Phantasy Star Online 2 is an upcoming massively multiplayer online role-playing game that is going to be released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation Vita, iOS and Android. When the aforementioned title was first announced most people were expecting the game to be only on the PC. But now that we now that it’ll also be available on handhelds, do players really want to play their favorite MMOs on portable devices? Last week we discussed the fact that Blizzard has been analyzing the possibility of putting out an iPhone version of World of Warcraft and to me personally, that seems like a great idea. While Blizzard keeps analyzing the market, Phantasy Star Online 2 may be the first game to actually put the concept into practice.
First, let’s discuss some details about the upcoming MMO: Phantasy Star Online 2 is an action RPG that will be using the free-to-play model, allowing players to buy additional items and specific benefits (like leveling up faster.) Furthermore, the PC and PS Vita versions of the game will use the same servers and consequently, players will be able to use their characters on both platforms. The phone version of the game will feature a character creation option and a different control scheme adapted to a touchscreen. It has also been stated that the PC version, which will be the most technically proficient one, will be released this summer in Japan. Vita users, on the other hand, will have to wait until 2013 to be able to get a copy of the game and the smartphone version will be released this winter.
Taking into account what we already know about the game and the differences among each version, it seems like getting the MMO on a handheld will be quite appealing. If you are quite invested in a huge game of this kind, it seems reasonable that you have two versions: one on the PC and one on the Vita. As both platforms will allow you to play with the same character and the account will supposedly be shared, you’ll have the best of both worlds. You experience the game on a high resolution when you are home and when you have to leave (and as long as you have an internet connection) you’ll be able to continue your adventure on the go.
Of course it’s too early to tell how many players will be incentivized to do something like this, but up to now, this sound really good on paper. Still, there haven’t been many cross-platform MMOs that allow players to play on both the PC and a handheld, but if SEGA (note that Phantasy Star Online 2 is being developed by the Sonic Team) manages to pull this off, it can be a great initiative that other companies will start considering for some other similar games in the genre. As a fan of both portable gaming and action role-playing games this seems particularly exciting and this has the potential to start a new trend that will allow users to play their favorite MMO no matter where they are.