Console and Mobile Gaming

I was supposed to post this earlier, so this is pretty much old news by now, but if you had heard it-Hideo Kojima (famously known for his work in Metal Gear series) just left Konami and they had also announced that they were going to cancel production on the upcoming Silent Hill game on the PS4, which was originally planned to be a joint-project with both Konami and Kojima (detailed summary in the above video). A lot of people are extremely disappointed, considering the potential this game had, but some people think it’s a sound business decision from Konami-as they had already earned a profitable revenue from mobile gaming and pachinko, and they are not about to risk years and millions of money into producing an AAA game.

Kojima is sad.

Kojima is sad.

The interesting thing about this is that if you were to think back to several years ago, one wouldn’t be able to imagine mobile gaming would get as huge as they are now. They are just a minor thing used to kill time in between “downtime” of an extremely busy day, but the market for mobile gaming had been growing stronger and stronger. It at first, started with some obscure mobile apps, but now, even established video game studios like Square-Enix, Konami and Sega had entered the mobile gaming scene. One of the reason why mobile gaming had grown so much is of convenience: for both the creator and consumer. Producing these small, minor games on smartphones is definitely more easier than AAA console titles. Just in case, the released product doesn’t sell very well, they also risk less since production isn’t costly. In contrast, producing an AAA title nowadays require years of production, and millions of dollars to invest, it’s a very risky gamble.

On the consumer side, there is a growing market need for mobile gaming, especially for busy people who frequently commute to work, school or who is generally on-the-go. I think it at first, is just a secondary necessity, but it grew and grew as more people needed these mobile games. As they barely have time to play games on their home consoles, these quick, brief entertainment on their smartphones or tablets is the perfect way to kill time in train, or bus-they don’t need to worry about finding the next save point or skipping a lengthy cutscene. It also helps that phones are the one device that they will ALWAYS bring with them, and are definitely less bulkier than say-a foldable double screen 3DS, or a Vita wider than a PS controller.

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As someone who grow up with a traditional gaming mindset, I will be lying if I say I’m not worried. The only mobile game I had on my phone is LLSIF, I had other mobile games before which I just lost interest in as time goes on. I had Summoner’s War, which I only barely just completed the tutorials, and I never play games like Clash of Clans, Bravely Frontier and Candy Crush. Despite everyone around me playing them, I just don’t feel attached to any of them, not even as simple “time-killers”, and I would rather kill time some other way. There’s also the fact that these games mostly require internet connection, and it’s not like I have them whenever I go.

I understand the need for mobile gaming, but if it overwhelm the presence of AAA titles, that will be disappointing. Ideally for me, it will be perfect if there’s a balance of both AAA and mobile gaming titles, appealing to both casual and traditional gamers, but studios seem to be more reliant on mobile gaming nowadays.

dr2nanami

Then again, it’s not like it effects me that heavily at this stage so maybe I’m just being paranoid-but the changes in gaming trend had effected me enough to take notice, at least, enough for me to want to mention it in some form. What will happen if in the future, the only titles available on sale are these mobile gaming titles? That would really be sad and I’m not sure where a traditional gamer like me would fit in.

What do you think of mobile gaming?

Note: Portable gaming consoles like 3DS and Vita take a backseat in this discussion. Those are a little tricky since they have both major AAA games and smartphone-esque quick-burst entertainment games.

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This entry was posted by Kai.

16 thoughts on “Console and Mobile Gaming

  1. I have to admit that I hate mobile gaming for the fact that most of them are free to play cash ins and they have little or no play value whatsoever since they are shallow. Moreover, the controls for most mobile games are complete garbage, which is why I don’t like these kinds of games in general.

    But still, what ticks me off is the click-bait articles saying that mobile gaming is the future and that portable consoles are dead… From all the mobile games I have seen, they have absolutely no substance whatsoever for reasons said earlier. Sure, having a smartphone as a gaming device is less to carry, but at the same time, you end up eating up battery life, which can be important if one gets into some kind of emergency. In short, it’s not a great idea and would rather play with a Vita or a 3DS over a smartphone, even if I have to carry more stuff since the experiences will be better.

    • They pretty much are, that I agree with you. Granted, I didn’t play a lot of mobile games, but most of the ones I played are literally designed for quick-burst entertainment, so that obviously has something to do with it.

      I think I had seen some articles like that before, mobile gaming had certainly solidified itself in the gaming industry, but those kind of statements are kinda over-exaggerated, lol. There’s always power bank, but then again, bringing bulky power banks kinda defeat the purpose of having “less to carry”. One of my friends also bring two, or three smartphones + a tablet to work too, lol.

