EA exec believes that mobile games will soon be able to stand side by side with their console game counterparts.
Once upon a time, the mobile market was viewed as an existential threat for the console and handheld market- it was believed that mobile gaming would overtake everything. That very obviously did not happen, and mobile gaming itself became a glut of low end, poorly designed games with exploitative monetization. Of course, there were great games on there too- but the larger trend was more the former than the latter.
Of late, mobile gaming seems to be maturing, and finding its voice as a legitimate form of gaming again- which, EA argues, is the reason that it made its reimagining of Command and Conquer a mobile game (if you remember, this led to a lot of outrage at E3 this year).
“We believe this is a modern, contemporary interpretation of the Command & Conquer brand, but I think [mobile’s] scale–not only across age but across gender–made this the natural platform for it,” EA’s EA chief design officer Patrick Söderlund said to GamesIndustry. “We’re going to come to a point where we need to respect mobile games as much as console games. I know that’s difficult to see when you come to E3, but our mobile business is growing quite significantly, and we look at those teams with the same value and the same integrity as we look at our console teams. And we believe this is the best interpretation we can do of the brand right now.”
He added to that last point, noting that mobile games are becoming more and more like console games, and a time will come when they need to be treated with the same kind of respect that a console game needs to be treated with.
“Game designs on mobile are starting to mimic more and more what we deem to be console-based,” he said. “The work Epic has done with Fortnite… I didn’t think that would work, to be honest. I was super skeptical, yet I see my daughters playing it on their mobile phones while I play on my PS4 or Xbox or PC. I think they’ve shown the world that’s possible. You can replicate a high-definition game onto a mobile phone and that works. The fact you can play against each other is also cool.
“The other trend we’ll see is games on these devices used to be relatively shallow and simplistic, where it felt like they were free so everything was there so you could start paying money. I think we’re seeing more sophisticated, deeper game designs. We’re seeing more sophisticated and deeper fidelity. And I think we’re going to see games that mimic what we see on the console side far more on these platforms long term, because they’re powerful enough now.”
Of course, assuming mobile games become actual, well fleshed out and developed games, rather than ad infested cash grabs that only try to wrangle as much money as possible from their players, that could and should happen- and I do think the mobile market is (very) slowly heading towards that, too. However, it hasn’t happened yet- and EA’s past efforts on mobile, plus the state of the mobile market right now, are enough reasons to criticize their decision to make a brand as venerated as Command and Conquer a mobile game.