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.

PAX Prime 2013 Hosts $1+ Million eSports Prizes (GameSpot.com)

Though these prize amounts don’t begin to rival DOTA 2’s nearly $3 million in total cash awards, if Major League Gaming has it’s way, they soon will. Several games, including Guild Wars 2’s PVP tournament, will find either their national or international championship bouts fought at PAX Prime this year. At first glance, it seems PAX is ready to see over $1 million dished out to deserving teams.

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Halo 4, League of Legends Championships lead eSports at PAX

$300,000 on the line for Halo’s first-ever Global Championship, with $200,000 going to the winners.

The Halo 4 Global Championships, League of Legends Season 3 North American Playoffs, World of Tanks International World Finals, MLG Call of Duty Invitational, and Smite North American Invitational will all be held at PAX Prime this weekend.

Several former Major League Gaming Halo champions are competing, including Michael “StrongSide” Cavanaugh, Eric “Snip3down” Wrona, and Faisal “Goofy” Khan. A schedule and live stream information can be found on the official official 343 site. An interview with Frank O’Connor, Development Director for the Halo franchise at 343 Industries will be available this weekend.$300,000 is on the line for Halo’s first-ever Global Championship, with $200,000 going to the winners. The tournament will be held at Benaroya Hall in Seattle, the same location Valve used for the Dota 2 International Championships.

Last week at Gamescom, three European teams–Fnatic, Lemondogs, and Gambit Gaming–qualified for the League of Legends World Championships in October.

Now another $100,000 is on the line and four spots for the North American teams to the World Championships. With North America’s win over Europe at the All-Star game, the region gets an additional spot at the Finals.

Teams Cloud 9 and Vulcun wait in the wings, as fan-favorites Team SoloMid, Counter Logic Gaming, Curse, and Dignitas battle it out in the opening rounds. A schedule and live stream information can be found on the official Riot eSports site.

Major League Gaming and Turtle Beach are hosting an 8-team $10,000 Call of Duty Invitational featuring Anaheim Champions Complexity, EnvyUs, Impact, Unite, Kaliber, Soar, Faze, and Bad History.

Teams were invited based on their 2013 Call of Duty Championship and MLG Pro Circuit performances and the MLG Pro Points Rankings. The broadcast schedule can be found onMLG’s site, and the stream can be watched on MLG TV.

The world finals of the World of Tanks Open tournament will be on display, with $100,000 up for grabs for the best teams from North America, Russia, Europe, China, South East Asia, and South America. Twitch.tv will be broadcasting the tournament on Sunday, September 1 at Showbox SoDo in Seattle.

Upcoming eSports Competitions For 2013 (DigitalTrends.com)

I’m not sure this is “all” the upcoming trends, given the author didn’t include the ArenaNet Guild Wars 2 $10K Invitational, the finals of which will play out at PAX Prime, but it is a rather astounding list if you weren’t closely tracking the eSports industry.

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Gamers compete at the recent MLG championships

It’s not easy keeping up with the competitive world of eSports. There are several tournaments held throughout the year, and many of them are unique to one game. More are introduced as the demand requires, and others are simply parts of bigger events.

To help remedy that Digital Trends has compiled this list of all the major eSports events remaining this year and into the beginning of next, from League of Legends to World of Tanks to Call of Duty: Black Ops II and more. It’s by no means comprehensive, but it’s close. If there’s anything important missing make sure to say so in the comments, and it will be added.

MLG PCs

League of Legends

Hot6 League of Legends Champions Summer 2013 Grand Finals

  • South Korea Aug 28 – 31
  • League of Legends

Riot Games League of Legends Championship Series Season 3 World Championship

  • TBA
  • League of Legends

Garena Premier League 2013 Playoffs

  • TBA
  • League of Legends

StarCraft II

Dreamhack Open Valencia ’13

  • Valencia, Spain July 18 – 21
  • StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm

Major League Gaming Summer Invite

  • New York July 20 – 28
  • StarCraft II

MLG watching

Red Bull Training Grounds Orlando

  • Orlando, FL July 26 – 28
  • StarCraft II

ASUS Republic of Gamers Assembly Summer 2013

  • Helsinki, Finland Aug. 1 – 3
  • StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm

North American Star League StarCraft II World Championship Series America Season 2 League Finals

  • Santa Monica, CA Aug. 10 – 11
  • StarCraft II

Dreamhack Open Bucharest ’13

  • Bucharest, Romania Sept. 14 – 15
  • Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm

Dreamhack Open Winter ’13

  • Jönköping, Sweden Nov. 28 – 30
  • StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm

MLG Announcers

League of Legends and Starcraft

Electronic Sports League Intel Extreme Masters Season 8 New York Comic-Con

  • New York Oct. 10 – 13
  • League of Legends, StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm

Electronic Sports League Intel Extreme Masters Season 8 Singapore

  • Singapore November
  • League of Legends, StaCraft II: Heart of the Swarm

Electronic Sports League Intel Extreme Masters Season 8 Sao Paulo

  • Sao Paulo, Brazil Feb. 2014
  • League of Legends, StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm

Electronic Sports League Intel Extreme Masters Season 8 World Finals

  • Katowice, Poland March 14 – 16 2014
  • League of Legends, StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm

World of Tanks

Wargaming.net League North America Season 1 Finals

MLG crowd

  • Las Vegas August 17 – 18
  • World of Tanks

Wargaming.net 2013 TanksAsia Season 1 Finals

  • Sept. 7
  • World of Tanks

DOTA 2

Valve’s The International 3 Finals

  • Seattle Aug. 7 – 11
  • DOTA 2

Multiple Games

 UMG Atlanta / Arena Gaming League 9

  • Atlanta, GA Aug. 9 – 11
  • Halo 4, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2

MLG Audience

European Gaming League EGL 10

  • Sheffield, England Aug. 10 – 11
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, FIFA 13, Halo 4

Electronic Sports World Cup

  • Paris Oct. 30 – Nov. 3
  • Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, DOTA 2, Shootmania, Trackmania 2 Stadium, FIFA 14

Major League Gaming 2013 Championship

  • Columbus, Ohio Nov. 22 – 24
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, StarCraft II, League of Legends

World Cyber Games 2013 Grand Final

  • Kunshan, China Nov. 28 – Dec. 1
  • Cross Fire, FIFA 14, League of Legends, StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition, Warcraft 3: The Frozen Throne, World of Tanks
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