Blizzard says WoW on iPhone requires an epiphany

If you’ve been watching the App Store for the past few years it’s clear to see more of the big publishers are producing games for the iPhone. You can find games carrying well-known names such as Final Fantasy, Street Fighter, and Rage. What you won’t find is World of Warcraft, and it looks as though that will remain the case even though Blizzard would love to get the game on portable devices.

According to John Lagrave, senior producer on World of Warcraft, the issue isn’t the team not spending any time doing a port, it’s the fact there are some problems that need to be overcome. The main issue is figuring out how to get the full game of WoW working on a touchscreen with controls that work for the diminutive display. That’s not an easy task, and one that Lagrave says will take “an epiphany” before it is solved.

For now, WoW players can access the game on their phones, but only to check auctions and look at the armory. Anything more than that just isn’t going to happen until the interaction issues have been solved.

We know that getting the MMO to run on a touchscreen device won’t be an issue. OnLive and Gaikai have already demonstrated it can run pretty much any game in the cloud and stream it to a tablet or phone. But Blizzard obviously want to keep control, port the game so it runs natively on the platform, and overcome the challenges faced in the process.

If a full implementation of World of Warcraft does ever appear on the App Store, don’t expect to sit there playing it for hours every day. Even if the data transfers for the connection are minimal, the game will soon eat through your monthly data allowance. With that in mind, maybe it’s actually a good thing Blizzard haven’t managed to figure out the issues.