In a recent editorial written for Polygon, co-creator of The Room and The Room Two, Barry Meade admonishes the mobile games industry, referring to it as a “creative vacuum.
…taken as a whole the games industry is making mobile games that nobody cares about available to millions of players for nothing. Free-to-play producers chime that quality levels are obviously fine, “If it’s making money it’s objectively good, see?” Well no, not quite, shit sells by the ton every day. In the real world Burger King doesn’t get three Michelin stars. Burger King gets to be happy with its revenue not its reviews, and our industry’s inability to see the difference will only pull us further into our creative vacuum. Barry Meade
We find it difficult to disagree with Meade, who, in his 2,800 word diatribe, causes the mobile gaming industry of being too focused on appeasing whales, or the 0.2% of gamers who happen to be the source of 50% of the industry’s revenue.
“I don’t know how any person who loves games could look at the mobile grossing charts and not despair,” says Meade. While he certainly has a point, let’s not forget that that there are thousands of quality, player focused games on the App Store and Google play that have, more than anything, a discoverability problem. Let’s not pretend that greedy developers the only culprits here. Were Apple and Google more dedicated to helping players find real, quality games rather than fee to play cash grabs, perhaps the financial circumstance of game-makers would be different.
Major AAA studios may not be focused on providing a quality gaming experience, but fortunately for us players, independent developers like Fireproof are. The problem for both parties lies in developers struggling to find the audience that wants to find them.
Meade continues, “If our audience can’t tell us up front what a hit looks like, the hard job of dreaming remains up to us.” Don’t worry, Barry. We, the dedicated game lovers, are happy to speak with our wallets and do our best to support developers who support us.