The early blockbuster mobile games that made millions of dollars included such hits like Candy Crush and Cut the Rope. But over the years the quality of mobile games have improved significantly. Games like Final Fantasy Brave Exvius and Dofus Touch have proved that mobile gaming can go above and beyond simple arcade like games. In fact, arcade style games like Candy Crush are quickly becoming niche while more sophisticated games are starting to dominate the most played apps charts. Final Fantasy Brave Exvius was the first mega successful mobile game in the long running Final Fantasy franchise. It proved to Square Enix that mobile gaming was serious business and they quickly expanded their mobile games portfolio. Just look at Mobius Final Fantasy – it has console quality graphics and a great story. It’s not just giant traditional game companies taking notice of the increased demand for sophisticated mobile games either. Companies like GTArcade are embracing mobile with games like Legacy of Discord which plays a lot like a traditional PC MMORPG (albeit a browser based one).
Not only is there demand for more sophisticated mobile games, but mobile MMOs are actually starting to displace PC MMORPGs. Newly launched core PC MMORPGs like HeroWarz and Echo of Soul simply aren’t bringing in the revenues that mobile MMOs are. In fact, HeroWarz is scheduled to shut down less than a year after launch. Mobile MMORPGs like Taichi Panda on the other hand have quickly grown to millions of users and bring in MILLIONs of dollars in revenue every single month. It’s not just Taichi Panda though, games like Fire Emblem Heroes have also proven the earnings power of the platform. What’s funny is Fire Emblem Heroes will likely be the lowest budget (in terms of development costs) Fire Emblem game ever but also the highest grossing game in the franchise. Beyond the mega-hits there are countless mildly successful mobile MMOs too like Heroes of the Dungeon and Chaos Chronicle. On the PC side of things, it seems like 95% of MMOs are basically dead.
While PC MMORPGs are nowhere near dead, Mobile MMORPGs are definitely taking away market share. Many game developers have given up on PC entirely; just look at IGG who used to publish over a dozen PC MMOs on their site (Tales of Pirates 2, Godswar Online, Angels Online, Zu Online), but have since closed every single one of those games to go mobile only. Big Korean game studios are starting to release mobile ports of their popular PC games too and I suspect those mobile ports will out perform their PC counterparts. Icarus-M is a mobile remake of Riders of Icarus and interest for it remains strong. Flyff All Stars is a mobile version of Fly For Fun and I suspect it’ll make more money for Gala Labs than the desktop version of the game ever did. Heck, Lineage 2: Revolution has already made $41 million in revenue in China alone in 2 weeks since its launch. That’s more than Lineage 2 (PC MMORPG) earned in the first 6 months of 2016 WORLDWIDE.
With so much money in mobile gaming, more and more desktops games are going to go mobile and these games will start replacing PC MMORPGs. While mobile games are still considered “casual” by hardcore PC gamers, they are getting more and more sophisticated. I think in the future even the most hardcore PC users will give up and embrace mobile whether they like it or not. It’s the inevitable future.