The Copycat Nature of the Mobile Gaming Industry (Follow up)

The Copycat Nature of the Mobile Gaming Industry (Follow up)

I know I said I wasn’t going to talk about mobile gaming again, but it is such an interesting topic for me, so hopefully this interest transfers to the reader. The amount of people who play mobile games is astronomically larger then the community of conventional gamers, so its also nice to hit more bases of the population. Yet, with this astronomical population comes games which mostly contain microscopic differences.

The photo above is proof of this, and was my inspiration to create this article on such short notice. The fact is, many games on mobile stores are imitations of previous successes. King is a great example of this, with their many match 3 games, which all play the same with little change. The many rip-offs of Clash of Clans, Crossy Road, and, most notoriously, the Flappy Bird clones. Now, this may seem like a surprise to some, but, from a business standpoint, it makes perfect sense to recreate apps that have reached major success, instead of creating new, original ideas that may not be, for lack of a better term, approved by the public. What’s more surprising, to me, is the success these games have. Here’s a few examples of these successes:

Supercell (CoC- 100 million downloads) “Inspired”

Clash of Lords 2– 10 million downloads

Lords Mobile– 1 million downloads

Castle Clash: Age of Legends– 50 million downloads

Clash of Spartan– 1 million downloads

Crossy Road (50 million downloads) “Inspired”

Crossy Heroes- 1 million downloads

Crossy Creeper: Smashy Skins– 1 million downloads

Angry Birds (100 million downloads) “Inspired”

Knock Down- 10 million downloads

Angry Frogs- 1 million downloads

Angry Hero- 100 thousand downloads

Additional Cloned Games

Don’t tap the white tiles (highest clone-5 mil)

Subway Surfers (highest clone- 10 mil)

Pou (highest clone- 10 mil)

Fruit Ninja (highest clone- 10 mil)

Hill Climb Racing (highest clone- 10 mil)

I hope you get the point that these clone games are really successful. And I want to state that I do NOT want to be judgmental of these companies, however I can’t stop being critical towards the public for inspiring this behavior from developers. Great, original mobile games never become as popular as these clones for reasons partially unclear to me. I think it has to do with the overall repetitiveness of some greater games, like Angry Birds, and a desire to relive the original experience with a fresh appearance, which is appeased by a game like Angry Frogs. Speaking of Angry Birds, they are, hands down, the greatest at avoiding this problem, with their many recreations of the Angry Birds game.

This practice of taking inspiration from other successful games will still work so long as people still download these clone games. Even Supercell is guilty of this with Hay Day, a Farmville clone. And Farmville, a clone of Happy Farm. Again, I do not want to sound condescending towards the developers, for this is one of the only ways to become successful in the industry. This or paying lots of money for advertisements. Hopefully, this pattern changes in the future, but these changes will be a challenge to implement, especially with the market growing as big as it has.

Thanks for reading. Heres the song. Also, I want to shoutout this mobile game titled The Greedy Cave. Really original for mobile platforms and I don’t believe it is a clone of any mobile game. Check it out, its a lot of fun. And I promise,  no more mobile stuff for a while.

Heres a small gallery of copied games for some good laughs:

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The Factions of Mobile Gaming: My Thoughts on the Mobile Gaming Craze

The Factions of Mobile Gaming: My Thoughts on the Mobile Gaming Craze

DISCLAIMER: This is NOT written by any psychology major. Its just a person, myself, stating what I have observed from mobile games and gamers, along with my own personal experiences with mobile gaming. This information is, therefore, subjective.

For those unaware, mobile gaming has become increasingly popular and, more importantly, profitable. Multi-billion companies (yes, BILLION) like King and Supercell have yet to make a single game that hasn’t been for mobile users. Hell, Supercell has only had three games until the recent release of Clash Royale (which was no pushover title either). These companies, among many others, have learned what the average user wants in a game, and have exploited it in such a way for their financial benefit.

The key point in many mobile games is the competitive nature of the users. Not all mobile users feel this way, but many are fans of competitive games. Supercell does a great job at simulating this competitive atmosphere, even though their games may not seem that competitive. Aside from HayDay, their games all feature some player versus player interaction. Granted, Clash of Clans and Boom Beach contain more of a base defense type of gameplay, but the player is the one who builds the base, technically making the games contain PvP. This competition on a global scale inspires players to go through any means to win, some to the limits of paying actual money, to be even greater.

