This month’s BlizzCon — Blizzard Entertainment’s annual gaming convention — shook the gaming community to its core when gaming company Blizzard announced that their next game would be “Diablo Immortal,” a mobile successor to the previous console and PC-based versions. There was strong backlash from fans who wanted the next game to share the same platform as its predecessors. The announcement also sparked a new debate over whether or not developers should consider mobile games as a suitable replacement for other gaming experiences.
CAS first-year Michael Parola described his experience with mobile games as an unimportant backdrop from his childhood that eventually gave way to playing on consoles and PC.
“It was a lot more of just a time-waster between things,” Parola said. “It wasn’t very significant.”
Most mobile games rely on pure swipe or touch-based control schemes, occasionally employing digital controller layouts that attempt to mimic those of consoles. Parola explained that the control scheme needed to play games on a phone severely limits their depth and originality.
“Because of how limiting it is, a lot of games are forced to be relatively simple,” Parola said. “There’s only so many ways you can make a mobile game and a lot of them end up being very similar. Having access to more buttons lets games be more complex.”
CAS first-year Kenan Anderson argued that phones also simply lack the hardware necessary to power high-quality games on other platforms.
“As far as phones have come, there’s still just a difference in the level of technology and immersion we can get on a phone,” Anderson said. “Even the best iPhone X can’t hold a finger to a decent gaming laptop or PC in terms of graphics and audio quality.”
Anderson praised mobile games that attempt to do something unique or have some alternative purpose.
“I played ‘Pokémon Go’ for a while, but I really liked that because it was a way to help me get outside, see New York and the city and meet people,” Anderson said.
Anderson noted that the problem was not that ‘Diablo Immortal’ appeared to be a bad game, but that players simply weren’t interested in any sort of mobile experience as a successor to what had come before.
“It’s like if someone wanted a sports car and got an SUV or something,” Anderson said. “It’s not that the game is bad in its arena, they just didn’t want something in that arena at all.”
Parola attributed the ongoing trend of mobile games as attempts to replace PC or console experiences to be a result of various gaming companies’ failure to consider criticism.
“I think it’s gotten better, but it’s still a long way to go because oftentimes these companies are so disconnected from their consumers,” Parola said.
Email Ethan Zack at [email protected]