In analyzing survey responses returned from more than 250 developers this year, the organizers of GDC Europe did everything but declare mobile dead. “PC topples mobile as the most popular platform,” read the PR blast. “[Sixty-two] percent of those surveyed said the game they’re currently working on will see a PC release,” compared to the 50% launching on mobile. The PC is certainly looking up from last year.
Coincidentally, Gamasutra just published a piece heavily critical of the bloated and profit-starved mobile industry. Developer Thomas Henshell argued that the excess of games flooding the market, the skyrocketing and unrecoverable costs of mobile development, and the casual, anti-brand-loyalty nature of mobile customers drove him out of the app development business. Where did he go?
All of it made me wonder whether the mobile bubble has finally burst. I know a lot of MMO players will cheer; who isn’t tired of hearing that such-and-such studio, once adored for its MMORPGs, has now turned to some mobile cash-cow instead? But at the same time, I’m a little bummed because we didn’t get very many actual MMORPGs on the platform, and I wonder whether that perfect moment to shine has now passed. I wasn’t annoyed about MMOs on mobile; I was annoyed at MMO companies making non-MMOs on mobile. I would have loved to have seen what the MMORPG genre could do there beyond the classics like the Legends series and Order & Chaos Online.
What do you think? Is the age of mobile over before mobile MMOs even got started?