State of Mobile Gaming

Ninety-five percent.

For me, that is the percentage of current mobile “games” which are complete garbage. What would be a fantastic start to resolving this situation would be to move all “games” with in-app purchases from “Free” over to “Paid”.

So, who exactly is to blame for the state of mobile gaming then?

Unfortunately, the majority of the blame lands squarely on the users. I’ve lost track how many times I’ve heard people unwilling to even pay so much as $2.99 for an app. Realistically you cannot make a premium mobile game and survive on that kind of money. Think about it. How do you pay staff on a game that people pay for once and so little? The days of the $0.99 cents Angry Birds (which itself has become full of microtransactions) are long over.

“Wait a minute! It sounds like your advocating for current practices! I’m confused?”

No. The current, insidious, predatory practices of nickel and diming the public are going to doom the entire genre unless pulled way back. Yes, yes, that’s a lot of hyperbole but I think people are already starting to get sick of it. The trend is to make the waiting for things to happen so positively irritating that you will decide to fork over some cash. For a quality, feature rich game, I have no problem paying in excess of $15 as a start.

EA’s take on the beloved classic Dungeon Keeper is a shining example of what is wrong with the industry. Now, it should be no surprise that EA is among the worst of these but this, with this franchise, was just so terribly disappointing.

Then, let’s not forget the Warner Brothers title for the “children”, Harry Potter, which strangles your character for a long time unless you pay to speed up his/her rescue… I am not making that up.

I want to echo one of the points from Feature Creep in that many of these are not even real games. They are excuses to make you keep paying or wait. In the game “Boom Beach” a simple upgrade to a character takes 2 1/2 days.

Loot Boxes

This is gambling. Period. Even if the items are not paid to win items it is still a form of gambling and parts of the world are starting to take notice. 

It is difficult to say how this will turn out or how the industry will find a new way to claw money out of us but I think it’s a positive step. Making “AAA” games is not cheap but this exploitation is not the answer.

Subscriptions

If done properly this could actually work. Any game which has a backend to support or wants to continue to put in new features simply cannot work on a single payment. Nor do we want them to resort to loot boxes and other microtransactions. 

Perhaps a “complete” subscription would be the answer. Thus unlocking all features, all characters with no further money required. The drawbacks are of course there’s only so many subscriptions which people are willing to pay for so if subscriptions become the norm the number of games people play will greatly diminish.

Summary

In the end, I do not think there is any easy answers to the problem. I can say without a shadow of a doubt the current trend is poisonous. 

 

 

The Switch

Because I believe in being on time and topical I’ve decided to now post a mini, rambling review of the Nintendo Switch. I held off on this new console because when “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” came out it also available for the Nintendo Wii-U, which I already owned.

However, after a promotion at work, I decided that was an excuse enough to finally dive in and I’m very glad that I did. I love the versatility of the console. The number of ways that you can use it that suit your needs.

Super Mario Oddessy
Super Mario Oddessy

I primarily bought the Switch as a portable console. Originally I had been looking at getting the “New” Nintendo 2DXL as an upgrade on my older 3DS (I never really used the 3D features) but the cost was $199 (Canadian). However, everything I read and looking at the very few new games coming out did not make it seem like a great investment. The Switch in Canada was $399 and seemed like a much better deal, to me.

The specifications for the Switch are adequate for what it can do but like the Wii-U mind-boggling in that they didn’t bump them up at least a little more.

  • NVIDIA Custom Tegra processor
  • 32 GB of internal storage
  • Expand storage space using microSDHC or microSDXC cards up to 2TB
  • Approximately 2.5 – 6.5 hours battery life

One of the few negative points that struck a lot of people right away was, 32GB of internal memory? In this day and age? Yes, I know you can expand it but even so, 32GB is an insultingly low amount of memory to include with the base console at the price of $399. Thankfully the microSD cards are not very expensive and I recommend getting a 256GB card.

Ittle Dew 2+
Ittle Dew 2+

One thing I recommend is checking out some of the possibly lesser known titles on the Switch. Ittle Dew+ is one of them and if you were a fan of the original Zelda style of gameplay you are in for a treat here. It has a cute look to it but, given my lack of gaming ability, I have found it to be rather challenging at points.

I recommend checking this channel on YouTube as he often has great reviews of Nintendo Switch games.

Hopefully, they put out a second Zelda game (as I believe there have been usually 2 per console, or so) and I can experience it on this console. Given the limited power (it’s not much more powerful than the Wii-U) I do not see as long of a life for it as with the Xbox One or PS4 unfortunately.

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