iRant: Mobile Games Are Killing Themselves
Let’s set the record straight. Like many of you, I am a smartphone user. At the time of this article I use an Android phone and can see my self switching to Windows Phone in the near future. While I am a gamer, and do like to play on the go, I do not like the majority of smartphone games. In order to avoid these games, I usually bring a Playstation Vita whenever I am in a gaming mood. This shouldn’t be the case however, as I would love it if mobile games were good, if they were smart, however the problem is that the majority are not. There are a few exceptions, games such as Jetpack Joyride, Fruit Ninja, and Temple Run. Why are just these games quality hits? Its time to dissect the mobile game industry, both smartphone, and handheld, to show what it should and shouldn’t do.
This kills me every time, because I know the quality of this game has been sacrificed. The game could have been on a PS Vita, 3DS, or any other console or PC platform, however its quality was sacrificed to be on this tiny screen that everyone owns. Since the developers no longer seem to care about the quality of the product, games that would end up being better on other platforms, are stuck on mobile devices… Right?
This is the problem. Mobile application stores such as the iOS App Store and Google Play Store are popular with independent developers for two reasons. The first, is because they are on almost all mobile devices. The second, is the accessibility of the app store. These developers do not need to jump through multiple hoops just to get their products on a store, they just code, submit, and (Unless it violates their TOS) it will appear there for all to see. This is unlike other mobile platforms, say, the Playstation Vita, where to get a game published, you need to contact Sony, request dev kits and SDK’s, possibly not even getting them, code the game, undergo certification. This takes a lot of time, and most importantly for indie developers, it takes money and they are not willing to risk this. Those reasons alone are the sole reasons the OUYA exists.
The Touchscreen is one button. The more games see that the touch screen is one button, the better the mobile market will evolve to be. This thinking meathod for mobile games is when the developers realize that a player should not be performing two different actions at the same time. In Fruit Ninja, you only cut. In Jetpack Joyride, you touch to go up, let go to drop. In Temple Run, there are many various swipes, but they only can be performed one at a time. When a mobile game asks you to move and to jump, or to move and shoot, there rests the problem. The exception to this rule is when the developers use the gyroscope and accelerometer, allowing for movement, and an action to be performed.
Therefore, Sony and Nintendo have advantages over this market. Both of their systems are vastly superior to smartphones when it comes to playing games, and they know this, The problem is that they are not willing to change the face of their business by opening a full mobile marketplace, removing certification restrictions, and giving developers SDK’s and the ability to test their games on their non developer systems. This is currently killing the handheld gaming market. The handheld market needs to take from the smartphone market to learn how to push developers on their system. No Sony, Playstation Mobile is not nearly enough. The Mobile market needs to adapt faster, or they will no longer exist. I really love my Vita. I want to see more developers create fantastic things for it, and restricting entrances for full hardware access is not what I would like to see. Sony needs to be an example for the future of handheld gaming, and they need to fight for its survival.