The Seven Biggest Upcoming Console MMOs (IGN.com)

I get that MMOs want to extend their reach to add console gamers. For real MMOs (especially MMORPGs), that market segment is virtually untapped. However, I don’t see consoles replacing my mouse+keyboard experience. FFXIV:ARR is a good example of that, especially when looking at tanks. Almost all of the tanks that struggle with positioning that I’ve run with have been console gamers (or just new to the dungeon).

For MMOs like Defiance and those that offer first person views, the overall game would probably be similar between consoles and PCs, but communication will always be substantially behind on consoles and only a small percentage of gamers are using Ventrilo, RaidCall, or other VoIP software.
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As long as video game consoles have had internet connections, enterprising studios have been creating massively multiplayer games for them. Early notable efforts include Sega’s Phantasy Star Online in 2001 and Everquest Online Adventures in 2003.

Still, despite these groundbreaking games, there’s no denying that for most MMO experiences, PC gaming has always been where it’s at. Until now, at least.

Sony’s Playstation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One are more PC-like than ever, and now talented AAA console development teams are finally wrapping their heads around how to create persistent online worlds and long-term character growth. As a result, next-gen might be the era that console MMOs finally come into their own. Below are the hottest console MMOs, both launched and upcoming, that you should be sure to keep on your radar.

Note: It’s still up in the air whether some of these titles will truly feel like traditional MMO experiences when they launch. The lines are blurring. Massive battles with hundreds of concurrent players might not constitute an MMO if the world isn’t persistent. A persistent world might not be an MMO if you can only explore it with small, controlled groups. However you define an MMO, these games are all, at the least, MMO-like experiences worth your hype and attention.

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn

PC, PS3, PS4
After a notoriously poor launch, Square-Enix doubled down on FF XIV, relaunching the game a full three years later, to critical and commercial success. It’s arguably one of the biggest turnaround stories in video game history.

Somewhat lost in all the headlines was the “small” detail that the relaunched game released not just for Windows, but on Playstation 3 as well, with a Playstion 4 version coming in 2014. The console version is fully playable with just a controller thanks to a completely revamped UI, or players can just plug a keyboard and mouse. FF XIV is the highest-profile MMORPG currently available on consoles and is an easy recommendation for console gamers.

DC Universe Online

PC, PS3, PS4
DCUO launched on PC and PS3 in 2011 to so-so reviews and managed to amass only a modest player base. But Sony Online Entertainment stuck it out, continuing to gradually improve and expand on the superhero MMO. The game gained notable momentum after switching to a freemium business model 10 months after launch.

The game makes excellent use of the DC universe via top-notch voice acting, an active, ever-expanding story, and hundreds of famous and not-so-famous characters and locations from the DC Universe. DCUO is tuned to get players to the level cap and into endgame content as fast as possible, making it a great MMO for superhero nerds to download and try out.

Planetside 2

PC, PS4
Sony Online Entertainment’s massive PC FPS hit Planetside 2 is due out on the PS4 later this year. Many were skeptical about Planetside 2’s massive scale and free-to-play model, but after trying it out for themselves, most came away believers. The payment model never gets in the way, and vehicular and on-foot warfare is always raging, with thousands of players all vying for territory control at once. Thanks to a solid class system and a steady stream of unlockables, Planetside 2 should have something for everyone when it hits PS4.

Destiny

PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
For how much we know about Halo developer Bungie’s ridiculously ambitious “persistent world shooter” Destiny, there’s an awful lot we still don’t know. Bungie itself has refrained from actually calling the game an MMO, for starters. Instead, the game provides players with a feeling of constant connection via seamless matchmaking that all happens in the background, with other players entering and exiting your game world on-the-fly.

Destiny’s emphasis on dynamic world events and “loot drops” also contributes to its MMO feel. Players will be able to socket and customize their weapons with powerful items dropped from foes. Dynamic events will help keep the world of Destiny fresh and keep players on their toes. We’ll have to wait until 2014 to find out just how MMO-likeDestiny truly ends up feeling.

The Division

PS4, Xbox One, PC
When a man-made pandemic collapses civilization, ruthless gangs vie for power in the ruins of New York. Sounds like a good setting for an MMORPG to us! Like Destiny, at this point we still aren’t sure how genuinely MMO-like Ubisoft’s dystopian FPS/RPG hybrid The Division truly is. But what has been revealed looks extremely promising.

