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ArenaNet once considered bringing their MMO Guild Wars 2 to the Xbox 360 and PS3. However, they've decided to opt against a port due to the policies of Microsoft and Sony.
"Development for console was something that we did experiment with and try and see [if it would work]," GW2 lead content designer Mike Zadorojny told Eurogamer. "But we were always committed to making sure that we were PC platform first. And especially as we move towards this living world strategy where we're trying to release content as fast as we are - trying to do that on a console is extremely difficult."
Guild Wars 2 hosts in-game events on a regular basis. Each event adds new playable content to the MMO. ArenaNet announced last week that they plan to release new events every two weeks moving forward. The studio's goal is to make GW2 "the most frequently updated and best supported game experience you can find."
It's easy to ArenaNet can adhere to such a schedule on PC because there are no restrictions on their patching. Doing two-week updates on Xbox 360 and PS3 would be difficult, though. Microsoft and Sony must certify all patches for games on their platforms. In some cases, developers have to pay for these patches as well. As a result, the console versions of multiplatform games often lag behind their PC counterparts in terms of new fixes and content. It would be difficult to keep GW2 consistent across all platforms, then.
As Eurogamer notes, the next-gen consoles seem to be more hospitable toward MMO's. Elder Scrolls Online will be released on Xbox One, PS4 and PC simultaneously. Sony Online Entertainment plans to bring PlanetSide 2 and DC Universe Online to the PS4 as well. Zadorojny admits that he's curious to see how these MMO's fare on Xbox One and PS4, but ArenaNet has no plans for those consoles yet.
"The outstanding question is how fast can they iterate and develop new releases and content patches after the launch, because that is going to be the big challenge. For us, we just develop so fast for the PC that it's very easy for us to have these new ideas and bring them out and put them live in such a short, rapid development cycle. It's easier for us to do it on PC than on Xbox One or PS4."
It's going to come down to how flexible Sony and Microsoft will be toward MMO developers. They have to accept the fact that a massively multiplayer game is going to need constant patching, especially at launch. It only benefits them to make it easier for these developers to fix their game. Otherwise, the console editions of MMO's will always be considered second-rate.
Guild Wars 2's latest event, Bazaar of the Four Winds, will go live on July 9th.