Massively multiplayer online games are currently in a state of flux when it comes to next-gen, thanks to the free-to-play market and players wanting new experiences, DC Universe Online creative director Jens Andersen told Polygon today.
We spoke with Andersen about the future of MMOs during Sony's launch event taking place in New York City. According to Andersen, the genre is currently undergoing "a huge metamorphosis."
"I think people are tired of that old MMO," Andersen said. "[World of Warcraft] has a lock on that; good for them. That's why products like [DC Universe Online] and EverQuest Next are moving into a new direction for what players want out of these types of games."
MMOs are an important part of the gaming scene because they're about community, Andersen said. That detail will play an important role in the genre's step into next-gen. Referencing the PlayStation 4, Andersen called the controller's share button the most important feature.
"If you start thinking about players getting together and experiencing these things not by themselves or in small groups, but in large groups as part of large communities, sharing becomes very important," Andersen said. "I think with things like Twitch TV and livestreaming becoming much more popular, various social media — the fact that you're seeing these things appear on the consoles in terms of next-gen ... is really perfect for MMOs."
MMOs are a passionate investment, Andersen said, that players love to engage with as much as possible. Free-to-play MMOs are no exception. Although MMOs characteristically require a huge time investment, the developer doesn't believe they always will.
"I think if MMOs can do a good job changing and balancing how long their play sessions are by keeping that longevity of the game's lifetime ... it has legs for the consumer," Andersen said. "It's something they can enjoy for years."
"I think MMOs and the free-to-play market are very important for that reason. They offer a tremendous value free for a lot of content, and a lot of opportunities to share that experience — not only with people out there in the virtual space by streaming, but by the actual players that you're meeting."
Alexa Ray Corriea contributed to this report.