Players are plunked into The Division’s unforgiving game world with three days’ worth of food and supplies. From there it’s up for you to explore and scavenge what you need, leveling up your character RPG-style along the way. Although solo play is an option, The Division includes extensive options for player-run clans and groups as well as drop-in/drop-out multiplayer, encouraging and rewarding players who team up and work together to tame its persistent, dynamic online world.

The Crew

PC, PS4, Xbox One
Like Destiny and The Division, just how MMO-like Ubisoft’s persistent world racing gameThe Crew truly is still isn’t known. But what we’ve seen so far is extremely promising. The arcade-style racing action takes place across the entire United States. A condensed version of it, sure… but still. Racing from Seattle to Miami in a seamless online/offline game world filled with hundreds of racing challenges? Yes, please!

The game will seamlessly and constantly fill your game world with hundreds of other real world players, giving the game its “MMO” label. You can party up to compete in races or cooperative events like taking down a single superpowered opponent. Yes, almost like a raid.

Elder Scrolls Online

PC, Mac, PS4, Xbox One
Elder Scrolls Online, in development for six years, is finally nearing its 2014 release window. Set 1000 years before the events of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, the game’s major claim to fame is that it takes place across the entire continent of Tamriel. Not just a single country or region like all the other modern single player Elder Scrolls games.

Early impressions were mixed, wih many describing the game as a World of Warcraft clone set in the Elder Scrolls universe. While that’s still a plenty exciting concept on its own, many gamers wanted more. Thankfully, Zenimax Online listened. The game now has a first-person mode, a new Skyrim-like UI, further refined storytelling and plenty more tweaks that truly allow the game to feel like Skyrim with (thousands) of friends.

Plenty more!

The seven games above aren’t the only ones to keep in mind, but they’re probably the highest profile console MMOs in the works. Other upcoming console MMOs include:

War Thunder: A freemium flight sim MMO that’s been making waves on Steam. Due out for PS3 and PS4 in November. Watch the gameplay.

Warhammer 40K: Eternal Crusade: Not due out until 2015, this MMO based on the classic sci-fi license is slated for release on PC and both Xbox One and PS4. Read the news.

World of Tanks: Wargaming.net’s notorious PVP-heavy tank combat game has been available on Xbox 360 since this summer. Read the news.

Phantasy Star Online 2: Sega’s PSO sequel is out now on PC and Vita… in Japan. A US release date hasn’t yet been announced. US Release News?

Dragon Quest X: Like PSO 2, Square Enix’s Dragon Quest MMO hit Wii and Wii U in Japan last year to critical acclaim. But a US release is still up in the air. Watch the epic trailer.

Xbox One to Ship With Faster CPU (GeekWire.com)

Not exactly a shocker here, but Xbox’s CMO announced that the Xbox Ones in full production are going to ship with faster processors. Any publicity is good publicity, right? Feels a bit cheesy and gimmicky that they’re doing this. After all, every game for the Xbox One was developed using the original ~10% less powerful CPU.

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Xbox One now in full production with improved CPU performance

xboxSo far, so good for the Xbox One.

Xbox chief marketing officer Yusef Mehdi just spoke at the Citi Global Technology Conference and said Microsoft is now in full production for the Xbox One and producing in mass with plans still on for a November 2013 launch.

About one month after improving the GPU clock speed, Mehdi added that Microsoft just made another technical boost by upgrading the CPU performance to 1.75 GHZ from 1.6 GHZ.

Mehdi wouldn’t reveal a launch date — the PlayStation 4 comes out Nov. 15 — but did say that the system is “really going to shine.”

“This will be the biggest launch we’ve ever done by a wide margin in terms of units shipped at launch,” Mehdi said.

Mehdi also had some interesting insights on the Xbox One policy reversals, the $499 price point and how the Xbox business will change with Microsoft’s big re-organization. Stay tuned for more.

Microsoft Backpeddles On Kinect Requirement for Xbox 360 (Kotaku.com)

Is it just me, or has Microsoft back-peddled on just about everything that made it unique from the PS4 launch? DRM was in, then out. Mandatory logging-in and gaming online at least once every 24 hours. That’s now gone. The Kinect is always on, always listening. But…you can turn it off because you thought that was creepy. And now? The Kinect is mandatory for every Xbox One to work. Except for now you can turn it off completely and it doesn’t impact any Xbox One functions. Le. Sigh.

