Mobile Games — Friend or Foe to Non-Mobile Platforms?

KITATUS
KITATUS in Kitatus
Jul 12, 2016 · 5 min read

Mobile games are an interesting beast. There are a whole number of games created either for a quick buck or as a monetization machine, which turns away a large number of gamers, which are used to the more complete experience found on console or PC.

Today, I wanted to bring attention to the fact that even though a lot of mobile games are made to feed money to developers and/or publishers, some of them feature pretty interesting mechanics and features that I believe could be used as inspiration to take console / PC games to the next level.

So I guess I better explain myself, it’s a pretty wild claim to some.

Mobile gaming as a whole has a bad name, and rightfully so. The mobile marketplace is filled with cheap cash-grabs and games that felt like little to no effort were put into them.

Amongst these cash-whoring games, there are some gems, but they aren’t the games we’ll be talking about today. Yes, today we’re talking about said money-hungry games that felt like they were created just to take as much money from your wallet as possible.

In respects to developers, no matter what you think of them, I won’t be naming any titles in particular today, that wouldn’t be fair. Instead, I want to list some things I’ve seen that I feel could be incorporated into “main gaming” — by which, I mean non-mobile platforms.

Point #1 — Let’s talk about mobile adverts

Mobile adverts confuse me. I understand that an advert is supposed to sell you on an idea of a game and in some cases make a game look better than it actually is, but some of the adverts for mobile games are absolutely fantastic.

I’m sure you’ve seen one or two of them by now; you know the ones “This game is amazing! What is it?!” only to find out the final gameplay plays out nothing like the final game.

Whether or not the adverts are deceptive is beyond the point, the point is the quality of advertising that goes into mobile game adverts is amazing, especially when you consider the size and incomes of some of the teams behind the games and advertisements.

Even if they don’t show off the gameplay and graphics off very well, they let you know the atmosphere behind the game, and they sometimes rival the shorts released at various film festivals.

Advertisements for non-mobile games are seemingly becoming rarer and rarer, saved for the likes of the years biggest releases. I feel smaller developers and the industry as a whole could take a leaf out of the mobile book and reintroduce some of the more artistic gaming advertisements that are booming on the mobile scene.

Point #2 — The single fine-tuned game mechanic

Games the days, ranging from indie to AAA all seem to have a vendetta to shove as many different game mechanics down your throat in the shortest time possible.

Mobile games tend to do the exact opposite, sometimes focusing on a single mechanic that is incredibly fleshed out to keep your attention into a game. Would this work for non-mobile platforms? Who knows.

What I do know is that there a whole boatload of mobile titles that focus on a single mechanic that remains fresh, interesting and more importantly — keep the audience playing as opposed to the whole “More mechanics = more fun” mentality that non-mobile games seem to be doing.

It would seem that non-mobile developers tend to spend time adding as many random mechanics into their games as possible in a desperate attempt that one sticks with the player and keeps them hooked into their game as possible. According to some, this dilutes the gaming experience.

What do YOU think? Remember to reach out to me and let me know what is better; fewer mechanics that are better fleshed out or more mechanics than you can carry?

Point #3 — Short-burst Gameplay / Time-based mechanics

So this is a point not everyone is going to agree with but playing some non-mobile games can take a considerable amount of time to sit down and play. This is not a problem by any means, but if we take our eyes over to the mobile scene, their games are focused on very short gameplay sessions, for obvious reasons.

My argument is that the non-mobile crowd focuses too heavily on the long-form gameplay. Sometimes it’s nice to dip in for a couple of minutes whilst procrastinating without the need to dedicate hours of your time into a session. Naturally, being able to get lost in a video-game for hours is one of the perks of video-gaming, but sometimes you want something a little lighter.

I’m not saying gaming as a whole should be a bite-sized experience, but surely it wouldn’t hurt to have a selection of non-mobile games dedicated for the short burst session? Looking at the player base at some of the mobile games ported to PC, it’s safe to assume the audience for such bite-sized experiences do actually exist. But again, I understand why many people would be against the idea.

For my final point, I’d like to point towards something mobile gamers take for granted and that non-mobile players still have to live without to this day. Auto-saving on exit. You may have noticed that most games on mobile, when you close them, save your progress upon exit. Platforms such as PC, Xbox One and PS4 still lack this functionality, which could have saved many of gamers headaches.

Of course, these platforms usually feature auto-saving and saving in general, but there are times where the game can crash, or you forget how long it’s been since the last checkpoint. With mobile, you can simply fire up the app and continue as you were.

For non-mobile platforms, as there is no standardisation, you could either end up at a previous checkpoint, end up at the start of the level or in some cases it might not even save at all, leaving it down to you to remember to constantly save your progress.

It may sound like I’m nitpicking but it is honestly one of the mobile’s best features that I hope to one day to see on non-mobile platforms.

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A collection of game development related write-ups, break downs and a whole truckload of games industry analysis. There’s even tutorials and guides to help take your project to the next level!

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Kitatus

Kitatus

A collection of game development related write-ups, break downs and a whole truckload of games industry analysis. There’s even tutorials and guides to help take your project to the next level!