A consumer survey turned up by GameDaily suggests that an Xbox 360 version of The Lord of the Rings Online is in the works, and that developer Turbine is considering both subscriptions and micro-transactions as business models for it.
The survey also includes a game description that mentions the possibility of playing through a plotline as an evil character serving the Dark Lord of Sauron, something that's not included in the current PC game. It mentions eight playable races, where the PC game only features four: man, elf, hobbit and dwarf.
"Fight for the Free People of Middle-earth as you battle against the forces of the Dark Lord, or serve Sauron as you seek to obtain the One Ring!" runs the description. "Play as any of 8 races and set out on your own epic adventure within the world created by J.R.R. Tolkien."
It continues: "Two Epic Stories allow you to serve the Fellowship of the Ring or the Dark Lord Sauron! More than 600 quests will mould you into an unstoppable force for good...or evil. The choice is yours." It also describes the game as "the largest virtual world ever built on console".
The survey asks gamers if they would be prepared to pay a USD 12.99 subscription for the game. But it also asks what players would expect to pay for various in-game items and features on a microtransaction basis: currency, cosmetic clothing, equipment, pets, expansion packs, regional maps, transports, henchmen (another feature missing from the current PC game), themes, PVP maps, and new character classes and races.
Turbine has said that it has a console MMO in development, but despite persistent rumours and indications that it's a version of The Lord of the Rings Online, the developer has yet to confirm this.
In a recent interview, lead designer Alan Maki said, "The next step [for LOTRO] right now is a trade secret... ome of the things we have planned for the future are going to be evolutionary probably even in the way that MMOs are handled. We're really looking forward to it, but that's all I can say at this point."
Turbine didn't comment on the survey, but did tell GameDaily that ""Turbine has always been focused on the customer and one of the ways we do that is through extensive consumer research."