Did Microsoft really get all of this so wrong at the start or did the “backlash” on the interwebs really scare them into changing their ways?

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Kinect No Longer Mandatory For Xbox One (But Will Still Come With It)

Another backflip? Back in May, Microsoft said that you’ll need have the motion-sensing Kinect plugged in at all times in order for your Xbox One to function, but now they’re reversing course once again.

“That said, like online, the console will still function if Kinect isn’t plugged in, although you won’t be able to use any feature or experience that explicitly uses the sensor,” he said.

Asked just how “off” the Kinect can be, Whitten answered totally off.

“You have the ability to completely turn the sensor off in your settings. When in this mode, the sensor is not collecting any information. Any functionality that relies on voice, video, gesture or more won’t work. We still support using it for IR blasting in this mode. You can turn the sensor back on at any time through settings, and if you enter into a required Kinect experience (like Kinect Sports Rivals for instance), you’ll get a message asking if you want to turn the sensor back on in order to continue.”

This is yet another entry to add to the list of stunning reversals in Xbox One policy made by Microsoft over the past few months. In June, Microsoft switched course on Xbox DRM, and they’ve flipped on all sorts of other policies since then.

UPDATE: And here’s Microsoft senior exec Albert Penello, posting on NeoGAF about the flip. (Bolded emphasis mine)

We still believe in Kinect. We aren’t interested in splitting the development base. The more demos I’ve seen, the more I’ve used it – the more impressed I am. The team feels strongly about Kinect, and I hope we’re able to prove that when you use it.

We also have a ton of privacy settings to allow people to turn off the camera, or microphones, or put it in a state just for “Xbox On” and IR blasting – there will be a lot of user control for that.

The thing we all understood, and hence this change, is that there are some scenarios where people just may not be comfortable. We wanted people to be 100% comfortable, so we allow the sensor to be unplugged. And clearly the “it dropped” scenario is possible.

The most obvious thing is watching a DVD/BD, or streaming a movie, or HDMI pass-through, your experience isn’t impacted (except you miss voice and IR blasting)

There is no “gotcha”, but obviously, if there is a game that REQUIRES Kinect (like Rivals), or something where Kinect IS the experience (like Skype), those won’t work.

That said, for people who have privacy concerns there are user control settings, which we believe are great.

Remaining Places to Pre-Order Xbox One & PS4? (DigitalTrends.com)

Four of the biggest names in console sales (Best Buy, Amazon.com, GameStop, and Toys R Us) are already sold-out for both the Xbox One and the PS4. So where does that leave you, especially if you’re looking to pre-order either/both as a present for end-of-year holidays? It appears you  have five remaining options, plus buying directly from either company. Read on!

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If you are hoping to pre-order a PlayStation 4 or an Xbox One, you might want to hurry. All around the country, major retailers are listing the consoles as “sold-out,” leading up to what is looking more and more like a shortage on launch day. That may be good for Sony and Microsoft (and their stock prices), but it’s bad for a consumer hoping to get their hands on what are shaping up to be two of the hottest items this holiday season.

… you may have to go a little deeper down the rabbit hole of online shopping…

With stores like GameStop and Best Buy both listing Sony and Microsoft’s consoles as sold out, you may have to go a little deeper down the rabbit hole of online shopping leading up to the as yet unannounced launch dates. The PS4 is listed with a generic release date of December 31 (in other words, sometime this year), while the Xbox One is listed by several retailers as November 27. Whatever the exact dates, expect them both to release before the yearly shopping Super Bowl that is Black Friday, which this year lands on November 29.

Sony and Microsoft are still hoping to meet all launch day demands, although that probably isn’t going to be possible. At the moment, several stores are still accepting pre-orders but you should expect stock to disappear quickly. We’ll try to keep this list updated throughout the coming months, but don’t be surprised if the stores below sell out, and soon.

(If you find that a store on this list has changed its status to “sold out,” please let us know and we’ll update it accordingly. We’ll also add more stores in the weeks to come.)