  2. At the moment, I’m not really concerned about mobile game space that much. For Sega, Square-Enix, and even Nintendo getting involved in that realm, it is a benefit for their bottom line so they can keep producing the big budget or even smaller titles. Being slightly optimistic, I would like to think they can see the value in the console space and just use the mobile revenue as supplement. On the other hand, some companies would probably benefited from mobile cash to stay in the black. Imageepoch is a fine example of this since they recently filed bankruptcy (and the CEO is still missing), something they might could of prevented years ago by getting a few members to work on mobile titles. Tri-Ace is another example that got brought by some Japanese mobile company, but that studio is still allowing them to make games…even using part of their funds to help them launch the newest Star Ocean game for PS3/PS4. So mobile gaming is actually pretty helpful for those that want to remain in the console realm or even experiment with things beyond the console. You have to get some other type of revenue coming in, and mobile happens to be the best in terms of production cost.

    What is kind of worrisome is that companies start flooding the app store with products they are not exactly suited for mobile or the devs that the lack inexperience to make it work. Then have the stubborn goats that don’t bother updating/fixing them when things go wrong or even pull them off the storefront completely. Square-Enix and Sega are examples…again. It does kind of hurt to see Square and Konami to give mobile more focus (since Square-Enix is even looking like they want to jumpship), but the companies need revenue. Not to mention the games are getting more expensive to make. That probably means lesser console games and lesser experienced devs…but somebody out there is going to see console space as a opportunity and keep the goods coming. Who knows….the little indie developers might become the next big companies in a few years or even some of the younger blood might break off to produce their own things. Anything is possible…

    • Oh, mobile gaming as revenue to help produce AAA games, I never thought about it like that. If that’s true, I guess it’s slightly tolerable, lol. Just recently saw some articles about Imageepoch’s bankruptcy, and yeah, I guess if they were to do more mobile gaming productions, they could have save themselves. At least Stella Glow’s still coming out in the West. Nice to hear that about Tri-Ace though.

      I never follow too many apps, so I never really experienced any apps which aren’t suited for mobile use, or ones where they were suddenly pulled out of the app store or something. If that does happen, then that’s a shame though. As for Square-Enix, during the productions of FFXV, I remember Tabata saying something about how “Console gaming is over depending on how FFXV does”, not exactly the same line, but something like that. Kinda funny too since even Tabata himself is also more of a traditional gamer. Now that the game is released, not sure how it does exactly, but doesn’t seem to be exactly revolutionary or anything, lol. All those scenarios seem plausible. Hell, Kojima might even open his own company, guess we’ll see.

  3. I have actually heard quite a lot about Kojimagate.

    A rumor from someone anonymous related to Konami shows a lot of worrying things about the company, and how the Konami CEO has just suddenly gone crazy for mobile games.

    My smartphone’s HD is tiny so it can’t really take LLSIF; I would play it if I could though.

    • Just saw that video, and it’s certainly quite worrisome, seems like there’s more to this. The youtube comments made my day though, lol. http://puu.sh/hVIya/273cfdcfc8.png

      LLSIF’s updates are huge, so I can see where you’re coming from. If you like Love Live (the anime), see if you can give it a try soon.

  4. Until mobile games stop being relatively crap I will pour scorn onto any company that declares them a focus. Yes, some -are- better than others (LLSIF being one of them), but I have yet to find any that leave a lasting impression and are more than temporary time wasters.

    • “pour scorn onto any company that declares them a focus”
      Same.. :P I think it’s hard for mobile games to transcend beyond just “temporary time wasters”, since that was what they were initially designed for to begin with.

  5. I also find it surprising how mobile gaming is starting to eclipse traditional console or pc gaming. During my 2 years in business school it’s easy to see why companies would move in that direction. As a gamer though, I have never really enjoyed mobile games and would much rather play AAA titles. Realistically though, I think the days of big-name games with crazy impressive graphics will soon be over as companies take stock of the risks and costs associated with them.

    • Yea, same. From the companies’ perspective, I can understand why they would need to dabble into mobile gaming, but I personally never enjoyed most of them myself and prefer traditional AAA titles.

      “Realistically though, I think the days of big-name games with crazy impressive graphics will soon be over as companies take stock of the risks and costs associated with them.”
      Hopefully not, that’s saddening.

  6. Just gonna add in my two cents (gonna get long though).

    Mobile games are popular only because of the fact they contain a form of “competition” that you really can’t get in say MMORPG. There’s definitely a factor of convenience as well, but that’s significantly trivial.

    This form of “competition” diverges in a couple of ways, and I’ll try to be as explicit as I can to explain them

    1) Competition against everyone else: these are the people who literally fight with other players of the game to reach top rankings in public. I blame the iOS Game Center for a large majority of this to be amplified and for people to utilize hacks and cheats to get temporary fame, but like real life, these low self-esteem individuals exist to get themselves known on an entertainment genre made for pleasure. Simply put, they’re making these “games” their work.

    2) While not as significant, some players play a game just because of the time and/or money that’s already been invested. Now something that’s supposed to be “fun” becomes an obligation for the person, and this closely resembles addiction; that’s bad.

    Even after all this, mobile games become extremely boring after a while. The various “Events” are the producer’s way of not boring the players with the same repetition of gameplay over and over again, and considering how some games are strictly aimed towards a certain audiance with half-naked women or “bishoujo” also incite a bit of disgust from me.

