Dev Talk: Do Mobile Gaming Snobs Annoy You? (Part 1)

Hello, and welcome to Dev Talk, the weekly iFanzine feature in which I ask a panel of indie game developers their opinion on a topic or current hot-button issue related to the games industry.

This week I posed the following question: “It’s maybe not as bad as it used to be, but self-styled ‘hardcore’ gamers can still be quite snobbish and disdainful of mobile gaming. Does this irk you at all, or do you just shrug it off?”

Here’s what the devs had to say…

Ryan Cash, Snowman

I don’t blame them for thinking that way, but I bet if they sat down and gave a good mobile game a shot, they’d appreciate it. I think, on an even broader subject, video games are often frowned upon, period. This is certainly changing, and I think mobile games are giving everyone the ease of access they need to really jump-start this new movement. I think with some bigger console games coming to mobile as of late, traditional “gamers” are starting to open up to mobile.

Dan Taylor, Thunderbox Entertainment

Hah… no! I can be quite snobbish and disdainful of mobile gaming myself! 😉 I think a lot of this comes from how much “easier” it is to develop and release on mobile, resulting in a marketplace that is crowded with ill-conceived clones and poorly executed FTP games. There are also some amazing games that could only be done on mobile (Pokémon Go and The Room series for example), that have better gameplay, polish and engagement than many AAA console titles.

At Thunderbox, we design our games to leverage the strengths of mobile hardware (like connectivity, portability and tactility) for as broad an audience as possible, so if a small group of gamers don’t like mobile, that’s totally cool with us.

Barry Meade, Fireproof Games

It doesn’t bother us but we understand it. It’s just taste after all, and you’re an idiot if you argue personal taste with someone. Before we made mobile games we had a similarly grim view of mobile to be honest — that’s partially what inspired us to make something different with The Room. We didn’t follow the conventions on what a ‘good’ or ‘proper’ mobile game is. Instead we had strong ideas about what a good game generally is — that is we followed rules that would work on console/PC and mobile too. But it wasn’t an overt rejection of mobile, just that we saw a gap in what was available. Often times where there is entrenched or conventional views that everybody follows, that’s an opportunity to upend or counteract things — it gives you an angle.

Johan Larsby, Pastille Games

We shake it off like a Polaroid picture taken by Taylor Swift. We think there is space for everyone in the industry. Just because you like Marvel movies it doesn’t mean you can’t like a Funny or Die movie on YouTube. We in our studio like to play both the real big productions on current gen consoles. But also mobile games.

Bradley Smith, Miracle Tea

I tend to just shrug it off, they’re just doing their thing and they’re a different audience with certain traits I guess. They probably just want to feel like they’re a part of something special. People in general can be snobbish and disdainful, this isn’t necessarily unique to hardcore gamers. Though there are certain games designed in a way that seem to make for toxic behaviour. Would be cool to see a shift in design that attempts to encourage more wholesome acts within a community. I try not to get too caught up with other people’s flaws because it’s more their hang up than mine.

Jinn Karlsson, Pastille Games

Some people still have the misconception of what a mobile game is and who is suppose to play them. Like you’re not a real gamer if you play on your phone. But honestly, with so many people already playing mobile games, I feel like a cant even be bothered to argue with them. They are missing out on so many awesome games! Especially from indie studios.

Thibaud de Souza, Anime 3D SFX

Nowadays we have tools to distribute on a range of platforms so, the divide isn’t where it used to be. What’s happening is core gamers have fixed expectations about genres, production value and the amount of personal investment that they anticipate putting into a game.

The mobile market’s never been headed in the right direction (not since Apple opened the door to free games and in app purchases) but you’ll still find that players pick up a game and give it a fair try.

Good stuff is happening at the interface between these two worlds.

Ryan Carag, Raiyumi

Hmm.. I haven’t noticed too much of this and I don’t see myself being bothered by this. I could understand some reasons such as monetization practices, quality compared to other systems, or playing on a tiny screen (much less now with bigger phones). The improvement in phones and quality in apps probably had a helping hand in lessening this.

But I guess it comes down to mobile games are seen as “f2p” and there’s a ton of bad apps uploaded everyday, but regardless people like that probably wouldn’t play mobile games.

Trent Gamblin, Nooskewl

It doesn’t bother me at all. Look at the OUYA. That took more flak than mobile gaming and I still wish it was still around.

Philipp Döschl, FDG Entertainment

To be honest, I don’t care at all. There’s nothing that everybody likes and you’ll always find somebody who criticizes what you’re doing. There are enough ‘hardcore’ games on mobile that worked really well (financially) and that were very well done. Why not? Mobiles/smartphones are just another kind of computer, so why not also play games on it?

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