Thursday, 6 June 2013

Further woes for DUST 514


After launching late May DUST 514 the first foray into the highly competitive FPS market by EVE developers CCP has only been receiving negative press.  Many gaming sites have given it lukewarm to outright scathing reviews and player response has been somewhat muted.  It has a playerbase who seem dedicated enough that it will limp on but yesterdays news from Sony may very well end DUST as a viable sci-fi shooter on consoles.

Planetside 2 the massively successful and immensely fun MMO style FPS game will be arriving on the Playstation 4 later this year or early next.  Planetside 2 is essentially everything DUST aims to be and more, especially in regards to player numbers and content.  Where DUST at the moment offers limited 32 aside, Planetside offers battles of hundreds of players at any time anywhere with the ability to hop over to a hotspot at will to get into the fight. 

I honestly struggle to see how DUST will remain a viable option on the consoles now.  Planetside 2 is also free to play, has huge maps, vehicles, multiple classes and plenty of weapons to go around. Granted it doesn't have an in depth skill tree like DUST but it certainly offers a more refined and kinetic experience than DUST currently can.  At least in Planetside 2 you won't lose any equipment you pay real money for which will be a big plus against CCP's offering.

Also the argument that players will stick with DUST if it remains on PS3 will only mean a small percentage will.  New consoles means new experiences and improved gameplay overall.  Many PS3 owners will switch over to play the next set of games in bigger better resolutions with more potential, whereas DUST will remain on a last gen console that will quickly lose it's install base as the PS4 becomes more widely available after launch.

CCP could port DUST to the new PS4 store but with such stiff competition from Planetside 2 this seems unlikely especially when you consider that Planetside 2 is run by SOE (Sony Online Entertainment) so who do you think they will want to succeed more?  The Icelandic MMO developers game?  Or the Sony run game?  Planetside 2 will likely not have to pay themselves for hosting their own content on their own servers so they can be more competitive with DLC and microtransactions, coupled with a game that has been in the market now for several months.

Yes sadly for DUST it was released to late into the wilds of the gaming world.  If CCP could have delivered a bigger experience and given us something truly unique outside of it's minor EVE integration it may have been something special.  The truth is DUST was setup to fail by both CCP and Sony.  Sony was happy to accept DUST as an exclusive when they couldn't port Planetside 2 to it's current console, but after longer than expected development times and a very lukewarm reception after so much time, Sony have pretty much given up on it in favour of their own product.

Hopefully CCP Shanghai will look into other avenues for the game.  A PC port would likely be expensive but considering the PC market is much more willing to stick with a game this could be the best option for a long term DUST game.  CCP already stated they wanted to keep DUST running for 10 years like EVE, but on consoles this is impossible either because the technology will advance to quickly or the fickle console players will gradually move away from it.

As I have stated in the past if DUST was on PC I would play it regularly knowing that improvements would always be on the way and the game probably would get to the same level as Planetside 2.  But with the way consoles work compared to the PC I predict a gradual demise for this young shooter.  Maybe CCP Shanghai have a secret up their sleeve, we can only wait and see.

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