When critics and analysts discuss the death of console gaming, they often hold up the iPhone as the culprit. Mobile gaming is destined to replace expensive home consoles once and for all, they say, offering comparable games for 1/60th the price. So why are the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 flourishing while Flappy Bird clones still dominate the charts on iOS devices?
Edge has taken a look at the short, depressing history of the iOS App Store. Once a fertile breeding ground for original content, the App Store has been reduced to a heap of free-to-play games and clones. Anyone who attempts to stray from the beaten path is typical met with little to no fanfare, hidden in the depths of the store while “endless runners, match-three puzzlers, lightweight city builders and strategy games” steal the spotlight. It has restricted creativity to the point where even reluctant developers are forced to retool their business models to stay competitive.
“It’s great that some are making loads of money from free-to-play, but the inability of publishers to see what else mobile gaming can be leads them to be profit-chasing and risk-averse to a ridiculous degree,” says app developer Barry Meade of Fireproof Games. “The sheer ubiquity of free-to-play is freezing mobile gaming at a very shallow and immature state of its development, when it should be at its most exciting, dynamic and diverse.”
Mobile app stores are generating billions of dollars every year, and will likely continue to do so for the foreseeable future, but the artistic outlook is bleak. As long as Candy Crush Saga and Clash of Clans remain successful staples of the platform, there won’t be room for more than the occasional indie darling. Check out the article at Edge for the full story of the App Store.