MMO concerts aren’t a new thing, but Phantasy Star Online 2 does them best by having them contribute to gameplay and become part of the world lore.
The idea of in-game concerts is nothing new, as many games have held them and Phantasy Star Online 2 has been doing them since around 2013. Now PSO2: New Genesis is continuing the tradition with the addition of concerts in the big February update. However, PSO2 and PSO2: New Genesis‘s concerts are different from the ones online players may be more familiar with from games like Roblox and Fortnite. They don’t employ real-world artists to put on a show, instead using characters from the game to support the lore and including player participation to make it more exciting.
PSO2 is a much older game than people think it is, as it was first released in Japan in 2012 with nearly 10 years of content finally making its way west in 2020. These aren’t technically the oldest in-game concerts though, since World of Warcraft’s Tauren Chieftains have been playing in-game for years prior. It’s only in the last few years that real artists have taken the in-game stage, but it doesn’t always fit as well with a game’s player base.
When games use real-world artists for in-game concerts, it’s really only for profit, encouraging more players to log on and to attract new players to the game and hopefully keep them. An increase in players leads to possible spending on pay items and keeping in-game numbers up. While a neat event for those interested, most players aren’t playing online games to see popular artists perform, and these types of concerts don’t contribute to gameplay or the storyline in any way. They’re more of a gimmick and way for the artists to reach people without the expensive venue.
PSO2 and NGS’ concerts operate more within the game world. The artists are characters from the storyline, mainly Quna in PSO2 and Nadereh in NGS, who have the power of song. While it’s a bit cheesy, the performances are just as spectacular as Fortnite and Roblox’s, but the content pertains more to the game. Songs have to do with the world’s lore and the performances actually grant players bonuses for attending. These bonuses can be experience gains, increased rare drop rates and more, helping the players out and extending beyond just being a spectacle. There are even some concerts which players can participate in with dancing or being on stage while watching the performance.
It’s a much better option for players to have in-game concerts related to the game than it is to just have a concert with a big name tied to it. Another game that utilizes concerts, Final Fantasy XIV Online, proves that related content resonates more with players. The game’s real-world band, The Primals, plays music from the game live and has tied-in music videos, which players seem to love. They draw crowds and their online views are high.
Crossing over real artists into games is a good idea, but it isn’t being employed as well or as frequently as it should. It’s fairly obvious that players prefer events in online games that relate to the game itself. This is why PSO2 and PSO2: NGS concerts are embraced by the community as a fun part of the game and allow players to benefit from them with boosts. It’s a much better way to incorporate online performances than trying to assimilate real-world ones.
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