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Why Mobile Gaming Has Soured for Me

Mobile games have really disappointed me in the last few months.
This article is over 10 years old and may contain outdated information

Mobile gaming used to be one of my favorite ways to game on the go, but as time has gone by I’ve found that I turn to it less and less. My iPhone used to have a few folders dedicated to games, but their numbers have slowly dwindled. Something has changed in mobile gaming recently and it has really turned me off to the medium in general.

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Mobile gaming has started to feel really manipulative

I find far too often that parts of the game are being locked away from me for a certain amount of time unless I pay reduce the time. Obviously this is no new tactic. Companies have been doing it for a long time. Over the last six months or so, I kept finding games that I used to like jumping on the bandwagon. The most recent example I can think of is Amateur Surgeon 3. I downloaded it a few days ago, since I really like the first two games. It was having a good time, but then realized that a new game mechanic had a timed cooldown.

The thing I hate most about this money making scheme is that it is incredibly manipulative and disrespectful. The game isn’t being designed with the end user in mind, it is designed with the end user’s wallet in mind. It is insulting to think that parts of the game are being hidden away until I either wait in the corner until the timer finishes or pay up. 

I understand why so many games are taking this route. Mobile games are starting to get rather large budgets behind them and the developers or publishers want to make sure they turn a profit. That’s completely understandable, but locking away parts of the game unless I pay is not the way to go about it. It shows a fundamental lack of faith in the game they made. They don’t think the game they made is good enough that people will pay for it, so parts get locked away until the user pays for them. The sad fact is, I would have paid money for an Amateur Surgeon 3 that did not include all the manipulative scheming.

There are more respectful ways to get people to pay money for your game

You could go the route of Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective and let the user play the first couple levels or missions free and charge for the rest. It’s nearly the same as just paying money for a game, except you get to try it out before you buy it.

I still have hope that mobile gaming will eventually get beyond the manipulative tactics so prevalent today. Until then, if developers keep putting arbitrary time locks on game mechanics, I’ll keep deleting them as soon as I’ve tried them. 

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Image of Dallas Ward
Dallas Ward
I am a simple man with simple dreams. I one day wish to play all of my steam games. Yo videogames!