Turbine opens up on console MMOGs

Lord of the Rings Online developer sees a massively multiplayer move to the living room; talks up possibilities of integrating motion-sensing or music-game peripherals.

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EDINBURGH--According to Turbine executive Nathan Jones, the massively multiplayer online gaming genre is only going to expand. Speaking at the Edinburgh Interactive Festival today, the Lord of the Rings Online developer's vice president of corporate and business development gave his views on the future of massively multiplayer online games, pointing to social networks and consoles as two expanding frontiers.

MMOGs like Lord of the Rings Online combine social networks with games.
MMOGs like Lord of the Rings Online combine social networks with games.

"MMOs offer the best of social networks, virtual worlds, and games," Jones said, with the caveat that there is still room for expansion. He cited his company's own MY LOTRO Web site, which integrates social networking features and game data to enable the firm to maintain "almost continuous engagement" with users. Creating minigames on sites such as Facebook and MySpace also expands the reach of the community and provides a way for new consumers to be reached and drawn into the game, he concluded.

Beyond the expansion of current games, Jones' Edinburgh lecture touched on the lack of MMO games on consoles. He noted that companies are increasingly looking to bring their MMO games to the living room, "whether that's an extension to an existing game or a new one."

When asked about the possibility of integrating peripherals like the Wii Remote or rhythm game controllers, Jones said that this would be tied inexorably with the move to the console. "Once there, it opens up a whole other category of opportunities," he said.               

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