In the ever-growing argument over the current and future outlook for the mobile games industry, a new voice has entered the discussion. The zeitgeist of mobile games as of late has revolved around the seemingly conflicting interests of the player verses developers’ bottom line. In a recent editorial published on Polygon, Beldoku developer, Rod Green, claims that free to play is the prevailing, often only, option for most developers, stating that a game like Tetris (1984) would never be successful in today’s competitive gaming landscape.
Back then, you were already committing to a lot of money, time and resources well before you’ve even started to make the game. Physical games, like cartridges, are an expensive proposition; so of course it made sense they would cost $50 or more for a simple game like Tetris. Imagine if someone tried to sell a game like Tetris today for even $4.99 on mobile? Rod Green
Green argues that as long as a game is simple in concept, premium (i.e., not free to play), and is procedural generated (i.e., no hand-crafted levels), it is inevitable that it’ll be cloned and ultimately overshadowed by free clones, as was the case with Threes.
Green makes a solid point. One we have trouble arguing with. If anything, this argument further underscores the notion that premium games shouldn’t necessarily aim to be simple. Minecraft is a prime example of that. If developers create a rich, deep, satisfying experience that is worthy of a premium price, and hopefully the market will reward them for it.