T&A: GamesIndustry.biz reported that Blizzard’s Rob Pardo has had talks with Microsoft at the 2009 Game Developers Conference (GDC) currently being held in San Francisco on what the next-generation console after the Xbox 360 might be.
However, several game developers interviewed felt that both Microsoft and Sony have yet to discuss future console plans with game companies, raising concerns that console manufacturers might be too focused on mainstream entertainment services rather than games.
To the general consumer, it is an obvious evolution when console makers start adding non-game-related features into their systems, such as movie downloads, music videos, photo and video album facilities to be accessed via their gamepads and HDTVs. However, some game software developers might see this as competing against bigger entertainment players in the industry, instead of helping to further nurture a stronger gaming industry.
Yet there might be a cause for cheer if Blizzard is in talks with Microsoft on the next-gen console. The company has yet to actively explore creating games based on its successful Diablo, StarCraft and WarCraft universes outside of the PC/Mac platform. This is due mainly to the limitations of the input devices or lackluster multiplayer support infrastructure among consoles in the past.
With a huge following for its game universes, and if this report by the PC Gaming Alliance is anything to go by (where Blizzard’s Massive Multiplayer Online (MMO) game, World of WarCraft, contributed US$1 billion-plus in revenue to the PC games industry last year), there is a great potential for the next-gen console to become an MMO or real-time strategy champ, rather than a living room entertainment champ.