Tobold's Blog
Saturday, January 20, 2007
 
Playing WoW on your cell phone

World of Warcraft runs on PCs, and on no other platform. Blizzard often gets asked whether they will port it onto one or several next generation consoles, but they always say that the idea is interesting, but not something that will happen in the near future. The interest lies in the fact that more people own a console than own a PC capable of playing WoW. The problem lies in the fact that people would expect the same experience on every platform, and that is by no means easy. But what if you could play *parts* of World of Warcraft on another platform, a portable one, like your cell phone?

Imagine it is your lunch break at work, or you are traveling, and you have a bit of time, but not the hardware and connection to play World of Warcraft. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a mini-version of WoW on your cell phone that would only allow you to log into the game, chat with your friends and guild mates, and do some activities with your character that don’t require a 3D interface? For example buying and selling on the auction house, sending and receiving mail, and managing your inventory would all be very much possible on a cell phone, without requiring much data volume nor graphics capabilities.

For the players that would be convenient. For the game company this could be an additional source of income. Blizzard sells the “WoW cell phone client” for $5, and does a deal with the cell phone company that gives Blizzard 5 cents for every minute that somebody connects. Given the millions of players, that could quickly add up to quite a large pile of money.

Spinning the idea further, some people would certainly use the cell phone WoW even when at home, because it allows their characters to access the mail box, bank, and auction house without being in a city. That adds even more additional income. People spend crazy amounts of money on cell phones, for useless things like logos and ring tones, it would be only logical if MMO game companies would want a piece of that pie.

Realistically speaking the idea is probably a couple of years ahead of its time. World of Warcraft might never get there. But I wouldn’t be surprised if in 10 years some other game introduces this feature. Making additional money with very little development effort might well prove irresistible to game companies.
Comments:
I was just thinking yesterday that it would be nice if this existed.
 
I don't think it would work if it's not free to use. It would further isolate the "haves and the have-nots". It would free-up more adventure time for players who have the feature, and make the playing field uneven. Blizzard seems pretty keen on keeping everything fair.

Think back to your post on refereeing the card game tournaments - Would you allow cell phones to be used for greater utility when not everyone has the chance to pay for the service?
 
On a semi-but-not-entirely related note, I'd like to be able to use my cellphone to call into my guild's TS/Vent server and chat to people when I'm not at a computer.

Yes, I am a dork.
 
Eve has been threatening to do this for some time now. Being able to buy/sell, set your skills, etc. via a cell phone would be a godsend to the average EVE addict.

Never thought about it for WoW, though. Good call, Tobold. :)
 
"World of Warcraft runs on PCs, and on no other platform."

Really? Gee, I must have imagined playing it on my Macintosh, then.

-- Ross Smith
 
I play on a Mac as well, but I think he meant "PC" in the more general sense of "Personal Computers", not just Windows based computers as the term is generally used for.
 
My sincere apologies to the Mac user community. I didn't mean to exclude you. I tend to bundle Macs and Windows based computers under the same personal computer heading.
 
What about just a lo-fi subset of WoW content? One example : an auction house client. This works well because (lets face it) putting the WoW experience wholehog into a tiny cellphone doesnt' make a lot of sense. But pulling out little bits of it sure does (at least to me).

What are your thoughts?
 
Tobold had you considered like I have, that your psp would be better equipped for a mobile WoW client, as the psp is handheld it doesnt count as a console...hmmm...could this mean Blizzard havent ruled that option out?!...hmmm...I can dream!
 
I think it is almost inevitable that portable devices (whether portable gaming devices or mobile phones or something new) will soon be powerful enough and connected enough to participate in MMORPGs. What I wonder is whether or not this will be good thing or a bad thing for player's well being. It may be a good thing because the rest of life no longer has to stop just because one is playing but it may also be a bad thing because one no longer ever has to stop.
 
The chance that WoW will ever do this is pretty close to zero. However, I think that MMO's released in the next one or two years will be more likely to allow external tools to access the game. Phone/PDA/PSP, etc will all come soon after that. Perhaps provided directly by the game developer, or maybe even through user-provided tools.
 
Why zero Brandon? If you think MMO's that are released in a year or two may benefit then are you saying Blizzard wouldn't look at it too for WoW if its still around?
 
I agree mostly with comment #2 by Alex. One of WoW's main attractions is a level playing field: $15/month buys you the same experience, whether you're a CEO or social worker. By offering more services for more money, Blizzard would create a bigger gap between the rich/hardcore and poor/casual.

I personally would love to play the AH on my cell phone or a web browser and would pay an extra $5/month to do so. But I would get nothing done at work then. :-)
 
It would be great, and terrible, think of the poor employers! They barely get enough work out of us lazy employees.

With only a few featurees like mail, auctions, bank, and with no plugins like auctioneer, it would be more a convenience than an advantage for players.

Of course as soon as it comes out players would want text message notifications about mail, auctions, etc.
 
I never did confirm this as valid or not

WoW cell phone story

Mainly because my cell phone is an N-Gage and near useless.
 
For a pretty decent cell phone MMORPG try SHADE. Its on Nextel, Boost, Verizon, AT&T, etc. Not nearly as good as WoW but its the best out there for now...
 
Well for u guys information.. it is possible to play WOW on mobile phonehttp://www.edgeofnowhere.cc/viewtopic.php?t=328557&start=0&postdays=0&postorder=asc&highlight=
 
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