Monday, September 28, 2009

The Future of Rich Games in Mobile -September 28th

By Craig Turner
Teleca often discusses and debates hot topics from various viewpoints. Today, we present one viewpoint on the future of mobile gaming. Next week, we’ll follow this up with a counterpoint!

Rich games will never grow beyond a niche market on mobile devices. In this space, casual games will continue to take the lion’s share of revenues. That is not to say that only games like the original Snakes will be successful or that there is no interest in good-looking, fun games on mobile devices. I think the interest in mobile games of the caliber of the Halo or Grand Theft Auto will remain the exception to the rule.

1. Mobile gamers are casual gamers. We want to play quick and be able to start and stop at any time. Not that a game may not last longer than 5 minutes, but it shouldn’t have to last an hour.
2. Mobile games are limited by the form factor and hardware of their target device. These are extremely fragmented. There is no single hardware like in the console world and no unifying DirectX software platform that makes games easy-to-build. And games need to be playable and fun on such a wide range of systems that economics alone will continue to boil them down to the lowest common denominator.

For my mobile games, I expect them to start quick, entertain and challenge me, and not punish me when I take a break to get off the train or (heaven forbid) answer a phone call – all this without instantly draining my battery, please. If I want to blast my way uninterrupted through mind-boggling 3D scenery, I can turn off my phone and sit down with my PS3.

And I’m still waiting for somebody to show me a truly casual multiplayer game. Maybe that will be the key to bigger and better things in mobile gaming…

Do you feel challenged? - Any comment on this is welcome. Next week we expect a counter point blog!


  1. This is a powerfull statement "Rich games will never grow beyond niche market" which cries for counter evidence.
    Lets try.

    Rich games can mean a lot.

    Does it mean full fledge 3D experience?We will quite probably see such functionality come even in your phone book at the end, triggered by experiences you see at Wii with Mee.

    Does it mean immersive envolvement into a gaming environment? Then you might see soon immersive location based games comming, similar to Geocaching.

    Would any of the above proof that rich games could become epidemic?

    I would think so...

  2. I have to agree with Mr. Turner on this point - simple games are much easier and more fun to play and enjoy on your mobile phone.
    I prefer instant gratification with games that can be played for minutes at a time instead of taking hours to see results.
    Not to say that if playing complex games became as easy as using 5 buttons on your keypad they wouldn't take over the market.

  3. That sounds to me like many of the text-based social networking games (MafiaWars, Farmville etc.) would be a natural fit for porting to mobile. I think for some of them there is already an iPhone version out there but I don't think all too many Java clients exist.

    You can suspend play instantly since there is no real-time fight against enemies and instead of being punished for being interrupted, you usually benefit from being absent for a while (energy being refilled, etc.).