Seems a pretty obvious question, doesn’t it?
“Well, mobile gaming is just playing bad games on phones! It’s not real gaming!” is the common thing you’ll hear whenever anyone asks “What is mobile gaming?”
Well, it’s time to bust this topic wide open! Let’s delve into the many facets of mobile gaming and try to find out if it is really as bad as people in other gaming mediums like to say. I mean, I used to be one of them. But lately, I’ve been taking the plunge and investigating many mobile games and the things I’ve found have been really quite interesting.
So, come along for the ride and let us begin!
Why is this even a question? They’re all made to take your money!
Well, yes and no.
It’d be stupid to try and argue against the fact that there are many, many mobile games out there designed to try to milk you for all you’re worth so you buy pixelated diamonds and stuff that’ll be worthless when you move on or the servers shut down. However, it’s also no lie that the mobile gaming sector of the market is the highest-grossing when it comes to profit and as many people claim to dislike it if you’re a business you want a piece of that pie. You want access to some of that money. It’s why you’ll find several games on mobile made by some of the big gaming companies that are usually focused on consoles and PC, like Electronic Arts and Ubisoft or Bethesda.
But there is a section of the mobile gaming market that is growing as of late where indie developers are taking their first plunge into the gaming world by making something for mobile. You might have to purchase it, but they’re so dirt cheap it’s often worthwhile to do so if you like the game’s premise. £1 dropped on an indie game you get a few hours of enjoyment out of is worth it in my book and it helps those beginner developers get their feet wet. But from this purchase, you get a full game with no additional in-game purchases shoved into your face. Sure, they might come out at a later date but by then you’ve got your £1’s worth, right?
Again, yes and no. At the end of the day, value is a very subjective thing and what one person finds a waste of money, another will find worth the purchase. If you truly love and are passionate about something no matter what it is you’re typically going to be more willing to spend money on it.
Well if you don’t spend you have to grind for ages!
Very true in 90% of cases I would say.
When you look at it, mobile games are free to download and to play and you can play them without spending a penny. But that does mean you’ll have to work harder to get to the same place as someone that pays has and it’ll take you longer too. There is no real way to deny that mobile games are full of grind in the main. But if you look at the industry as a whole, nearly every game has some sort of grind in it. Whether it’s for points, achievements, rewards or cosmetics, there is always some sort of grind.
A lot of games are goal-based, you decide on a goal and work towards it. When you get there you set another goal to reach and so on. Even when you reach the end of a game they generally have end content designed to be played and ground through to unlock extras or other stuff. But mobile games are definitely the most egregious when it comes to grinding, they do take it to a higher level. And it doesn’t take a genius to work out this is to force people to buy things in-game to make it go faster. This is one of the prime reasons mobile gaming is looked down upon as predatory and not real gaming.
Why do these games make so much money?
I’ve partly answered this above. They rely on making a game that takes a lot of time to progress in to eventually force people to start dumping money on it to speed it up. Over in Asia mobile gaming is particularly popular and it’s being adopted elsewhere on the planet.
At the end of the day games on mobile are easily accessible. You don’t really have to worry about having certain specifications to run them as until recently they’re not demanding when it comes to requirements. All you need to know is if you have a phone that runs iOS or Android, that’s it. It’s only over the past few months up to a year that far more advanced games are starting to emerge onto the scene that has graphics that can rival consoles and even PC’s in some cases. With these, you need to make sure that you have a beast of a phone or the latest Ipad or something.
You also have the games that are designed to be played on the move. If you’ve gone for a walk or hanging with your mates in a field, totally not up to no good. Pokemon Go or Jurassic World: Alive comes to mind when talking about these. If you have the data available to support it they allow you to interact with the world around you via your phone putting things down to catch or find as you move around on your walk.
It’s really no wonder that these types of games are popular when you can play them on the go, like the old handheld Gameboys of yore. Bored at a bus stop? Play a game. Bored in a waiting room? Play a game.
What about the future?
Honestly, I can only see the mobile gaming industry getting larger. It isn’t going to go away as much as many people would like it to. As technology keeps improving and phones keep getting better and better the games are going to only get more and more involved and detailed.
Mobile phones are essentially handheld games consoles if that’s all you do on them. There are even brands of phones being released strictly designed for gaming in mind. As far as gaming goes in any part of the market the sky is the limit and it’s only ever going better and better.
I think as much as some of us hate them, mobile games are here to stay and they are not going anywhere, so if you don’t like them you can pretty much just try to ignore them and focus on what you do like and enjoy within the industry. Keep phones for what they were meant for, calling and texting people.
So, in summary
To answer the title of this article, are mobile games that bad?
I don’t have a definite answer as this topic has some incredibly subjective things within it. Mobile games have incredibly predatory monetization within them, specifically designed to get people to drop money on the game as they get fed up with the waiting time or the grind. But are mobile games the sole culprit when it comes to this? No.
Console and PC games are just as guilty of these practices so it all boils down to a choice of picking your poison. I would be lying if I said I hadn’t got enjoyment out of playing some games on mobile. They can be very fun and you can make some good friends through them, getting involved in the community within the game is another draw to them.
So are they that bad?
It’s really all down to the being within the eye of the beholder. However, if you have issues controlling your spending I highly suggest you stay away from them.