The Death of Gameplay

Mobile and Everything else.

When it comes to any other platform outside of the Smartphones,  every game is scrutinized by gameplay or the fidelity of the game.  Mobile games were never accepted as Triple A, and considered second tier until that moment when mobile game companies started making billions and that’s when industry veterans started taking notice. Funny how money changes everything.

Mobile’s biggest advantage was always its reach.  Being in this industry over 15+ years, even from the first day entering this market, i knew that this would be the future.  The real question was when.  The early years were especially hard since our mobile contents were shunned from the gaming industry as companion apps and were simply considered, ‘Shit games’.  

Birth of the Smartphone

Since the birth of the smartphone, the gaming landscape changed. Devs were able to make games that have higher memory capacity than 1mb. (Feature phone era)  This was YUUGE.  For 10 years now, the developers pushed the limitations of the Smartphone, with talks that the smartphone or the tablet being the ‘Next’ gaming platform instead of the next gen xbox one or the ps4.  This will never be the case and here’s why.

Information Era

We are currently living in the information era.  The era where the youth look for constant validation, an era where all the resources are in the palm of your hands, and era where the attention of your community is the most important metric to follow.

Mobile unfortunately will never be the PC console platform everyone was hoping it would be. but why should it, you already have your pc or console for this.  Mobile is carving out its own niche as the gateway for constant information and connection between you and the outside world.

The Death of Gameplay

Because of the era we live in today and the means in which users are using their phones, looking at the top grossing charts in the Top tiers countries, they all have a unique quality to all their games. High Fidelity or not, all the games that appear in the top grossing charts perform 2 important functions:

  • Playable via multi tasking
  • Quick game sessions

There’s a metric that shows 80% of mobile phone owners use their phone while watching television.  I’m sure the number for people using the phones while waiting in line is higher. But the point now is that mobile games are not just competing against other mobile games but everything and anything that is going on in the world. 

Whether it be your friends drama,  world events, new releases, When a user fires up his/her smartphone, your app is competing against all the different types of information that individual wants to process at that current state.

A user might fire up the Facebookapp cause hes feeling a bit lonely and wants to know what his friends are up to. or a user maybe looking for some artistic inspiration so he/she clicks on Pinterest to look at some cool art pieces, maybe he/she wants to chat with his kids / wife / or girlfriend of boyfriend so they load up whatsapp to send out a quick text message.

Apps have the ability to fill voids in a persons life ‘immediately’, and the function for current top grossing games is to fill the need of ‘Progression’.

This is the key emotional component that players keep coming back to so that they can fill these needs. People like the feeling of progression, it gives a sense that you are moving forward in life. Games can effectively create this false sense of progression versus your real life progression (which takes years to realize) and games do this by giving players shiny looking armor pieces, making bars fill up and make artificial number to continue to go up.

Traditional game play emphasized gameplay as a strategic moment to give players the notion that they were smart and skilled at games but the current monetizing game cohort are really looking for one thing, ‘ Progression’

I’m not necessarily claiming that game play is dead in all mobile games, im strictly talking about the current mobile landscape and what type of successful functions ‘Games’ have carved out for the mobile space. I mean as fun as the grinding through Raid boss’ are, stroking your epeen and typing Ha, get rekt, you nub, it gets a bit redundant after the 20th time and all players want are the shiny epic drops, so they can feel good about myself.

The innovation of Sim Tickets / Auto Play

And with this realization gave birth to the Sim Tickets or Auto play function.  Data shows that players aren’t willing to grind as much as they were able to in the past. The youth just have too many things to do to sit around killing fodders all day.  Auto play effectively allows player to feel like they are progressing through a game while perform more important tasks.  The on demand / information era brought forth a generation of attention deficit, impatient gamers that demand things or move on to something that will provide them what they need.  All while feeling like they are progressing at something in life.

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  • 15+ year mobile application industry veteran, probably product managing multiple apps. If he's not busy running this website, you can probably find him at the gym shooting half court shots, while playing the latest mobile rpg game.

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