Dragon Quest X for August 2nd in Japan! Online and Memory Fees Spell Trouble.

The time has come. As usual, a Dragon Quest release in Japan is a celebration. However, this is going to be one tough cookie to swallow, because for the first time in the series, it’s going to jump the MMO ship…which means that there are additional fees you need to be aware of. First off are the subscription fees, which range from 12$ a month to 36$ for 90 days. Standard stuff for today’s MMOs only a bit cheaper (than WoW).

The 2nd requirement is an impressive feat from the developer; for the first time in the Wii’s history, someone stepped up and used the USB ports for storage. The modding scene has been doing it for years, but no Wii game had officially took advantage of the Wii’s most underrated and hidden feature until Square-Enix, which is sad when you think of the wasted sea of opportunities during its lifecycle. Anyway, Dragon Quest X requires 16GB of USB memory to run, which should be cheap to buy. It baffles me, however, that the bundled version of the game with the USB costs 100$. Why 40$ for 16GB? Either way, you still need that storage. I’m sure most gamers have it, but if you live under a rock that’s additional cost right there.

Not only that, but DQX ships on two discs…and obviously the Wii doesn’t have any disc writing in sight so we’re expected to flip between the two at certain points in an online MMO, which may spell all sorts of trouble. Unless the 2nd disc is additional data that can be installed in the USB memory.

So yeah, Nintendo’s giving Square Enix all that leeway to have DQX function on the Wii, from having 2 discs to USB storage…two things never done on Wii games. The ultimate question is will it sell as much as its predecessors? The Wii’s user-base is incredibly high so the audience is there, but all these additional fees…will Dragon Quest fans overlook those in favor of the experience? Can they swallow the fact that it’s an MMO with real-time elements to its battle system? Remember when DQ9 had that idea but scrapped it due to threats from hardcore gamers? From the looks of things, in terms of World Design and scope, DQX will wipe the floor with previous installments so whoever plays it will be amazed…but the MMO aspects won’t go away. I, for one, love the risks they’re taking because online play and changes to the battle systems were truly missing from DQIX, a game I devoted 100 hours into. I would love to play it across the world with people like Jarrod. So this experiment is awesome.

Let’s state the obvious; unless the Wii U has a 2013 release date, this version of Dragon Quest X with its current form of play will never make it outside of Japan. Because for all intents and purposes, we should consider DQX for Wii a beta-test for the worldwide Wii U release. Nintendo and Square Enix need to keep an eye out for the subscription model outside of Japan. The series is already niche in the UK and US, so attaching that same typical subscription model will turn people off. I’m not saying that they should completely eliminate it like Monster Hunter Tri, but they should offer an extended time of free play (like two months) and slash the current prices down to half to get people interested.

17 thoughts on “Dragon Quest X for August 2nd in Japan! Online and Memory Fees Spell Trouble.”

  1. I don’t know what to think about this. While it’s very cool that Square-Enix is trying something new with both the series, and the Wii hardware itself, the Wii is long past its prime for a game like this. I’m sure it will sell in Japan, but will it move the numbers the companies both want? That’s I’m just not so sure about. Everyone has a Wii, as you said, but I’ve got this strange feeling that it may not perform as well as they all want. That’s not to say it will bomb, because there’s no way that will happen. They could release Dragon Quest and the Shining Pile of Poo and it would sell at least a million units, but I wonder what kind of longevity this game could possibly have? On PC MMOs can last for years because so long as you have the minimum entry specs you’re good to go, but the Wii is on its last legs, are people really going to devote years to this game before wanting all the biggest and best games the Wii U has to offer? We know the Wii U is backwards compatible with Wii, but still.

    Not so sure about this.

  2. Well it’s just like FFXI’s release one PS2, Jarrod. That was released on the PS2’s last legs too…and for an MMO it did reasonably well. Square-Enix should know that they’re entering a whole different market with DQX. And it is expected that it doesn’t sell the high numbers that Dragon Quest games are known for at first because of the subscription fees. MMOs should secure longevitity and continuous new content so they’ll have to manage it for a couple of years. The projected sales should include both the number of units sold and how many people subscribing to the game constantly. So in essence, the sales numbers of the game alone are expected to be lower than usual, but the profit should be just about the same if we include subscription fees. So when it’s all said and done, DQX may turn out to be the most sucessful Japanese MMO in history, but not the highest selling DQ title. It can be highly profitable for SE given the associated fees, but I’m not expecting earth shattering sales numbers in the time being.

    1. I don’t know if I’d compare it directly to FF XI, only because the PS2 was the market leader even in 2004, when the game was released. The Wii is not. I also wouldn’t say the PS2 was on its last legs in 2004, remember that FF XII was released in 2006, and God of War II was released in 2007 so check your dates on that ;) Also, let’s not forget that FF XI was released on PC a full year and a half before the PS2 release. So basically, totally different markets and system compared to where DQ X is coming in over in Japan.

