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Phantasy Star Online ( ファンタシースターオンライン Fantashī sutā Onrain), or PSO for short, is a MMORPG series by Sega and a subset of the Phantasy Star series.
The development of Phantasy Star Online began after Sonic Adventure was made. Sega’s Chairman, Isao Okawa, had a strong belief that internet gaming would come to be important, and the company’s Sonic Team division was instructed to develop an MMORPG title. As there was no precedent for online gaming on console, the developers looked to the PC RPG game Diablo made by Blizzard for inspiration on the game’s mechanics. During the development, the game was initially known as The Third World and had a vague sci-fi theme, before art director Satoshi Sakai produced a piece of concept art featuring a dragon. The decision was made to link it to the Phantasy Star series and name the MMORPG series Phantasy Star Online.
With a massive following and millions of subscribers, Phantasy Star Online receive very high scores and it is one of the greatest games played of all time. During the release of Phantasy Star Online, a community site is made dedicated to the Phantasy Star Online series. It’s been on the internet for a very long time.
Online Version, Shutting Down
It’s a heartbreaking decision from Sega to shut down the online versions of the Phantasy Star Online games in order to focus more on their other online MMORPG game Phantasy Star Universe, although the Phantasy Star Universe series is not as popular as Phantasy Star Online from the past. Even though the online versions of Phantasy Star Online are shut down for Dreamcast, Gamecube, PC and XBOX, the website SCHTHACK is made and it is a free program to play Phantasy Star Online games online for free in private servers. Very popular for fans of the game, including 4chan as well.
Phantasy Star Online 2
In celebration of the 10th anniversary since Phantasy Star Online is released, Sega announced the highly awaited sequel Phantasy Star Online 2. The game will be Free To Play and you can pay money for bonus content, similar to Maple Story. It was released in Japan for Windows in July 4th, 2012 (Independence Day), and is due to be released for iOS and Android in late 2012 and for PlayStation Vita in 2013. It receive over a million subscribers in Japan. The release date for the North America and Europe version will be in early 2013.