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Phone and Tablet Gaming

Unfortunately I feel that I can no longer avoid commenting on a debate which has been bandied about a lot lately, namely, the rise of smart phone and tablet gaming. The rise of phone and tablet gaming has gone far beyond that which was expected of it. Indeed, Candy Crush and Temple Run (and another game identical to temple run only featuring the minions from Despicable Me) have been downloaded in their millions. The popularity of these games is beyond question. What I take issue with, however, are the ever so numerous critics and gamers who are arguing that phone and tablet gaming will soon eclipse that of consoles, and particularly hand-held consoles such as the 3DS and PS VitaImage, rendering them obsolete. People point hysterically to the first loss posted by Nintendo in decades as evidence of their hypothesis without their being any real proof of a causal connection between the two. I am not particularly worried about the popularity of phone and tablet gaming for several reasons. First of all, people who download game apps are not people who necessarily like or play games in other capacities, but people who download them as a pleasant, quick, diversion from journeys, boring conversations or just general waiting. Therefore it is a bit of a leap to suggest that gaming apps are taking business away from gaming consoles. In addition to this there is the simple fact that tablets and phones are just not suitable for the kinds of games that millions of people still want to play; big name titles such as COD, Mario, Zelda, FIFA and F1 and vast world spanning RPGs shift millions of sales per year. People very much want these titles in their newest incarnations and this isn’t going to change just because you can play apps on your phone. I have tried many of the biggest app game downloads and found it difficult to be entertained by them for more than about ten minutes. Mostly, they are lacking in any kind of depth which makes playing them for any length of time just unbearable. Which is exactly my point; they were not designed to replace conventional games. Therefore, it seems ridiculous to use gaming app success as an indicator of console gaming’s demise. What many people making this argument seem to forget is that people don’t just play games when they are waiting for something or there is nothing else going on. The majority of gamers play games for fun, to be entertained. Which means that they are going to mostly play games in their own home rather than on the move, and also require more from their games than apps can provide. This is why I believe that they heads of Sony Microsoft and Nintendo will still be able to rest easily at night; the millions of people who love the games they make are not about to disappear.

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3 responses to “Phone and Tablet Gaming

  1. Suliman ⋅

    As long as Sony and Nintendo keep their first party titles exclusive to Vita and 3DS they’ll be fine. Generally casual gamers don’t spend over that much for a mobile game, compare that to core gamers who spend 100s every year on great titles.

    • I would be surprised if the amount they make from app purchases is very much at all. I agree that first party titles are a huge part of retaining customer loyalty; and the depth and quality of these games has yet to be matched by any app.

  2. Guy ⋅

    This is an excellent, well thought out argument. I tip my hat to you good sir.

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