DUST514: bridging the platform divide

We’re pleased to introduce Phillip Street (SL: Jageral Kuhn) as gaming writer for The Metaverse Journal. He’ll be writing pieces intermittently about upcoming gaming worlds that may have impacts wider than their brief.

dust514 A game currently under development has caught my interest lately. It’s CCP’s DUST514 – a console based MMOFPS that is aiming to tie in with CCP’s EVE Online, which is well known to many in the MMO community as a premier SciFi MMORPG. It’s not so much the gaming aspects of DUST514 I’m interested in, but the fact it plans to bridge the divide and merge gaming platforms.

DUST514 was announced a while ago on August 18th, 2009 at the Game Developers Conference in Germany, so it’s not breaking news and I’m not all that interested in the games announcement itself. What is interesting is that CCP is planning to allow players from DUST514 to affect players on EVE Online and vice-versa, but the games themselves differ greatly in game-play and targeted platform.

DUST514 will be an infantry-based FPS style game running on console platforms (such as the PS3, Xbox360 and Wii), where the intent will be to assault and conquer planets as well as undertake contracted tasks. I believe there will also be gaming elements that do not require interaction with EVE Online. For those not familiar, EVE Online is a Sci-Fi based MMORPG that runs on the PC platform (Windows and MacOSX), and it is iconic in the MMO arena as being a game with quite a high level of difficulty but also being one of a few that boasts a rich, detailed economy and gaming environment.

I’m really excited by the prospect of MMO’s branching out onto other platforms and not only duplicating the gaming experience but extending and transforming it into something unique and different that caters for players on those machines. CCP are really breaking some ground, and yes I’m aware other companies have explored the idea of bringing their games to various platforms, but there are none that I’m aware of that have taken the same path and tried a hybrid approach with differing gameplay.

With the advent of smart-phones capable of connecting to the internet that also boast 3D graphics and powerful processing capabilities, it would be the next logical step to think that these devices could also play a part in the Hybrid MMO platform lineup. With a lot of the smart-phones allowing third-party software development, I’m sure it won’t be long before enterprising companies take the plunge and release official applications to support and even extend the online gaming experience.

This doesn’t only apply to gaming either, as I think that Second Life and non-gaming MMO platforms could make use of gaming consoles and portable smart-phones. It would be another great way to reach an audience that might otherwise not be able to connect to the online community.

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