As mentioned in our
I think that’s why I’ve been so hopelessly dedicated to fixing TouchArcade’s business model, as I’ve been on the front lines of fighting so many battles through the last decade. I can’t just give up now, although I do often find myself wondering where I’d be if I had taken any of the many random mobile game industry job offers that have came my way over the years. But, as a indie punk rock kind of dude, moving to the bay area to work for some huge company has always felt like selling out, and still does. After all, in the words of the Notorious B.I.G., mo’ money, mo’ problems- Except when it comes to the
In more positive news, 2018 has been a super rad year for the growth and maturation mobile games in a general sense. We saw a huge surge in mobile esports, and I was lucky enough to be invited to an awful lot of mobile esports events. A few years ago the idea of a mobile game being played as an esport would likely be the punchline of some joke, but we’re actually getting there to where it’s a real thing. While there’s a lot of companies out there doing really cool stuff, I think I’m the most excited for the future of Guns of Boom
Their secret sauce all comes down to
In Guns of Boom, you just load up the AR viewer and you can see the whole map, where all the players are, and you can move around to see other angles of the action. It was real, real weird being at the actual championship event, able to watch the players live, and having the in-app AR experience be better. I know it’s easy to look at the numbers of people watching the streams of these events and consider them failures compared to “real" esports, but I remain ultra bullish because viewer numbers have really skewed what people think of having a huge audience. You might look at the 5,000ish people watching Guns of Boom (or any other mobile esport) and be like, “Pfft, Ninja has 20x more people watching him eat Doritos right now." However, consider venues like
Arena of Valor
My favorite trend in mobile this year is games like Fortnite normalizing totally cross-platform gameplay. The App Store has seen a bunch of really good AAA ports (like Civilization VI
Another good example of this is Old School RuneScape
I don’t think many folks realize just how disruptive
As exciting as that all is, nearly ten years into covering mobile, I’m more concerned than ever on what’s going to happen with any sort of push for the historical preservation of games on the platform. I got a lot of heat on Twitter for comparing writing about the
Looking back at the early days of the App Store, I remember the brutal war developers fought with the jailbreak pirates. We’ve published a bunch of stories on this over the years, but it was totally normal for developers selling paid games to see 90% or more of their players just stealing their games instead. Things got even worse when developers built games with online server infrastructure requirements, as in the case of games like Battle Dungeon,
From a community perspective, it’s been interesting watching our forums community migrate over to
I think my favorite piece of mobile drama this year was the
I’m willing to commit to the incredibly brave prediction that Diablo Immortal will be the most popular and most successful Diablo title of all time. The scale that mobile allows for is simply ridiculous, and really, the game has to be fun to play without paying any money. That’s how the economy of free to play game work. The Real Gamers will dump all over it, as will the general games media, but everyone has a smartphone in their pocket, and they’ll all check out this game. Many will stick with it, I’m not sure how Real Gamers will mentally cope with that, but, I suppose we’ll just have to wait and see.
Speaking of bonafide Real Games, I’m still sort of figuring out what to do with Nintendo Switch coverage around here. We’ve got the
The truly wild thing about the Switch is that there’s no reason Apple couldn’t have done this. If you strip the Switch down to its essence, it’s an Android tablet with some controllers that attach to it. Every time I play a game like Zelda on my Switch, it’s inevitable that I find myself thinking, “All this thing is, is a tablet. My iPad is more powerful than this thing. There’s no reason this game couldn’t similarly be running on the ARM Apple Ax series processor." Well, that is if we disregard the primary difference between the Switch and iOS device: Nintendo’s vested interest in maintaining quality and value in its software versus, well, the App Store. The ebb and flow of this industry, when you’ve been in it as long as we have, it’s pretty ridiculous. It wasn’t that long ago that we were on our podcast wondering if Apple wasn’t going to kill Nintendo as early mobile games were exploding in popularity, drawing everyone away from their Nintendo DS. I would love to see a parallel universe where Apple had done, literally anything, to act closer to a game platform holder like Microsoft, Sony, or Nintendo. Would the Switch exist, and if it did, would anyone care? Maybe, maybe not. But, I guess if we want to get into debating parallel universes there’s probably more interesting ones than that.
What will these people do with this connectivity? What games are they going to end up playing? What will be the first true global mega-hit that everyone from someone with the lowest of low-end phones in Africa will be playing along side someone with a brand new iPhone 11 in the United States? I can’t wait to find out. It feels cliche to say mobile devices have changed everything, but I’d argue we ain’t seen nothin’ yet. I just hope TouchArcade survives long enough so I can cover whatever happens, or at minimum, we can make it to March 15th so I can officially say I’ve been writing about mobile games for a decade.
Anyway, I’ll close this out with a seriously heartfelt thank you to everyone in the TouchArcade community that have stuck with us for this long. I know I’m not great about email, and
Have a great 2019,