Can Mobile Gaming Actually Be Considered Part Of The Larger Industry?
For quite a few years, this has undoubtedly been a debate that has been endlessly thrown back and forth between many gamers, both casual and hardcore – when it does come to the published games you download and play from the dedicated App Store or Google Play onto your iPhone/Android device, can your phone/tablet really be considered an actual transformed handheld gaming device?
First off, despite my personal opinions on this matter, I shall not be taking sides in this particular editorial. I’ll be viewing and covering this from a neutral perspective, because when it all comes down to it, no matter which opinion may be right at the very end, both sides have certain valid points to their argument. I own an Android device – an LG P-698 equipped with Version 2.3, Gingerbread. I’ve owned it for about a month now, and yes, I have browsed around the Android Market – well, Google Play as it’s officially known now – and filled it with apps of all possible utilities and sizes you could possibly think of, most notably games. Though most of them may not actually be games with the elements of the full-fledged titles we know to be the norm on our other gaming handhelds nowadays, they’re usually these fun little irresistibly addictive titles that can keep your thumbs exhaustingly occupied for up to an hour. And, as much as some may try to deny it, in the end they do go through the process that every other game on any mainstream console goes through – programming, design, overall developing by their respective game “companies” and publishing on to the market, ready for consumers worldwide to get their hands on. …Er, make that fingers.
But of course, while all this may be true, there is also a lot to be considered in that same factor – these so-called games on all these platforms can’t currently hope to measure up to what the main gaming industry is beginning to offer us nowadays. At least, in retail. In other words, I do still stand by what I said about going through the same agonising process; only for the types of games mostly found on these mobile devices (save for a few exceptions), it’s not always to the professional standard of mainstream gaming handhelds or even made by professional designers for most anyway – and they’re miles shallower. Incomparably. As many would say, heaven forbid that we could ever put even the most top-ranking mobile game you could ever find on, say, the iPhone 4S, side-by-side with a somewhat popular retail title from any modern gaming handheld of today – say either the Nintendo 3DS or the PS Vita and dare to say that they are both of the same, mm… prominence, shall I say? It’s like a major taboo when it comes to this industry – they just aren’t of the same set. On downloadables offered on your gaming handhelds of nowadays (such as the eShop variation), sure, they’re equal enough, but anything outside… arguable. Most retail franchises that do end up on mobiles always seem to be watered down a great extent. To my previous point, for example, sure, Rovio has had their fair share of fame from various games in the rather acclaimed Angry Birds series (and have a rather swollen head about it, if you’ll care to excuse me), but one might still feel compelled to argue this does not count towards the games of the “real” industry – just designed as another casual (albeit, pretty good quality for one) mobile game, not anything for the mainstream aficionados… right?
To put it straight, in my terms of view, I think games published via iOS and Android shouldn’t be disqualified as projects designed to compete altogether when it comes to games from Nintendo, Sony and such – I feel the answer may just be a little simpler; it’s the target market. Let me elaborate.
Before anything like the iPhone or Android or even any smartphone came into existence, there were still people of a different mindset when it came to gaming. More than half the things that may have existed on a GameBoy Color back then wouldn’t have made them shift an inch, yet they were the ones who found some sort of joy in picking up their old Nokia phones and playing an engaging game of Snake for more than half-an-hour. So, this, I believe, is what has been developed into a much broader sort of separate “industry” for them – advanced mobile gaming, for the casual people. Games that don’t require as much effort as the games people like me and probably you love to play, the ones that only require multiple taps of maybe just two different buttons to conquer, the ones that when bored in the office (or even trapped in the loo), you can whip your phone out of your pocket to just have a small session of amusement using just one hand on your device. I, for one, think this is what mobile games aim to do; give themselves some edge of quality, and just make a small old hub for themselves and the people who like to play them.
I may be wrong, I may be right, but either way, I think mobile games and mainstream games belong in their respective places alongside each other – not intertwining among theirselves and trying to prove what belongs where. There are casuals, and there are hardcores; let it be as simple as that.