      You’re 100% right that they don’t need the sales in order to make this profitable, but I’m wondering just that. Will this be as profitable as they intend? If this was on PS3 right now I’d say sure because the PS3 has been eating up the charts for the past two years almost. The Wii has been extremely slow, but hey this is DQ right, so anything is possible. We know the Japanese are going to eat this up, but when it arrives over here I’m hoping they go the free to play route with a subscription model after a certain level. So many MMOs are doing that these days and it seems like the easiest way to ease the rest of the world into the game.

  3. You’re absolutely right about FFXI. Forgot its dates and it shouldn’t be compared. The problem with DQX is that it was announced when Wii was market leader, but didn’t make it in time because like you said, it’s practically dried up right now. It will still make them cash by the time the Wii U version rolls in which should be a more seamless experience. But they’ll at least have to consider cross compatible servers and saves between the Wii and Wii U versions so that the Japanese easily move over to the new console. Another thing that should be considered for a worldwide release is a PC version. Most MMOs are on PC and it’ll make sense for them to have it on PC eventually.

    1. Yeah for sure Ahmed, for the rest of the world a PC version is a no-brainer, and NEEDS to happen for this to be viable long-term. Even if the Wii U claims the market from day 1, the userbase will be initially small and Square-Enix will want to capitalize on the userbase of the PC crowd. Release it as a universal game on Steam so the Mac crowd can get onboard as well, and that would even further their subscription base.

      When it comes to the Wii U, I think this would be a really killer first year game for the platform if Nintendo and Square-Enix can make it happen. Imagine having DQ X available a few months after release? That’d be a pretty big coup for the big N. I’m also really wondering what Nintendo has up their sleeve when it comes to launch window software. We’ll find out in another six weeks or so.

      1. DQX for the Wii U at launch window worldwide would be incredibly awesome. Hope they can make it happen.

        Due to the exclusivity deal Dragon Quest games tend to have, I guess it’ll be awhile until we see a PC release. But it has to happen. Square-Enix isn’t exactly sitting on mountains of cash right now and they need to take every opportunity to get back from their financial strains.

        1. Indeed Ahmed, indeed (pertaining to S-E cash situation). I think we’ll see a PC version sometime.

          I really wonder how the rest of the world will react to this game. I know it will be big in Japan, but even there I’m really curious to see how it plays out. Will they get 4 million subscribers? If so, well that’s huge. I just have this funny feeling it may not happen, not sure though. These things are always such a huge gamble.

  4. Another hurdle is this will look and play similar to Dragon Quest 8, a fully realized 3D installment with camera control. As you know, Japanese fans are not exactly fond of that complexity if you look at DQ8’s sales compared to the rest. So they really need to make camera control a smooth experience for everyone now that the battle system has real time elements to it.

    Yeah I’m not really sure how it will work on a worldwide scale. The recent DQ releases have gotten warm receptions but not overwhelmingly popular. The problem with DQX is that it’s an MMO and in the event that it flops misrably worldwide they’ll have to pull the plug on the servers, rendering it unplayable for the future…which is kind of unfortunate, but it comes with the territory so what can you do.

  5. Yeah and let’s not forget how drastically different DQ VIII was in Japan compared to the rest of the world. So this is going to be a huge change for them.

    I hope the game is successful, but at the same time I hope it isn’t too successful. I want another traditional DQ one of these years. ;)

  6. Yeah I get you. Would be nice to get a combination of the two types with the next one, just like White Knight Chronicles 2. An offline single player game with a beefy free to play online mode which isn’t 100% integrated with your offline experience.

  7. Now there’s a game I haven’t tried, White Knight Chronicles 2. I’ve heard excellent things about it too. Maybe I should check into that one of these centuries lol.

  8. I’d like to point out that FFXI still has a large following in Japan. So much so that although you can get every expansion of FFXI — including the newest one — for $20 in NA, you’d have to pay over $100 to get everything in Japan right now. Making DQX an MMO may not seem like a sound business proposal on a global scale, but loyal Japanese gamers will continue paying for it for another ten years… and in Japan, the DQ series has the pedestal that FF claims in NA.

  9. For a Wii game it looks pretty good, but I would never buy this game even tho I’m an MMO fan. A few reasons why I would not buy this game.

    1. It’s an MMO on a console system, and that alone means it’s going to be crap!
    2. It’s an Asian MMO…Asian MMO are a GRIND FEST and no way will I play one on any platform EVER.
    3. The game looks more like a single player game, with online co-op.

    Sorry, not interested at all. I don’t like Asian MMO games so there is no way I’m going to support this title. But it’s good to see a company use the USB ports for something major tho!

  10. The game seems cool but the Wii seems like an awkward place for an MMO at this point considering what you all mentioned above in addition to the rather lackluster online infrastructure Nintendo is known for. If it was a PS3, PC, or Wii U release I’d be more inclined to play it.

    1. It will be for the Wii U, Charles. Square-Enix has been developing both versions simultaneously. I’m expecting that version to hit sometime next year, although I’m crossing my fingers for this year for the international audience at least.

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