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Mobile gaming cannot compare to console gaming

Mobile gaming cannot compare to console gaming

Mobile gaming cannot compare to console gaming
April 14
18:22 2020

There has always been a stigma in the gaming community against mobile games. Many console and PC gamers do not even consider mobile games “real games.” Now I don’t really hold that extreme viewpoint, but I wouldn’t exactly put a phone game on the same level as any console game. Despite mobile gaming’s resounding success, there are inherent design standards that prevent it from being considered equal to console games.

Now many people, especially a casual audience, might be surprised mobile games are looked down on by standard gamers. It might even be more surprising when you consider mobile gaming is even more profitable than console and PC gaming. Mobile gaming has had tremendous growth in players due to the easy accessibility it provides and it could very well be the future of gaming. If all you care about is money, then mobile gaming wins. But mobile gaming, despite this victory, still can’t stand to console games in the eyes of many. 

Those profits seem appealing to many game companies like Blizzard who took their IP, “Diablo,” and announced a mobile game for it “Diablo Immortal.” Unfortunately for them, they were met with intense backlash from fans of the series who were disappointed beyond compare. During the reveal, a fan asked if it was a joke to the developer’s faces, in front of a crowd and received applause. This is an example of how many players are not happy with sacrifices a mobile game makes over a console game.

Firstly, let’s compare the design of gameplay between mobile and console games. Mobile games are easy to pick up. They’re simple and easy to understand and they’re addictive. They know how to keep you coming back to them. How could consoles compare? Well, that simplicity is a double-edged sword. Console games have a lot of room to tell complex stories or supply a vast and intensive world for the player, whereas mobile games just can’t supply that kind of experience while maintaining that simplicity. 

Mobile levels are incredibly short and the games often have mechanics set to a timer which runs when the game is turned off incentivizing players to return later. Console games don’t have traversing menus for each level every 2 minutes, those levels last way longer, and they usually don’t keep going by telling me to wait and come back later. People play mobile games to pass time, people play consoles games to spend time.

There is also the way games are controlled. Consoles have controls with buttons, joysticks, bumpers and triggers. Phones have screens. One of these control schemes has a lot more options for how a player controls their game. The grease from your fingers can smear the screen and can actually affect control inputs. If your screen is cracked have fun with inputs that require you to slide your fingers. Unless your game is designed for touch screen controls like “Angry Birds” a console controller is almost always superior.

Then there are the systems for these games. Nintendo Switch, PlayStation and Xbox are all machines designed and optimized primarily to play games and give developers more options. Phones are designed to be all-in-one machines, but encompassing communication, web surfing, music playing and more alongside gaming means your machine is not optimized for games and developers are more often limited in their options. These pocket-sized computers are nice, but being pocket-sized means they’re generally less powerful than most consoles. Many developers tried to put their console games on phones and it went poorly, as seen in YouTuber Scott the Woz’s video.

But game consoles and games are so expensive. Many free-to-play games are often pay-to-win so you could just play normally, or you could pay a little extra to speed up timers or get better gear. Then there’s Gacha games, games that feature a gambling mechanic where you can pay for in-game currency and gamble for characters or items. One example is Nintendo’s “Fire Emblem: Heroes.” It’s free-to-play and has a Gacha system. In August 2018, it earned $400 million worldwide. YouTuber TheJWittz gave an example of just how much you can spend on these games without realizing, as he calculated to his horror and shock how he spent $1,889.62 gambling for jpegs of cute anime characters. That’s the price of a new console, two new controllers and around 23 $60 games. In-app purchases are cheap by themselves, but they add up fast.

I’m not saying mobile games are bad, but they just cannot compare to console games in terms of entertainment value. I can understand how refusing to recognize mobile games as “games” can seem like elitism. All I’m saying is that if I read an abridged and simplified book on how the US Judicial system works, every law firm is gonna raise their eyebrows if I go around calling myself a “lawyer.”

Featured Illustration: Jae-Eun Suh

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Matthew Payne

Matthew Payne

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