Game Devs are Ditching Mobile Games For the Good Ol' PC

Discoverability and piracy are making the mobile market hard enough that developers are retreating to the PC.

When developers in the industry get together and talk, it's always worth listening. What Gamesindustry International found this week was something that casual and hardcore gamers alike need to hear; the market is moving away from apps and back to the old standby of PCs and the new normal of the console.

Issues like piracy and difficulties with discoverablity in crowded app stores are discouraging game designers to put their time and money into apps. Many independent game developers are finding that the business model of selling your product for 69 cents is just not sustainable, so they are individually deciding to make products for PCs and consoles that sell for the big bucks.

Half of app devs make no profit

Developing mobile games is hard now in a way it hasn't been before because the number of games is higher, the play store and app store are more exclusive, and people are better at pirating content than they used to be.

Now there are 1000 new apps every day and it's really hard to make any money at all. Paul Johnson says that, "even those slow on the uptake have realized the gold rush is over. It's actually been over for a few years..." and I think he's right. Indie mobile games have had a good run and even if there's never another Angry Birds sequel, we will all survive. 

"We do think developers (especially indies) are considering going back to develop for the PC - and even game consoles..." Jeffrey Lim

Apps could be unprofitable for many reasons. It could be because it's such a hard market for developers to break into, or it could be because developers are not making good enough games. 

Chillingo COO Ed Rumley and others are of that mindset. He thinks that "...some developers underestimate the time and quality it takes to make it in mobile now..." because of the wild success of games such as Plants vs. Zombies, Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja, and Temple Run. All of those games are of the high-quality that consumers expect. When something's featured in the Apple Store, we expect it will be good. 

As a consumer, I just want innovative designs regardless of market because I own a PC and a Smartphone. It doesn't matter to me which way games break through as long as I hear about them. 

Michael Schade, CEO, Fishlabs Entertainment believes "'s not an easy market to breach into, but then again, which market really is? ... you'll always have to work hard to gain your ground and make a name for yourself." PR and marketing, along with great designers and artists, have brought us great mobile games and great PC games and I believe that both will continue even if many designers fall back to their computing roots.  

"If I was starting again now from a blank slate, without an existing fan base, I wouldn't touch mobile with a ten foot pole." Paul Johnson

What it comes down to is an opportunity for users. We'll still get amazing indie developers on our phones, but many of the major players will find their way back into our houses as well. What the developers predict we will end up with are better games in both markets, and that's fun for everyone. It might mean that people starting in the gaming industry have to make tough choices about their markets.


GameSkinny intern, college student, and lifelong nerd.

Published Sep. 25th 2013
  • Big Chief 1
    Featured Correspondent
    I love all of the mobile games coming to PC, such as Cut The Rope and the Angry Birds Series.

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