Yuji Naka himself addressed retailers at a meeting in the offices at Sega of Japan central in Tokyo yesterday. We have the details on what was discussed:
- Twenty servers will be set up throughout the world for online play of the game. Those servers will be set up in specific locations in the Americas, Europe, Japan, and Asia. London and Tokyo were mentioned as individual cities that would have servers. One thousand players could be duking it out online on one server, meaning a maximum of 20,000 players online at a single time. This as Sega believes that PSO will sell 500,000 to 1 million copies worldwide. However, Naka stated that about three percent of all players that own the game will be online at any given time.
- Latency should not be an issue this time around, as Naka stated that the Sonic Team learned a lot about online play with ChuChu Rocket.
- Information was given about the Word Selection System. Two thousand words will be pre-programmed into the game; each word is able to be translated into English, Japanese, French, German, and Spanish. You can not have the DC translate messages you write on your own, but you can still send messages in your own language.
- There will be fifty different online quests, ranging from getting your players ‘leveled up’ to simply finding items. More might be added as time progresses. When online, you can find other players that are interested in the same task as you are, then, as a group, you complete that quest. Naka-san stated that dungeons will be randomly generated in realtime when online as well.
- The ending of PSO will be offline and only offline.
- Will there be a price to pay? In Japan, Sega/Sonic Team will most likely be charging a monthly fee for access, the specifics of which have not been determined. As for the rest of the world…well…we don’t know yet.
- Naka said that by the end of November, PSO might actually be ninety percent complete, both on and off line.
- The PSO demo released through the Japanese Dreamcast Direct service will enable the gamer to get three weeks’ play out of it, at least. However, the progress made in the demo will not be reflected in the full version.
- And, as for the planned worldwide launch of PSO–forget it. It’s December 21st in Japan, mid January in the Americas and late January in Europe. No word on Australia and New Zealand for now.
That’s all from the conference. Further details on PSO as we get them.