    Mobile games are also pretty damn costly. I’m guilty of spending over 1000 USD on these “time-wasters”, but the reason why I don’t regret spending all that money is because I knew when I was clicking on that payment button that I’m literally flushing $20 bills down the toilet.

    Let’s not even get to the “trap” that producers place for players to earn money. As obvious as it is, it’s not free to run a game, even if it’s a mobile one, and there are ways the producers leech money. Some are better at doing it than others, but in general, that has led to more and more players spending money on games and results on not having enough money for say console games. If anyone wants to hear my theory on this, feel free to ask; I’d be happy to share.

    Games like LLSIF becomes successful for some very minor things that players overlook. It’s really sad to see both the Japanese and non-Japanese drooling over the characters, when it’s the ORIGINAL MUSIC that really made this series a success.

    • I admit I never thought of that far aside from just convenience. I do remember people for gunning for top ranks in LLSIF (not sure if other mobile games have similar ranking system, but I assume they do) though I just chilled behind at some godforsaken position in the back, lol. I honestly never cared for competition-which is a big reason for why I was never too keen on multiplayer games, be it mobile or console, especially the more competition-based types. I don’t use an apple device (aside from my extinct 2nd generation iPod which I only use for Internet and mail) so never knew the competition for the rankings was so “tight”, to the point that they even utilize hacks, lol. It is kinda sad to hear though, since these games were meant to be fun in the first place.

      Mobile games are certainly repetitive. Each of them are designed to run in a certain format, while this rings true for some console games as well, mobile games-even more so. The games were never meant to be played for consecutively long periods of time though, so I can attest to their repetitive nature. I can totally see how some of those events are great at suggesting otherwise, admittedly.

      And as for your point on money, I definitely agree. Even if the apps are supposedly free, the producers had to have some sort of way to earn revenue from it, and those come in the form of money-purchased only in-store items, “traps”, in your words. I never bought anything from these in-game stores (unluckily/luckily, I can just never seem to get in-app payment work for my phone). And you’re right, it definitely doesn’t seem expensive at first glance when it’s just $10 or $20, but doing it consecutively for a long time is not going to get pretty on your wallet, lol. I saw a news from someone who literally spent millions on some mobile games, lol.

      I guess in short, mobile games just have a lot of “traps”-it’s everyday free item, events, and fancy in-game items are all very suggestive ways to make people keep coming back, even paying money. But looking on a brighter side, I also like what Moonlitasteria had brought up, if those revenue they earned in mobile games (which could reach thousands to millions like we had just discussed) ended up being a supplement for production of AAA console games, then I don’t mind too much either.

      As for LLSIF and the characters, I think it’s a form of character investment thing which I don’t think it’s particularly harmful at all. Though I personally think LLSIF, and some other idol anime are as popular as they are-not just because of their songs (although they do play a factor) but the overall franchise as a whole. This is actually an idea for a post I got for awhile, so I’ll stop here for now. Hopefully I get that post done soon.

      • Thanks for your input! Your post suggested otherwise, but you seem to be considerably experienced with how mobile gaming works and its tactic that producers use. There’s definitely the “free stuff” that’s used to bait the players in the first place, the “competition” is also used to bait the players into spending.

        As an example, in LLSIF, there seems to be a tendency to argue for which character is who’s “waifu”. I’ll let you figure out the rest, although as you’d agree, that’s pretty DAMN sad.

        On the other hand, I must say that while the “idol” genre of anime and entertainment is certainly very popular both in Japan and all over the world, that’s not the only thing that made LLSIF pretty much world-famous to the point they’re releasing a movie even after the series actually ended.

        “Fantasista Doll” is actually a title that I compare LLSIF closely: they’re both in an all-girl’s environment with almost no males, and while the focus is slightly different, both series have a mobile game and an anime series. Yet one title is world-famous while the other is hardly known to anyone. There’s a difference between those, and that would be the original music which (while it may not be as hyped as it should be) acted as the initiator to LLSIF’s fame.

        Frankly, if I may be as bold as to state, the story of LL isn’t that great, for both the anime and for the 30-some chapters within the game itself. In that sense, your suggestion is saying that people are spending thousands and millions on what’s just pixels and pretty much making love to them (sometimes quite literally) with no consideration of anything else.

        For my own sanity’s sake and for me to keep hold of my last hope for humanity, I’d like to think otherwise.

        • For the waifu thing, like I said, I think it’s a form of character investment thing. I’m personally one of those many people who keep saying “waifu waifu” though, if you haven’t notice, lol. But I wasn’t exactly serious and when I used the term “waifu”, it’s more equate to “favorite character”, not the literal meaning.

          “Fantasista Doll” isn’t even an idol franchise, if I’m not mistaken, so there’s definitely some merit in your suggestion. I personally still think the idol franchise as a whole is what make the series so popular, including the songs too, at that, which I think also played a huge factor for people who enjoy listening to anime soundtracks and J-pop too.

          Man, I don’t know. I honestly don’t really see it as bad as you do, and mostly just see it as a form of character investment. At the very least, I don’t know anyone around me who literally spent millions of dollars on LLSIF, though a few hundreds, sure.

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