Kotaku posted a news article which shows a translation of an interview Square-Enix gave to Famitsu. In it, some rather revealing information is given. It looks like Ahmed and I were right, but let’s get to the crux of the interview and not gloat.
Famitsu: In terms of the PC version, are you looking at [releasing] overseas?
Miyake: Of course we are. However, with the overseas market, in regards to a “Dragon Quest-ish” management, standards and methods of play vary from country to country, so I don’t think we’ll be able to use the single game worldwide method like with Final Fantasy XI.
Saitou: This is just my take on it, but it appears that different countries play games at different speeds, and the community management is also diverse. It’s more than just if players would be able to enjoy universal seasonal events, so I believe we should manage countries and areas separately. That’s why I think we should have separate servers for each country.
While this might seem simple at first, it’s actually more complex than it appears. Final Fantasy XIV has a very unique approach to an MMO in that all the servers are shared, so players in Japan can play with players from Europe and North America. There are even certain speech bubbles players can use to communicate with one another, as the text is automatically translated for the other players. Keep in mind there are a set number of small catchphrases and things like that, so don’t expect fully translated free text or anything. The point is that Square-Enix already has these servers and the tech ready to go, so we know they can easily go that route if they wanted to. What these two gentlemen say is really revealing, basically saying that the rest of the world essentially plays games differently, and that DQ X would have to be altered in order to accommodate said players. What kind of changes or alterations could we realistically expect?
Let’s use World of Warcraft as an example. That game uses different servers based on different regions. This is done for a number of reasons, with one of them being language differences, but the more important one is to cater to the different cultures. Like Miyake-san says, players from different parts of the world play differently than others. WoW has different pricing strategies, there are different raid lock-outs, and even different gear scores based entirely on which part of the world you’re playing the game at. I believe Dragon Quest X will do the exact same thing.
I’ve played through the PC beta, which just ended an hour and a half ago, and I can tell you right now that there is no way North Americans and Europeans will pay $15 a month for what’s offered here. It’s just not going to happen. We also know there’s little reason to release the game on the Wii or even the Wii U at this point. They could keep it exclusive to PC, cut out all the cross platform stuff, and even make the game free-to-play via in-game micro-transactions. They could even go one step further and implement the generic party member system from DQ IX and release it as a single-player game, although that wouldn’t give the company any long-term revenue. No, I think the smartest bet will be a free-to-play set-up. The series as a whole has never been tremendously popular here in North America anyways, so going this route would allow them to have two big MMOs on the market, without worrying about them competing with each other for monthly subscriptions.
What do you all think about this?