Lord of the Rings Online Developer Working on Console MMOs

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Would you play a massively multiplayer online game with a gamepad from the plush comfort of your easy chair? If Turbine's cryptic announcement yesterday that the developer was working on "console MMO products" is more than just noise, you could be as early as next year.

Speaking to Kotaku, Turbine's communications director Adam Mersky said the company was "actively developing a title for console," and using part of the $40 million it recently received from Time Warner to fund the project. Turbine's online dev director Jeff Steefel, speaking to Videogaming247, adds that the company will probably talk specifics early next year.

Could it be Lord of the Rings Online? Doubtful, for the same reasons Blizzard's World of Warcraft hasn't made the leap yet.

"It's the interface, stupid." Porting an interface as complex as WoW's or LotRo's would be daunting. Ask anyone who's played both the PC and Xbox 360 or PS2 versions of Final Fantasy XI which one they prefer. It's hardly a contest.

That's not to say Turbine couldn't port the game in some way and then keep a bank of console servers partitioned off from the PC servers. But then they'd have to support two separate code bases. Again, not impossible, just not as ideal from a business perspective.

But who ultimately knows. Turbine has the rights to make Tolkien-based MMOs until 2012, and the option to extend that to 2017 if it likes (its Mines of Moria expansion for LotRo hits in just a few weeks). Think where we were only a decade ago, then imagine where we might be a decade out. It's hard to imagine console MMOs not being mainstream by that point.

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