Yu-Gi-Oh Duel Links, the mobile version of the popular card game. Celebrates its sixth anniversary this month. Having been a major part of Konami’s productions, Yu-Gi-Oh is based on the manga of the same name, written by recently-deceased author Kazuki Takahasha. The manga was immensely successful, inspiring a card game based on the content of the series, which publisher Konami has repeatedly brought to the world of video games.
Yu-Gi-Oh Duel Links is perhaps one of the better known adaptations, a one-to-one version of the card game for mobile devices. Launched in 2016, the game shot to instant success with 4 million downloads, a trend that has continued for its lifetime. The game had accrued 90 million downloads as of 2019, and was held partially responsible for record revenue at Konami in the previous year.
Konami has often faced criticism for its perceived pivot from the video games that made it successful. With some fans criticising the lack of releases for popular franchises such as Castlevania or Silent Hill, the latter also received strong criticism when director Hideo Kojima was dumped from the hotly anticipated Silent Hills title that had been preceded by viral hit P.T. (Playable Teaser).
For better or worse however, Konami has continuously stuck by Yu-Gi-Oh, and the card game has endured as one of the most popular collectible card-games on the planet. Competing with the likes of Magic: The Gathering or Pokémon. As with the latter, video game success has been a consistent priority for Konami, and their focus-shift to mobile was vindicated by Duel Links’ success.
The games’ successor was released this year in the form of Yu-Gi-Oh Master Duel that offers greater visual fidelity and updated design. However, the more simple Duel Links still seems to be going strong, as are Konami’s other video games entries of the franchise.