Sony Online Entertainment president John Smedley is in love with the idea of massively multiplayer games on the PlayStation 3, suggesting that one day the console will account for nearly half of the company's business.
Smedley made the statement during an interview with GameDaily regarding the evolving MMO space, explaining that the PlayStation Network's 15 million player plus players are a ripe audience for more involved gameplay experiences.
"I think a lot of the people who play PS3 games right now aren't the same people playing MMOs right now. I think [MMOs on PS3 is] going to bring in a lot of new players. There are certainly people who have consoles and PCs in their house. The difference is what they actively play. PS3 gamers are used to playing Resistance 2 instead of a shooter on the PC. I think we can bring this kind of gaming to this audience and I think it's going to be huge."
I remain skeptical about how successful an MMORPG can be on a console. Final Fantasy XI does well enough, but most users wind up getting themselves a keyboard in order to chat, and once you've got a keyboard sitting in front of you you may as well just be sitting in front of a computer. There are controller-based keypads out there, but you cannot chat as effortlessly as you could with a full keyboard. Voice chat is an option, certainly, but players who prefer to roleplay the opposite gender would be left out, barring some pretty innovative voice masking.
Still, Smedley could certainly be right. There are 15 million plus PSN users out there, and how many people still play Everquest 2 regularly? Vanguard? The Matrix Online? Star Wars Galaxies? Yeah, the PS3 could easily match that.