Phantasy Star Online was admittedly more popular on the console than PC, but Sega looks to change that with the upcoming sequel, Phantasy Star Online 2. Surprisingly the publisher has decided to take the free-to-play route with this PC gaming sequel, allowing players to purchase in-game items rather than forcing monthly subscription fees.
In addition to announcing PSO2's F2P mode, Sega said the MMOG is also heading to iOS and Android. These will land on their networks (App Store, Google Play) this winter, but they won't offer cross-platform play. Instead, they will merely share data while sporting a simpler character creation system, and a simpler control experience. They'll also come packed with social game elements although developer Sonic Team didn't elaborate.
Previously Sega announced that Phantasy Star Online 2 is also planned for the PlayStation Vita. This version isn't due to arrive until Spring 2013, and will share the same servers used by the PC version -- meaning cross-platform play between Vita and PC gamers. They'll also share the same data, allowing the gamer to play on one platform, and then pick up the adventure later on another.
So far Sega hasn't released ship dates for territories outside Japan, but given Phantasy Star's track record here in the States, there's a good chance we'll see the MMOG sometime before the iOS and Android apps go live. Hints within the code reveal localization, leading to speculation that a North American launch could be sooner than rather than later (the original PSO landed in Japan first, followed by a North American - European launch a month later).
Phantasy Star Online is the true successor to the hit Dreamcast multiplayer MMOG launched back in 2001. Since its release, Sega has published numerous versions for both console and PC platforms including PSO: Blue Burst which arrived on the PC in June 2005. Other PSO installments include Episode I & II, Episode III: C.A.R.D. Revolution and Episode IV.
So far Phantasy Star Online 2 is slated to arrive on the PC sometime this summer in Japan. Stay tuned for the North American release date.