The games industry moves quickly and while stories may come and go there are some that we just can't let go of…
So, to give those particularly thorny topics a further going over we've created a weekly digest where the members of the PocketGamer.biz team share their thoughts and go that little bit deeper on some of the more interesting things that have happened in mobile gaming in the past week.
I admit, I was fairly interested to learn that Rogue Company: Elite wasn’t going to make it to a global launch. In-fact I was double-checking after the talk to see if there had been an announcement anywhere, but it seems Hi-Rez preferred to quietly place this project on the shelf. Their talk did a good job of showing why, and how even if you have a good game in a genre as crowded as mobile shooters, you’re still going to face problems.
It’s especially interesting from the point of view of publishers and developers - and if you were in attendance at Brighton but didn’t get to watch it, I highly recommend it - as it breaks down where issues with retention and UA came from. Not only that but the actual mechanics and reasoning behind soft-launching the game in somewhere like Mexico.
While it’s not a 1-to-1 comparison either, I think that the story behind why Rogue Company: Elite shut down can be extended to other recent titles that were shuttered, such as Apex Legends Mobile. It gives us an insight behind the scenes where we usually only have a press-release or maybe some comments after the fact to try and give us some sort of clue about what took place. I think not only is this an interesting case-study, but also an example of the value talks at conferences like Develop can confer.
I’m a Sony fanboy. While I’ve gained a healthy amount of interest in mobile gaming since I first began writing for Pocket Gamer, I consider myself, primarily, a console gamer, and Sony has always been at the top of the list when it comes to consoles.
One place where Sony excels over chief competitor Microsoft is in peripherals. Whereas Microsoft has put significant effort into developing its mobile wing with big, flashy acquisitions, Sony has opted for a more slow and steady approach, acting as the proverbial tortoise to Microsoft’s hare. The development of Backbone doesn’t just act as an alternative to Project Q, it acts as a means to onboard players into playing on their phones, effectively crossing the divide between console and PC like ever before.
The investment in extended reality could also potentially see Sony challenge Apple’s Vision Pro - after all, the PlayStation already has its own bespoke VR systems, and this investment could see the company develop a similar system for its developing mobile platform. This could potentially see the ongoing console wars moving onto mobile wholesale. After all, Microsoft claims its acquisition of Activision Blizzard is motivated primarily by its strength on mobile, and should the acquisition be closed it would have a significant advantage in the market.
an AR device for mobile could see PlayStation overtake Microsoft in the mobile space, as well as giving it a significant foothold in AR. After all, the Vision Pro has a significant pricetag of $3,499 - a hypothetical move by Sony in the space could give it a major advantage over
Day one of Develop Brighton had a talk hosted by MAG Interactive's Alice Bowman. The discussion covered the idea of adding more story-based content to mobile games and the impact it can have on your title. As someone who loves a good story, be it from a game, TV show or book, it makes sense that adding some narrative to your game could go a long way toward retaining players.
I've played games where I've found it to be rather mediocre, but if there is one character I'm particularly fond of, I'll stick around just to see more of them. Of course, adding a story isn't the answer for every game, and I can see why some developers may see deeper narratives as simply too much work, but a little can go a long way. Mobile gamers may have shorter play sessions but as pointed out in the talk, the average daily usage for mobile phones in top markets is five hours a day!
So, even if character moments or little drops of the story are given in a snappy and precise way every now and then, it will eventually accumulate to hours of narrative. Mobile can offer interesting characters and storylines as much as any other platform. It's just about presenting it in a way that fits with the fast nature of mobile. In such a competitive market, adding a good story hook to your game could be a great way of bringing players to your game and keeping them invested in future content.