Both Systems

Fry’s Electronics: The national electronic giant is not offering in-store pickups, but it will ship to you. You will need to pay shipping, so factor that into your budget. There is also a limit of one PS4 and Xbox One per household.

Kmart: The PS4 and Xbox One are both available for pre-order, and both are available for free shipping. As with most retailers, there is a limit of one per household.

Sears: Although not generally thought of as an electronic store, Sears has both the PS4 and Xbox One for pre-order, along with all the accessories and launch day titles announced. Free shipping is available, and there is a limit one per household.

Walmart: Walmart is the largest video game seller in the world, so you can expect two things: one, they will have a huge allotment from both Sony and Microsoft; two, they will likely sell through their pre-orders quickly. You can also add a three-year warranty, which isn’t quite as comprehensive as Target’s (it doesn’t cover accidental damage beyond wear and tear), but it is cheaper at $44 and lasts a year longer. It is also offering free shipping. No limit on the number of units you can buy.

PlayStation 4 Only

Sony StoreSony’s own store is offering the PS4, of course, along with free shipping and no apparent limit on the number of units you can pick up. You can also finance directly through Sony.

Xbox One Only

Microsoft StoreYou can purchase an Xbox One from Microsoft’s own store, and that also extends to the Xbox 360′s dashboard. If you are an Xbox 360 user, just connect online and look for the Xbox One icon, and you can pre-order directly from there. Free shipping, and a limit of one per household.

Nvidia’s “Shield” Price-Dropped $50 (CNET.com)

I have to say, I expected this. With an entire PS4 only costing $50 more than the original Nvidia Shield price, they really had to do something to make their handheld gaming device worth such a big price tag. After all, this is an Android powered device  (similar to the OUYA, though hand-held and portable). Hopefully this sets Nvidia up with a more sizeable share of the marketplace as a result.

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With a release date set for June 27, the portable gaming console will now cost $50 less than its original $349 price tag.

Nvidia's Shield will now sell for just $299.

Gamers eyeing Nvidia’s Shield will be able to buy the device on June 27 to the tune of only $299.

Officially unveiling the date and the price drop via a blog on Thursday, Nvidia explained why it cut the cost from $349.

We’ve heard from thousands of gamers that if the price was $299, we’d have a home run.

So we’re changing the price of Shield to $299.

If you’ve already pre-ordered Shield , you’ll be charged the new, lower price. You will only be charged $299 when the product ships.

Demoed at CES 2013 in January, the Nvidia Shield is an Android-based portable gaming system that unites the controller and a 5-inch 1,280×720-pixel touch screen into one single package. The Shield can handle all Google Play apps and stream PC games from Nvidia-based computers through a Wi-Fi connection.

Original CNET Article

PS4: All Announced Games Thus Far (IGN.com)

This wiki will continue to be updated over the next few years, but for now at least you can head over to IGN and see the list of nearly 70 games already announced!

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Confirmed PlayStation 4 Games

These games have been confirmed specifically for PlayStation 4. See below for a list of games confirmed for “next-generation systems,” which highly suggests a PlayStation 4 release. Click on any of the games below for more information, videos and screenshots.

