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Rumours mount about World Of Warcraft Mobile

If they're true, what form will it take?
Product: Vivendi Games Mobile news | Publisher: Vivendi Games Mobile | Format: Mobile
Vivendi Games Mobile news Mobile, thumbnail 1
Let it be said that Pocket Gamer doesn't deal in idle gossip. Well, not unless it's so juicy that we can't resist, of course. And that's the case with the growing buzz around a mobile version of World of Warcraft.

Now, before going on, we'll make it clear: Vivendi Games Mobile hasn't announced anything of the sort. And nor has its console parent, or WoW developer Blizzard Entertainment for that matter.

But... at the networking drinks of the Mobile Games Forum show this week, several people from other mobile publishers and developers told Pocket Gamer they'd heard Vivendi is definitely working on World of Warcraft Mobile.

Now that is idle gossip. But also yesterday, we had a chance to get the official line, when Vivendi Games Mobile boss Paul Maglione was sitting in the audience for one of the panel sessions at MGF, and was asked directly about mobile World of Warcraft.
"Mobile aspects will become part of all MMOs," he replied, with a distinct smile on his face.
Now, we're not excitable enough to regard that as a public confirmation. But putting two and two together, it seems clear Vivendi and/or Blizzard are doing something mobile with WoW, even if it's just experiments to see how it could work.

After all, we know Blizzard has put a mobile development team together. Indeed, we also know one of the people it hired came from Qualcomm's gaming/BREW department.

Anyhow, with this in mind, here are the four options we think Vivendi/Blizzard could use to approach the issue.

The first is to try and create a fully-fledged MMO for mobile phones - an independent WoW online game, since you couldn't really be battling alongside PC users.

Things that make this unlikely: the technical complexity and expense of getting it working on phones; the lack of widespread subscription billing on mobile to ensure it pays its way; the uncertainty over whether PC-based WoW gamers would even want to play a cut-down mobile version.

Option two: spin-off WoW games that are standalone, one-player experiences, but set in the 'world' of the original game. A brand extension thing, in other words - something that'd keep WoW players entertained when away from their PCs, and maybe introduce new players to the franchise. It's possible.

Option three: forget mobile games, and make a mobile application instead. Something that gives you access to guild chat, or other admin aspects of the PC version of WoW. Instead of selling it through mobile operators, Blizzard might tack this onto the regular WoW subscription - pay a quid/dollar extra a month, and get the mobile app.

This would make a shedload of money, and would be truly appealing for a decent base of WoW players. And we've also seen similar, if less functional, applications such as Halo 3 Stats on iPhone.

So that's the main three, anyway. The fourth option? World of Warcraft Bowling. We'd like to discount that one straight away...

What do you think: does World of Warcraft have a bright future on mobile, and if so, in what form?

Reviewer photo
Stuart Dredge 25 January 2008
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