MMOs Going Mobile

A great migration is afoot. More and more studios are putting their mobile game development efforts first. This trend doesn’t just apply to new studios and new projects, but also many of the existing names in the MMO and MMORPG industry. Genre veterans like Lineage 2, Final Fantasy 11, and MapleStory are getting mobile versions. Big name MMO studios like NCsoft and Nexon are designing new mobile only games like the open world survival game Durango and the turn based tactical RPG Master of Eternity.

This new wave of mobile games represents a huge increase in complexity compared to most of the popular mobile games currently available. It looks like the platform is finally maturing. Even huge Western game studios like Electronic Arts and Activision Blizzard are getting serious about mobile. Hearthstone is already one of Blizzard’s most successful games, largely due to its cross platform nature. Activision Blizzard was so impressed with their mobile card game’s performance that they decided to go all-in on mobile with the purchase of Candy Crush Saga studio King for a whopping $6 billion.

Many older gamers such as myself have long held apprehensions about mobile gaming, but this bias was largely formed during the first generation of mobile games. Games like Hearthstone clearly show that a game doesn’t have to make quality sacrifices to be playable on mobile. That bodes well for the future as more and more genres move into the mobile sphere. Strategy games like Civilization and turn based RPGs, particularly anime style RPGs have a bright future on mobile, and the mix of quality gameplay, art, and music may even win over old school gamers like me.

There are already a slew of exciting mobile games that offer PC class complexity. One example is the SRPG Fantasy War Tactics, published by Nexon. The game offers tons of characters to collect, animated graphics, and a grid based map to battle on. Other titles like Zenonia S: Rifts in Time and Eternity Warriors 4 are already making a name for themselves on mobile. A blast from the past is Roblox, first released for the browser and computer over a decade ago. The mobile version offers the same creative gameplay, but makes it available to a whole new generation of kids. Roblox came out way before Minecraft and offers an ingenious outlet for kids to test their creativity. I have heard of many children who have only heard of Roblox on mobile, these are fans that would never have even known about the game had it not been for the smartphone!

A supercomputer and a gaming platform in everyone’s pocket! That’s what the mobile platform promises. Imagine how big a true Pokemon game would be on Android and iOS. In the mean time, we can look forward to Pokemon Go, a title that mixes geocaching, exploring, and collecting. It might not be what die hard Pokemon fans have wanted, but its an important step in spreading the franchise.