Why Most Indie Developers are Ditching Mobile Gaming?


We have heard it before, talked about it before and talked about it a little more after that; but where exactly does the mobile app development market stand when compared to the main stream development arena? Are mobile games really the future of gaming – or is it just inflated expectations?

Well, no one could answer that better than the indie developers with the “been there, done that” mantra. GamesIndustry and CinemaBlend have gone to great lengths while trying to get a conclusion out of this.

There was a time, not a long walk into the past, when the tremendous growth in the mobile and tablet market made people reconsider their priorities pretty strongly. We saw developers, mostly small and independent developers, heading out to test their luck; and we don’t blame them either.

The mobile industry has over 1 billion users, that’s one seventh of the whole world’s population whereas talking about the console-based industry it is astonishing news when Sony announces that it expects to sell more than 5 million units of PS4 in the season.

Yet, everything is not as it seems to be right? Many of the indie developers who went jumping towards the new market niche have either hit dead ends on momentous competition. A survey by App Developers Conference revealed that nearly half of the mobile app developers surveyed had made no profits whatsoever!

This is because there is such a huge competition that it gets virtually impossible to stand out. Of course we hear about Temple Run and Angry Birds every day but hey, these are just two games that succeeded out of millions.

Jeffery Lim the CEO of Wicked Dogs Games for one has had a change of hearts: “The mobile space offers certain advantages, like having the largest customer base and relatively low development costs. However, there’s no doubt it is getting harder to be profitable with the ongoing piracy and discoverability issues.”

“So yes, we do think developers (especially indies) are considering going back to develop for the PC – and even game consoles. The cost of self-publishing on these platforms has dropped significantly, and console makers are also making their platforms more indie-friendly now,” he added.

Assuredly, the piracy issue in the mobile app development market is a lot bigger when compared to the PC and consoles gaming industry. Topping that off is the fact that the competition here, though strong, is not as violent as the mobile gaming industry.

Then there is the fact that the mainstream platforms are more than welcoming towards the same indie developers who went running towards mobile gaming with dreams of easy money all over their heads. For instance, Nintendo has slackened their approval process while Sony revoked it outright. Even the rigid Microsoft has had a change of hearts.

Lastly, I wouldn’t consider any hardcore gamer to actually switch to mobile gaming by banishing his consoles and his PC – that is just not how it works. Mobile gaming is an accessory, but PC and consoles are the real deal.

So yeah, that’s the sound of indie developers ditching mobile gaming to go back to PCs and Xbox Ones and PlayStation 4s that you hear.

By Sarmad Lillah

Sarmad is one of the more refined and cultured among us. His favorite game is Mario, and he once had dreams of going to plumbing school. Now he's 25, a finance major and having the time of his life writing about videogames.

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