says.

"Sure, honey, you're more important than any level," she replies.

Beep, beep.

"What's that noise?" he asks.

"Oh, that's my cell phone. Oops, gotta go - a contested mob is up! You understand, right dear?"

If a company named
Froghop has it's way, this may just be scratching the surface of mobile MMO integration.

They are
working on various ways to connect cell phones and other mobile devices to the MMO world. Now, it's not like you're going to be able to play the actual game, for now at least. The uses are threefold.

The first is the most obvious, to communicate (say to be able to chat with your Guild). This doesn't seem like much of a stretch with current technology as you can log onto guild chat via the web now in EQII. It would be pretty useful if you were in a serious or even casual guild to let people know that you weren't going to make it to a raid or were just running a few minutes late. Now, you might say, why can't you just call? Well, many people like to maintain the real life/in-game barrier and a mobile-based guild chat app would let you do that.

A second use would be to access data. The example of this would be to see what was up for auction at the WoW auction house. Again, a useful application so you wouldn't have to feel chained to the computer if you were waiting on some epic item. An EQII equivalent would be the ability to check the broker from your PDA or cell. Kind of a cool idea, eh?

The final and probably the most interesting use would be playing mini-games which could actually effect your items or character in an MMO. Any such game would have to be carefully balanced and checked for exploit capability before it was released. If your recall, I
mentioned that I was hoping Sony would do something like this with the PSP. It's worth noting here that Smed said SOE was working on some type of cross-platform gaming, I assume independently of Froghop. I hope they are also working on some of the other ideas I mentioned.

I imagine this will be quite profitable for Froghop or Sony when these technologies are implemented. I also imagine they will be popular with players. Or will they?

Do you feel you need a break from your MMO? Do you not want your guild to be able to text you on your cell at work? Is it just too much? Since it all seems optional, I think it's a positive step. I don't want my cell phone to take pictures, play "hot ringtones for only $3.99 a month," or have some terrible joke of the day service. But would I pay extra to be able to check the price of Vanadium or do a little tradeskilling? Sure.

Well, one way or another, this technology will come, so it's something to think about.

And yeah, I saw the official, bright red PvP poll on the top of EQII forums. I'll comment on it next week.


Blogger Anskiere said...

OOoo.. I want it.. just for the sake of having it. I'm cool like that.

8:54 AM  
Anonymous Wargut said...

I'm already hearing this: "Oh, it's so nice to be out for a change. I thought you were never going to stop playing that game,". So there's no way in hell that I would even consider looking for alternate means of getting to games unless of course I want to sleep in the living room.

9:49 AM  

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