If games are to truly make the leap into online mainstream focus, Phantasy Star Online from Yuji Naka’s Sonic Team will be heralded as the industry’s Christopher Columbus in years to come. This being said, the firm hopes to usurp standard retail third-party revenue streams, in favour of garnering ongoing subscription-based support from a dedicated fanbase.
However, will the concept of additional cost, be offset en masse by gamers, who must make the correlation independently between the perceived value of online play, and real costs incurred? PSO is set to test this theory.
Indeed, Europe’s first online GameCube game will be Phantasy Star Online Version I and II, which hits retail, backed by Nintendo’s very own GameCube network adapters, on March 7. So how does the cost break down?
Initially, the game will be purchased for around £40, then the network adapter, expected price, around £35. Players will need the PSO Hunter License, costing £5.99 per 30 days. You will then need either a narrowband connection, at around £15 per month, or a broadband connection costing roughly double that.
This means that, if you don’t already have a GameCube, to be able to play PSO online, you’ll have to spend at least £326. Of course, most gamers will already have a connection they use anyway, but the fact remains that this is the absolute minimum one will have to spend in order to play PSO online for a year. If one uses a broadband adapter, the expenditure rockets to just over £500.
It will be interesting to see the level of uptake enjoyed by the GameCube’s PSO. Of course, we’ll keep you fully updated.