Gaming, thanks to its competitive nature has always been a fractured community made up of warring factions. Sega v Nintendo, Xbox v Playstation, and even a few short years ago Hardcore gamers v Casual gamers. Although the last one seems to have disappeared somewhat with the recent influx of what can best be described as mobile phone games arriving on consoles.
Being a gamer from the 80’s and also being extremley lucky enough to play games for a living. I just considered myself a gamer. Does my history of gaming spanning everything from ZX Spectrum to PSVR make me less of a gamer than you because you have an awesome prestige level on Call of Duty? I never really bought into the Hardcore v Casual gamer stupidity yet I over recent months I feel myself being pulled into it.
Now I’m not knocking mobile games. Far from it. I play games such as Marvel Strike Force and Transformers: Earth Wars daily. I feel mobile games have their place and fulfil a need perfectly. The Hardcore v Casual gamer came about round about 2013/14 when it was reported that thanks to games such as Candy Crush, mobile games made a whopping $17.6 billion in 2013! In 2017 the global mobile games market was worth a whopping $35.4 billion!
Mobile Games are Inclusive
Now those kinds of numbers cannot be ignored. We saw mobile games go on to be ever more complex and spawn a growing number of genres. But it did lead to the language being changed. Gamers were all lumped together by financial analysts. Now the 14-year-old hardcore CoD player was less of a gamer than his 50-year-old mum who spent $10 a week on candy crush!
The use of language here is important. That 50-year-old mother of 3 never saw herself as a gamer. Yet she is worth more to the developers financially than her 14-year-old son who buys one CoD game a year. So to define candy crush players as gamers gives mobile phone players a sense of inclusion.
Again I have no problem with any of this. So where is my problem you ask? My problem is quite simply when games branch out off of the platform they are designed for and not only don’t port well but just don’t feel right.
Adventure capitalist, for example, is a weirdly fun and addictive clicker title that is wonderful on mobile. It is also available as a free to play game on PS4. The lack of touchscreen controls are really obvious in their absence. Another great example is Holy Potatoes! A weapon Shop. An adorable game that I enjoyed on the PS4 but felt suspiciously like a mobile game. A quick search of the Android store and £4.19 later and I am playing the exact same game but having a lot more fun.
Mobile Games don’t always port fairly
The examples get worse than this. Battle Islands: Commanders is a direct copy of the mobile version including the 4 hour wait times to build something and the energy restrictions on actions. In case you think I am ranting then take a look at Marvel Puzzle Quest! The exact same game with the exact same microtransactions and character recruitment mechanic is available on Android for free. If you want to play on your PS4 then you can simply head over to PSN and pick up a carbon copy of the mobile game for a measly £11.59!!! Oh and those free events that pop on the mobile version? You can have them too for just £3.29 each!!!
Now we all know that mobile games have made the move to consoles thanks to the acceptance of microtransactions in gaming. Why settle for just mobile gamers if you can port to console and rake in more cash? I am aware I sound like some sort of gaming snob but the crux of the matter is that these games just don’t belong on a console in my opinion. Fallout Shelter was amazing when it first released. God knows how many hours I put in on my phone. But when I boot up the PS4 I want an epic RPG, a slick racer, an intense PVP gunfight. not a match 3, clicker or base builder that tells me when I can and can’t play.
Before people kick off and start shouting but Fortnite! yes, it has made the transition from PC and console to mobile gaming but look at the formula of the game. It is easy to get 4 or 5 game sin on your lunch break. It is fun, easy to pick up and accessible to all. Put Fortnite Save the World onto mobile and you have a different story.
If you have got this far into the article than thank you for indulging me and my ranting. Feel free to call me a snob or a purist or whatever other titles you invent. Feel free to cuss and swear at me in your vitriolic anger. It is why we have a comments section after all 🙂
But please just remember this. I am not hating on or slagging off mobile games. I love them, I play them I just feel that mobile games belong on a mobile platform and not a console. How about you? Do you agree? Let me know in the comments below.