Game Developer Release Date
Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag [1] Ubisoft TBA
Battlefield 4 [2] EA DICE TBA
Blacklight: Retribution Zombie Studios TBA
Call of Duty: Ghosts [3] Infinity Ward November 5th, 2013
The Crew Ubisoft Reflections TBA
The Dark Sorceror TBA
Daylight [4] Zombie Studios TBA
DC Universe Online [5] Sony Online Entertainment TBA
Deep Down Capcom TBA
Destiny Bungie TBA
Diablo III Blizzard Entertainment TBA
The Division Massive TBA
Dont Starve Klei Entertainment
Dragon Age Inquisition BioWare Fall 2014
DriveClub Evolution Studios Launch Window
Dying Light [6] Techland TBA
EA Sports UFC [7] EA TBA
Elder Scrolls Online Bethesda/Senimax TBA
FIFA Soccer 14 [8] EA TBA
Final Fantasy (PS4) Square Enix TBA
Final Fantasy XIV Square Enix TBA
Final Fantasy XV Square Enix TBA
Galak-Z 17-Bit Games TBA
Infamous: Second Son Sucker Punch Q1 2014 [9]
Just Dance 2014 Ubisoft TBA
Killzone: Shadow Fall Guerrilla Games Launch Window
Kingdom Hearts III Disney TBA
Knack Studios Japan Launch Window
LEGO: Marvel Super Heroes TT Games Q4 2013
Madden 25 [10] EA TBA
Mad Max Warner Bros. TBA
Mercenary Kings Tribute Games TBA
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain Kojima Productions TBA
Mirror’s Edge 2 DICE TBA
NBA 2K14 November 2013 [11]
NBA Live 14 [12] EA TBA
Need for Speed Rivals [13] EA TBA
Octodad: Deadliest Catch Young Horses, Inc.
Oddworld: New n’ Tasty Just Add Water Fall 2013
Outlast Red Barrels
The Order 1866 Ready At Dawn TBA
Peggle 2 PopCap TBA
Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare PopCap TBA
PlanetSide 2 [14] Sony Online Entertainment TBA
Primal Carnage: Genesis Lukewarm Media TBA
Ray’s The Dead Rag Tag Studios
Secret Ponchos Switchblade Monkeys
Skylanders Swap Force [15] Vicarious Visions TBA
Sniper Elite 3 [16] 505 Games TBA
Star Wars Battlefront DICE TBA
The Witness Thekla, Inc TBA
Thief [17] Square-Enix 2014
Transistor Supergiant Games 2014
Warframe [18] Digital Extremes TBA
War Thunder [19] Gaijin Entertainment Fall 2013
Watch Dogs UbiSoft Montreal TBA
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt CD Projekt RED 2014
Wolfenstein: The New Order MachineGames TBA

Xbox One: All Announced Games Thus Far (IGN.com)

This wiki will continue to be updated over the next few years, but for now at least you can head over to IGN and see the list of nearly 50 games already announced!

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List of Confirmed Xbox One Games

These games were confirmed to be next-gen Xbox games at the Xbox announcement on May 21, 2013. At the Xbox One announcement Microsoft claimed to have 15 Xbox One exclusive games in its first year, with 8 of those being new franchises. [1]

Game Developer Release Date
Assassin’s Creed 4 [2] Ubisoft Montreal TBA
Battlefield 4 [3] EA Digital Illusions CE (DICE) TBA
Below Capybara TBA
Call of Duty: Ghosts [4] Infinity Ward 11.5.2013 [5]
The Crew Ubisoft Reflections TBA
Crimson Dragon Grounding TBA
D4 Swery TBA
Dead Rising 3 Capcom Q4 2013
Destiny [6] Bungie TBA
The Division Massive TBA
Dragon Age Inquisition BioWare Fall 2014
Dying Light [7] Techland TBA
Elder Scrolls Online Bethesda/Zenimax TBA
Fantasia: Music Evolved[8] Harmonix TBA
FIFA Soccer 14 [9] EA TBA
Final Fantasy XV Square-Enix TBA
Forza Motorsport 5 [10] Turn 10 TBA
Halo for Xbox One 343 Studios TBA
Just Dance 2014 Ubisoft TBA
Killer Instinct Double Helix TBA
Kinect Sports Rivals [11] Rare TBA
Kingdom Hearts 3 Square-Enix TBA
LocoCycle [12] Twisted Pixel TBA
Madden 25 [13] EA TBA
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain Kojima Productions TBA
Minecraft [14] Mojang TBA
Mirror’s Edge EA DICE When it’s ready
NBA 2K14 Visual Concepts November 2013 [15]
NBA Live 14 [16] EA TBA
Need for Speed Rivals [17] EA TBA
Peggle 2 PopCap TBA
Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare PopCap TBA
Project Spark TBA
Quantum Break [18] Remedy Entertainment TBA
Rabbids Invasion
Ryse Crytek TBA
Skylanders Swap Force[19] Vicarious Visions TBA
Star Wars Battlefront TBA
Sunset Overdrive Insomniac Games TBA
Thief [20] Eidos Studios Montreal TBA
Titanfall Respawn TBA [21]
Trials Fusion TBA
EA Sports UFC [22] EA TBA
Watch Dogs [23] Ubisoft TBA
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt CD Projekt Red TBA
Wolfenstein: The New Order MachineGames TBA
Zoo Tycoon [24] Blue Fang TBA
Zumba Fitness World Party Majesco TBA
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