Last week, Wargaming
showcased its latest beta of World of Warplanes
alongside its flagship World of Tanks
for the Xbox 360 at a Promenade event in San Francisco. Promenade events are aimed at generating a high degree of buzz and consumer interest for emerging innovative products. One aspect worth watching will be Wargaming's dedication to e-sports, which the studio outlined during the Wargaming.net League competitions on Twitch
.World of Tanks
enjoys a commanding position in the MMO space with over 70 million registered users, so launching on the Xbox 360 with an exclusive relationship with Microsoft means it won't be showing up on platforms from its chief rival, Sony. Wargaming senior producer Gareth Luke explained to me that the studio's challenge is in ensuring that players are given an opportunity to immerse themselves in Wargaming's titles without needing to subscribe or be forced to pay for basic enjoyment of the gaming experience. The free-to-play-with-premium-paid-content business model will require careful fiscal choreography by Microsoft and Wargaming to keep the Xbox edition in line with the PC version. This is arguably Microsoft's first foray into this style of console monetization and might just set the stage for other similar game offerings, so it could have a much broader impact on MMO players who prefer starships and elves.
Unfortunately, there is no cross-platform opportunity for combat between the Xbox 360 and PC systems. There are some notable differences between gameplay on each; the most obvious is the speed at which a player returns to battle after death on the Xbox. Wargaming explained that this change is aimed at the typical console player expectation of immediate action. Targeting on the controller is another key difference, since consoles lack the precision of a mouse.
The latest beta version of World of Warplanes
was also being featured at Promenade and continued to impress me with stunning visuals, accurate plane physics, and dog fighting techniques that produce realistic combat results. Its release date has been extended to November 12th, though you can get in on the beta right
now. The 360 release of World of Tanks
, on the other hand, hasn't been announced and will depend on the monetization agreement with Microsoft.
The PS3 has been my sole console for some time, but after seeing Wargaming's stable of titles, I think maybe it is time to see if I have a spare HDMI connection to add a new Xbox.
Massively's not big on scored reviews -- what use are those to ever-changing MMOs? That's why we bring you first impressions, previews, hands-on experiences, and even follow-up impressions for nearly every game we stumble across. First impressions count for a lot, but games evolve, so why shouldn't our opinions?