World Of Warcraft lead systems designer Greg Street believes that making MMOs work on consoles would be a "huge challenge," but an opportunity that Blizzard are excited to explore.
“It would be a huge challenge to take something like World Of Warcraft with its massive hard drive footprint and its reliance on mouse and keyboard,” Street explained to NowGamer. “I think if we were going to make a MMO for consoles then we might take it in a different direction.”
Using the recently-announced PS3/PS4 version of Diablo III as an example, Street suggested that the design team were forced to “change some of the very fundamentals of the game to make it work differently.” Making the experience work on a console controller, and without Battle.net integration, requires a very different way of thinking.
“It can be done, it would just be a big challenge for a game like WoW,” he elaborated. “It excites me. It would be something fun to work on just because of the design challenges would be kind of interesting to try to solve.”
Looking ahead, the advent of tablet devices, new hardware and games that subvert traditional MMO gaming (like Defiance and DUST 514) could bring brand new opportunities and challenges for MMO designers.
"Gosh, the next few years are going to be so interesting in this industry," Street prophesied. "We get to see where do the next generation of consoles go and where do tablets and portable devices go, and what are players most interested in?"
"I don’t have a crystal ball and I don’t know where it's going, but I know it's going to be a fun ride."
Perhaps Blizzard's long-rumoured Project Titan could take aim at a multiplatform release. Until more details are available, we can look ahead to Diablo 3's console launch to see what the veteran studio can bring to the next generation.