Comment & Opinion

10 years of Pocket Gamer: Despite player fatigue and serious UA problems, Oscar Clark says mobile gaming still has a glorious future

All-round industry good guy Oscar Clark looks back

10 years of Pocket Gamer: Despite player fatigue and serious UA problems, Oscar Clark says mobile gaming still has a glorious future

As Pocket Gamer celebrates its tenth birthday this month, we're sharing the memories of those who have been in the mobile games industry for as long as we have.

That's back when the iPhone was but a futuristic fantasy, and the closest you could get to social mobile gaming was via WAP.

In this article, we ask all-round industry good guy, Unity evangelist and now game developer Oscar Clark to take a walk down memory lane. What were you doing in mobile/games 10 years ago?

Oscar Clark: I was just leaving [UK mobile operator] Three to join NVIDIA - with a crazy idea that there should be 3D games on mobile phones!

What was the hot mobile technology/hardware back then?

The Integrated AP which NVIDIA later called Tegra.

Worth noting that I'd had a smartphone (Motorola A1000 since 2004 by then)

What was in Oscar's pocket in 2004

Can you remember any games you were playing?

Carmageddon! yeap.

Caramgeddon on mobile in I think 2005 (and I was still playing it)

Did you always think mobile games could/would become the widest global gaming sector?

Yes! It's why I joined 3UK in the first place.

The first taste for me was whilst I was still at Gameplay - in the early WAP days. Awful but the potential was fantastic.

What do you think has been the most significant event in mobile gaming during the past 10 years?

The impact of Apple opening up apps to anyone - without needing to be selected by the operator (even though I was that guy once)

What have been your favourite mobile games over the past 10 years?
Oooh too many...

  • Rovio's Darkest Fear;
  • Playman's Winter Sports (just for its oddness);
  • Candy Crush Soda Saga;
  • Hellfire from DeNA;
  • Ticket To Ride;
  • Super Glyph Quest;
  • Magic: The Gathering,
  • FTL (which I preferred in mobile),

the list goes on and on...

Looking to the future, what are you working on now?

Loads of different things as usual.

First of course is Rocky Horror Touch Me.

Then there is my amazing job with Unity Technologies where I get to think, discuss and talk about Games-as-a-Service. 

Every show there is a game which reminds you why we love this industry.

And I am also working with the fabulous Berni Good, writing a book on the Psychology of Game Design.

More generally, what games are you looking forward to?

The next one I don't expect. That may sound glib but when you see as many games as I do through meetings, Big Indie Pitches, Indie Prizes, etc you think you have seen them all...

But every show there is a game which smacks you in head and reminds you why we love this industry (and usually I think why didn't I come up with that!!)

How do you think the mobile games industry will change over the next 10 years?

We are having to get smarter. It's tough out there - enormous competition, serious problems with acquisition, and arguably player fatigue brought on by some freemium exploitation.

But I continue to believe the process is Darwinian and that over time we have to focus on bringing players delight - which means those who survive in the long term will be those who bring delight with the smartest businesses.

Finally, do you have a favourite Pocket Gamer memory you'd like to share?

I think my favourite moment is still when in the first Pocket Gamer Connect London (in 2014), the developers attending the Indie Track got to eat cake with my face on it.

That's a way to celebrate a birthday.

There's also a favourite Pocket Gamer moment from Oscar we'd like to share.


Contributing Editor

A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon is Contributing Editor at which means he acts like a slightly confused uncle who's forgotten where he's left his glasses. As well as letters and cameras, he likes imaginary numbers and legumes.