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Does mobile gaming have its Bloodborne?

Mobile Mavens ponder cultural significance
Does mobile gaming have its Bloodborne?
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There's no dispute that mobile gaming is the fastest-growing part of the industry.

It has some of the most lucrative games as well as the largest audience.

Yet, in other ways, the sector remains juvenile.

Certainly, in the minds of a subset of players, one of the big divides between console and mobile games culture is the way a new console game can become a badge of honor.

Currently, that badge is Bloodborne. Previously it was Dark Souls.

So, we asked the Mavens:

Does mobile gaming have a Bloodborne?

If we don't, does its absence matter?

Jon Hare

Jon Hare

Owner at Tower Studios

I am happy to wear Device 6 as a badge of honour.

In mobile it is all about how groundbreaking something is, not how popular.

The esoteric delights of <em>Device 6</em>
The esoteric delights of Device 6

John Ozimek

John Ozimek

Co-founder at Big Games Machine

The closest I can get for mobile is the Kingdom Rush series, which I've completed on all difficulties and got all the achievements, which I hope makes me part of a small and exclusive group of incredibly cool people (please don't shatter the illusion).

Kingdom Rush is perhaps the only mobile game that we discuss in the office with the same enthusiasm as console games like GTA or Destiny.

<em>Kingdom Rush</em> - hardcore TD
Kingdom Rush - hardcore TD

I'm finding it hard to think of many games on mobile that combine a cult-like fanbase, excellent game design, and gameplay that is so hard that not being put off immediately is seen as a badge of honour.

Maybe the better question is 'Who is mobile gaming's Hideo Kojima'?

Oscar Clark

Oscar Clark

Chief Strategy Officer at Fundamentally Games

Not sure I quite agree with Jon/John on the titles they have picked - great titles though they might be.

Indeed I'm not even sure I agree with whether the premise is relevant to mobile or not.

Don't get me wrong. There are amazing mind-bending, emotion twisting games on mobile, just as there are on console. Mobile games are played just as obsessively as any console game. However, I think the platform has different constraints and offers different rhythms of play.

<em>Crossy Road</em> - an emotional response
Crossy Road - an emotional response

Games like Threes, Crossy Road or Super Hexagon are all very much in that relentless pursuit of ever more challenging play like a Dark Souls. They garner huge emotional responses from their communities.

But what about Candy Crush or Subway Surfer?

Perhaps these are too mass market for the same reactions. These games are not an exclusive passion. They are hugely accessible to tens, if not hundreds of millions of people everyday.

“Social Identity Theory allows gamers to say look at me. I'm special because I understand why this game is special. ”
Oscar Clark

Mobile also allows for a more intermittent playing style. Something I dip into 10, 20, 100 times a day rather than spend whole hours playing back-to-back. This means I get to regularly disengage and return. That's great for habit forming and sharing, but does it help a title gain a level of exclusivity that bonds people together.

For me I suspect that there is something about Social Identity Theory behind why gamers obsess about particular games.

It allows them to say look at me. I'm special because I understand why this game is special. It neatly allows us to put scorn on the unsuspecting mundane who to be honest probably don't even care.

Yes there are games that have this badge wearing honor, until recently that was Tales of Honor for me (until the difficulty curve got too steep).

Before that it was Galaxy On Fire Alliances. I'm looking for a new one. Any suggestions?

[people id="11" name="Brian Baglow"]

I think a more useful question is why the console market has consistently failed to find its Candy Crush Saga - something that moves way beyond the accepted demographics and hard core audience and drawn in non-gamers?

I thought it had started with Nintendogs, Wii Fit and so on, but we're right back at headshots and explosions...

[/people]

William D. Volk

William D. Volk

Chief Futurist at Forward Reality

In a bizarre way, Flappy Bird is an example of that sort of game. It was extremely hard to get a decent score, and players would brag about scoring well on social networks.

<em>Flappy Bird</em> - highscore hardcore
Flappy Bird - highscore hardcore

There are a lot of “impossible games” (we’ve tried this ourselves, with Impossible Hex)... games that have fair rules but are extraordinary difficult to score well in.