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Mobile Gaming is Dumbing Down PC Gaming – part 2

by Andrew White  |  February 18, 2015  |  Comments Off on Mobile Gaming is Dumbing Down PC Gaming – part 2

I blogged on this topic recently: Why Mobile Gaming is Killing our High Tech Industry – though Doom and id Software may yet help…

I claimed that dollars spent to “dumb down” PC-based games to fit on a mobile platform are dollars that would have been better spent pushing the PC-based game boundaries.  The short term gains of revenue for the new channel are offset against pioneering investment pushing the PC boundaries that promise even larger profits for more companies later.

There is clearly money to be made in selling games, even what was originally a PC-based game, to mobile users, but the technology will not focus on pushing the traditional boundaries of UI or processing development.  UI’s are smaller and processing power is limited; though I admit there might be innovation in the P2P or collaboration space.  Networking and peer consistency is not that pushed since that is part of large scale PC-gaming environments today like World of Warcraft and Eve Online.  Heck, even defunct Sims Online had more users that most mobile networked game have so far.

The bottom line is that the boundaries of PC gaming are shrinking, not growing, and this bodes poorly for our high tech industry. One reason many of us have powerful PC’s at home and at work is due to FPS gaming in the 1980’s and 1990’s.  If Doom had not happened, I would not be sitting here now and many software firms would not be where they are today either.

Well I have more proof, sadly, in one of my favorite game designers Peter Molyneux .  He is the creator of Black and White which is an early form of ‘god game’.  Well, he used Kickstarter to launch a new game, Godus, that was to be what Black and White never was.  Two years later he admits that adding mobile support, before the PC game was even finished, killed off the vision for the game.  Money diverted from the PC game to start the mobile version denuded the PC game of much needed funds and focus.  Now Godus is in trouble.  See here.  It was only a year ago things looked so good…..  And to top it all off, Kickstarter will fail too since the original game goals on the PC will not have been met.  I paid for a half finished, re-designed-game-to-pander-to-the-mobile-masses.  Sadly on the video you can hear Peter admitting that someone else now has a better vision then he.  Incredible.

Everywhere you look you can see erstwhile successful PC-produced gaming publishers adding mobile support to their PC games. Instead of developing a new PC game, they go off and adapt a PC game to a mobile platform.  Or much, much worse, they design a game from the start to work across multiple platforms, thus assuring the PC game will be a compromise and not an innovation.  Mainframe software was adapted to powerful PC’s that supported real time what-if analysis of business and supply chain scenarios.  Those PC’s were only there due to things like Doom.

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Category: god-games  godus  id-software  innovation  peter-molyneux  

Andrew White
Research VP
8 years at Gartner
22 years IT industry

Andrew White is a Distinguished Analyst and VP. His roles include Chief of Research and Content Lead for Data and Analytics. His main research focus is data and analytics strategy, platforms, and governance. Read Full Bio

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