While many have enjoyed gaming on their mobile devices, there has been little effort to extend traditional gaming on a PC or console to the mobile app arena. A game which looks to release next year, Guild Wars 2, is venturing out by allowing mobile app integration into the MMORPG (Massive Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game) gaming experience.
Rick Ellis is a tech director at Arenanet, who is developing Guild Wars 2. He's leading a team towards what is being referred to as the 'Extended Experience'.
The Extended Experience announcement came by way of this blog post, where Ellis explains a bit more about how the company plans to utilize mobile apps, "You shouldn’t be wondering what your friends are doing in-game; you should always be connected to them to chat. You should be able to help or otherwise contribute to your guild or the game."
He continues to go into further detail how gamers will be able to make these connections through mobile apps, "The most prominent features for mobile and web users will probably stem from the ability to stay connected to the game world and, more importantly, your friends and guildies. We’ll be doing as much as we can to remove the communication barrier that exists between in-game players and out-of-game players. How many times have you been away from your computer on raid night and wished you could connect up with your guild, monitor their progress, share your insights, and ultimately share in their victory?"
It's interesting to see how Arenanet will be able to establish this connection between out-of-game players, and those who are actually sitting there engaged in the game. It certainly is a revolutionary advancement, as before a game was something you sat down and played. Now, players will be able to be a part of their virtual worlds when they are out and about at work, or running errands.
A follow up Q&A was released by GuildWars2Forum.com, where Ellis answered a few lingering questions. Most notably concerning the API, and if they would allow outside developers to take advantage of their system and create apps of their own:
You stated in the Q&A you plan to provide functionality to general web users. To follow up that Q&A, are there plans to open up the API to the community at all? For example, if a guild wanted to make a specially made app or use the API for a special tool on their site. Or are you keeping the development closer to home?
Initially, development will stay internal to ArenaNet so that we can control the quality and integrity of the apps our players use. A major concern of allowing others to develop apps that are then distributed to our players is security. We would need to make sure that unscrupulous players don’t develop and distribute destructive applications.So to answer your question, we don’t have any specific plans for this right now. It’s something we’ll have to re-evaluate in the future.
If you'd like to read the full Q&A, you can find it here.
Another interesting facet of the Guild Wars 2 Extended Experience is this is an avenue for Arenanet to monetize from the game. Traditionally, MMORPGs have had monthly fees which players had to pay in order to access the game. Arenanet bucked this trend with their first Guild Wars release, and will continue to make Guild Wars 2 free-to-play. However, to balance out having no monthly fees the company is providing extra content which players can purchase to enhance the gaming experience. One would assume this would extend to their mobile apps as well.