Well that didn't take long. Actually, maybe it's taking too long, depending on which side of the announcement you look at. After a brief open beta and a full-scale rollout in Japan last week, Sega has announced that its free-to-play action-RPG, Phantasy Star Online 2, will be coming to North America and Europe in 2013. That's the part that might be taking a bit too long.
In case you haven't seen any of the video we've been running, it's been relatively easy to get into the Japanese version of the game, despite the language barrier. In fact, it's starting to seem like foreigners are absolutely flooding Sega's servers, as the agreed-upon servers and lobbies where English-speakers congregate seem to be getting absolutely packed. This has led to a bit of server maintenance as Sega attempts to rejigger the ship and block system a bit to take some of the rush off. Of course, it's not just English speakers that are filling up the game. The first five ships (servers, or "shards" if you want to be a jerk about it) aren't accepting any new character creation, though that's said to be a temporary restriction. Generally speaking, the game's servers have been holding up pretty well under the load.
It'll be interesting to see how Sega handles the English-language version of the game. Will North American players have access to the Japanese servers? Or will they be split off? If they're split, will that lead to a situation where new content debuts first on the Japanese servers and then eventually trickles over to the English servers? The PSO franchise has sort of a spotty past when it comes to bringing all of its Japanese content over to the other servers, after all. Will the slightly-higher-than-they-should-be prices of items and character creation passes see any adjustments when they leave Japan? Will I be able to continue to use the RAcast that I've already put 40 hours into, or is he stuck on the Japanese servers forever? That's the sort of stuff I'm left wondering about, but these are questions Sega probably won't be prepared to answer until it gets a little bit closer to launch.