The appeal of mobile games all comes down to bragging rights. To me, bragging about the rarest pull or how I spent my time growing my town to something great is not really substantial gameplay. I can personally say I regret that I played these types of games like Wibble Wobble, Fire Emblem Heroes, and many others. Not because the mobile content is bad, but because how these games rely on time to keep you invested.
The time I could have spent progressing in my life was wasted by spending time waiting for a special item/retry to come within a certain amount of time. While these time-related content may seem substantial, there is no content beyond that could have me connect emotionally to a game in the way actual video games would. The type of gameplay that can be offered in mobile is limited with just the touchscreen. Games are not as fun without an actual game controller that provides tight controls and buttons.
With how the mobile game industry is going, I do not think even the best companies like Nintendo or Level-5 can truly bring back the mobile game industry if it all comes down to using micro transactions to earn back the money and time as a drawback for mobile games. The possibility of a mobile game being able to revolutionize mobile games as a whole is there, but that would require creating an ambitious quality product at the right time. It would have to be a product that “subverts the trope” of what a mobile game “has to be”, it would take beyond effort that a business would likely never take a risk for.
Pokemon Go is one example of this, but it was not handled well. The game managed to pull millions thanks to the appeal of the brand and the real-life gameplay that brought people socially together. But in the end, Niantic could not even achieve promises the fans wanted since launch. Even worse for Niantic, the biggest succeeding mobile game ever showed its worst colors in during the Go Fest, where server problems became very apparent. Granted, trying to solve these problems is definitely extremely hard, but this is where I am getting at. After a few months, most people quietly abandoned the game, only treating the game as a “flavor of the month.”
Even if such a mobile game were super ambitious, generally most consumers would only treat as something to get on a hype train for rather than appreciating what the product for what it is. Even to this day, I still admire Pokemon Go for how it pushed the mobile game medium, but I still left it with how many problems Niantic has been facing and the lack of substantial content in the game. What will an ultimately ambitious mobile game change in the industry for the better? Eventually, it will go to a cycle of repeat once the game dies down, so what is the point?
Most mobile game consumers are not willing to pay full-price for a mobile game like Layton’s Mystery Journey, Super Mario Run, or Final Fantasy VII on their phones. Because of how the mobile game industry is, most consumers either want quality content for free, or they pay an extremely cheap price. No other options can be considered to them. Even then, they fall for microtransactions in free mobile games pay high prices for bragging rights, all the more contradicting for that type of mindset.
I would imagine having quality content for a mobile game for a cheaper or free price would personally hurt the developer more. This is because of how hard they worked on this content, only for the game to be dismissed eventually by misjudgment of consumers with prices. This is a market that can never be satisfied on both sides, the developer and consumer. I believe there is a limit to how far quality can go because of the drawbacks of creating a free mobile game. It is developing with limitations. This is why we have not seen a quality mobile game truly trend among consumers, because of the stubborn mindset businesses have implanted to consumers. Mobile games just cannot truly satisfy with these drawbacks in the way.
If such a thing appeals to you, then I will not stop you. If these games really help you bond with other friends, then by all means, keep playing them. But to me, mobile games will never be true video games. Actual video games on consoles/PCs are games that will provide the deeper experience, and those kinds of experiences are ones that should be shared with friends rather than mobile games. Some video games have enough substance in gameplay and other aspects that they can be considered “classics” among gamers and be remembered in history. Can such mobile games have the same impact as video games? Can these games be considered classics? Can mobile games change history and the way we play these games? To all of these questions, I do not think so.
Do you personally agree? This was an article that I thought of in my mind really quickly. I just wanted to get this opinion out of my chest for others to see. It was a fun topic to think about!