My take on mobile gaming and (portable) consoles
There’s been a lot of talk about how iPhone and Androids already are the end of dedicated (portable) consoles. After thinking a little about it, and reading how the 3DS sales went up after the price cut, I have to say that’s bullshit, ok, I “totally disagree.”
It did make me wonder if the mobile phone could ever replace the portable console, in the near, or not-so-distant future, and what it would take for that to happen, since the markets and target players aren’t exactly the same (I don’t know how many console gamers would care about Angry Birds and how many Angry Birds fans would care about the next Zelda game). So, off the top of my head these are the things any mobile phone would need before even considering being a real threat to dedicated (portable) consoles.
- “Content is king:” As fun as your average mobile game may be, most of them don’t offer really deep experiences, and are easily forgettable. You’re talking about games that you play while you’re standing in line to get your Starbucks, or waiting for someone to arrive, while console games are the ones you deliberately play for 2 or 3 hours because they are engaging. Note I’m not saying that’s a bad thing or that “console games are superior.” It’s just that mobile games are usually designed to entertain for a little while, while you’re “on the go” (like waiting in line, on a bus stop, and such).
- One size doesn’t fit all, AKA touch controls sometimes suck big time. I’ve played Fruit Ninja (or something like that), Pest Fest, and also the infamous Angry Birds, and they fit touch controls perfectly because they are based on tapping, sweeping and such. However, I couldn’t stand playing Resident Evil or Assasin’s Creed. Simply put, the touch-based sorta-thumbsticks suck and will never be a replacement for the real thing, and that limits the kind of games you can play. If mobiles are to be used for certain games, they need real inputs (much like that Wii U controller, which offers the best of both worlds).
- Note I haven’t mentioned anything about processing power, and this third point is NOT about that either. Mike Capps was arguing about the point of next-gen consoles. Let me say that I like Capps, I love Epic, and I totally love Unreal Technology, and I agree with what he says about the Wii U and all that. However, if you give me an iPhone 8 that’s twice as powerful as an Xbox360, but forces me to play the next Crysis in a screen barely big enough to cover my freaking hand, I don’t want it. Mobile phones trying to compete with consoles should offer me the same experience a console does, but right now they aren’t even designed for that (they are called phones for a reason, you know). Imagine this, you get whatever smart phone you’re using and plug it into some sort of device that streams (or displays) your phone game to the big screen. Now that’s a replacement for a home console that also happens to be used for making calls. Then you walk away and you can contine playing on the small screen but what you really wanna do is play on the big screens because we all know we like big screens to enjoy our games. Now that I think about it, that device sounds similar to the Wii U (save for the phone calling part, of course).
So there. That’s pretty much all I can say about it so far. If I come up with more ideas I’ll post them on a future post. See you next week, and on my next post I’ll talk about what’s an indie developer (or rather my understanding of an “indie developer”) based on my filmmaking background