Companies, like Supercell, also thrive in exploiting a human’s sense of achievement and usefulness to establish their mobile powerhouse. This is done through a clan system, which, again, is found in all Supercell games besides HayDay. The clan system fills a sense of meaning in playing a game. A successful “clan” system for any mobile game usually contains a few variables: a contribution/donation system to the clan, PvP within clans, and benefits built into the game which provide extra, for lack of a better term, stuff to a member of a clan. All three of these are found in games like Clash of Clans, Magic Rush: Heroes (Elex), and, to a lesser degree, Clash Royale. And this is just a small selection pool of successful mobile games with this feature.

Now, anybody who is aware of the mobile game market knows that not all games have this aspect of  “teamwork.” They don’t, however, they do share this idea of obtaining self achievement and “bragging rights”. For these next few paragraphs, I will specifically be talking about King and all of their match 3 success stories. However, the specifics of the game’s analysis can be applied to a much broader range of mobile games. Now, digressions aside, King is, arguably, the most successful mobile game developer. Let me rephrase, the most profitable mobile game developer, for success is WAY more subjective, as if this piece isn’t opinionated enough.

Yes, Supercell, EA, and other mobile designers make a boatload of money just from mobile platforms. Yet, to me, King seems the most profitable, especially now with the partnership with Activision and Blizzard. King does this by making a fairly large amount of games which all have similar gameplay technicalities. And many game companies (i.e.SGN, PlayFlock, BubbleSoft, and a TON of others) copy this gameplay design and it is just as, if not more, profitable. Seriously, I challenge you to search match 3 games on the Google Play store and see just how many game developers have copied King. Now, I am NOT defending King in any way, or at least I don’t mean to. I hate King, if anything, for their lack of originality (although Alpha Betty was a unique twist). Well, their seems to be two major communities within mobile games: the competitive/cooperative multiplayer gamers, ruled by Supercell, and the casual gamers, ruled by King (pun intended).

Let me follow the above statement with the disclaimer that these two groups are MAJOR generalizations that has many exceptions. Now, this casual community of mobile gamers seem to be busier, with work or other hobbies occupying most of their day. So, these on-the-go games with fairly simple controls seem to be their perfect hookup. These players seem to be more in the demographic of people without much experience to conventional gaming (again, generalizations). The reason why I feel games like this are more profitable than, say, a game like Clash of Clans is for the demographic it targets. The majority of the players of this game have no patience to wait for stamina, lives, etc., due to aforementioned reasons. So, they spend money in order to play the game as it pertains to their busy schedules. Competitive mobile gamers tend to be able to invest more time in the game, which will cause spending as well. But, this demographic of competitive gamers are in no prevalent rush to gain resources or lives quicker, therefore becoming free-riders (a mobile gamer that spends no money on micro-transactions in game). Some games under this casual category include Puzzles and Dragons, Angry Birds, and other games which seem to have simplistic controls that are easy to learn.

So, my opinion on the “factions” of mobile gaming. As much as I want to say mobile games and free to play games will be the death of pure video game development, I equally want to say this is great for the franchise. Yes, these games may inspire great developers on consoles to move to mobile devices. To me, this growth in cheaper options will inspire great developers to make even greater games in order to make sure the consumer will have more of a reason to buy the more expensive game. Sure, we’ll have more free to play games on mobile devices, but mobile devices are also evolving their technology.To me, I think this is great for both mobile gaming communities and conventional gaming communities. However, only time can really tell.

 

Thanks for reading. A bit more subjective than my other posts. Hopefully, this won’t become a pattern, along with the mobile gaming pattern. I want to stop mobile gaming posts for a bit, so maybe a poem next post. I will talk about mobile gaming, however, again, for it is such an interesting topic for me not only to write but to read about. Also, its a revolution in gaming, so I feel its a must for a video gaming blog.

Here’s the song for this post. Hope to post within 7 days, but no promises. Have a good one.

(Picture is of the mobile game Tiny Dice Dungeon. Unique mobile game, but micro-transactions are absurd).