We need a commitment to mobile gaming

We need a commitment to mobile gaming

Gaming on your smartphone or tablet has for some time had a huge stigma, due to the amount of rubbish knockoffs and plain bad games available and the popularity of simple ‘time sink’ games like Candy Crush or Clash of Clans. We need to change this.

“Casual gamer” is a term that is used by some people to describe those who play typical smartphone games, usually in a derogatory fashion. I’ve been called a casual gamer in the past for loving the Wii rather than the ‘hardcore’ consoles and it’s always seemed odd to me. Is casual supposed to be an insult? Gaming is a hobby for the majority of people, does that not then mean you’re playing casually?

This term being used to insult those who play mobile or tablet games is obviously wrong, and many people recognise that. The use of this term has, however, made the mobile market saturated with content that is made to appeal to this term.

Looking at the Play Store for Android devices right now, the front page has 3 ‘serious’ games and 5 free-to-play time sink games. The chart for games’ #1 game doesn’t even have a single in-game screenshot. The chart for paid (premium) games features a number of breakout games: Minecraft, Five Nights at Freddy’s, and Monument Valley. What you’ll be hard-pressed to find is a consistent, high-quality developer that doesn’t appeal to the lowest common denominator of free-to-play games with either in-app purchases or a large amount of adverts.

Monument Valley Monument Valley is a gorgeous M. C. Escher-styled mobile game, that has won many awards

This isn’t to say there isn’t some great content available. You’ve got Terraria, the recent releases from Telltale Games, and The Room series all representing some great options for those who want to game on their mobile device.

There are also a number of regular developers for the mobile market. Gameloft pump out new releases regularly, as do Donut Games and Supercell. The latter two focus on free games, whereas Gameloft release a mix of free and paid releases, neither of which match the quality of Terraria in either gameplay or extent of the content.

This is where the mobile gaming market needs to evolve: we need a developer or publisher who can commit to premium content along the lines of the breakout titles.

The mobile market is saturated with free content, there’s an opening for a developer or publisher who can regular produce high-quality paid games. It’s clear from developers like Fireproof Games or Ninja Kiwi that there’s success to be found in premium games. Despite what the front of the stores would lead you to believe, there are people who will pay for these high-quality games.

If either Apple, Google, or another company behind  a mobile storefront can incentivise this commitment to the mobile market, we’ll have another truly fantastic platform for everyone. We have the technology to create a brilliant platform for so many people. A smartphone is so common nowadays, and giving people the option to use it for gaming is the only logical option. We need someone to take the leap: a major developer or publisher to truly commit to the mobile market. This would show how ‘casual gaming’ is a rubbish term – everyone is a casual gamer, we all play for fun. Playing Candy Crush or Call of Duty doesn’t change that. Bringing the premium games to the mobile market will finally remove this stigma.

Oh wait…what was that Nintendo announcement recently?

That’s right, their partnership with DeNA. Recently, Nintendo announced that DeNA, the company behind one of the top mobile gaming platforms in Japan, would be their mobile gaming partner. Well, wouldn’t that be exactly what we need for the mobile market?