Over the past couple of days we've seen two massive Android phones announced over at MWC. There's Samsung's Galaxy S9, and Sony's Xperia XZ2. Both of them are pretty impressive in terms of stats, and both companies seem to be focusing (if you'll excuse the pun) on releasing phones with impressive cameras.
But if you ask me, neither of the devices has the chops to knock the iPhone off the top spot, especially when it comes to gaming. Why's that you ask? Well give me a moment and I'll explain exactly what I mean.
The things that the Switch does so successfully are things that I've been saying mobile gaming has needed to do for a while now. It just so happens that Nintendo has got there first. But that doesn't mean that the mobile gaming world doesn't have things it can learn from the Switch. Things like these.
The Overwatch League is a pretty big deal. It's an attempt to really push eSports into the mainstream, by turning them into, well, regular sports. But slightly less sweaty. It's a lavish affair with teams from all around the world, and more fanfare than your average LAN party.
Now, currently mobile dominates the world in terms of revenue share. It accounts for just over 40% of all the money spent on games. That's the biggest single slice of the pie, and around ten percent more than console gaming makes. So why doesn't mobile gaming have its own Overwatch League?
If there's one thing that Pokemon GO did well, it was bringing people together. I still remember seeing groups of people around the marina near where I live in the weeks after the game came out, all of them trying to grab some water Pokemon. There was a community, a bunch of disparate people brought together to catch some make believe monsters.
Even recently, with the game losing some of that initial wow factor, events have pulled players together to try and catch them all. Which is what makes Niantic's decision to pull support for the game from iPhones and iPads that can't run iOS 11 all the more perplexing.
The community matters
Games like Pokemon GO thrive on their community. I mean, when you strip it down to the bare bones, it's really just a map with a few shiny trinkets spread around it. But the added competition of real-life players, of pitting your training skills against your friends, is part of what made the game sing from the off.
And now the step has been taken to hobble some of that community. To basically take the game away from them. Of course, I know that a lot of people will won't care. They'll have a device they can still play the game on, but the galling thing is the precedent that this is setting.
Some new games already won't run on the 6S, which came out in 2015. And that shows how big a problem serious game players could end up facing in the years to come. We can't all afford to update to the newest iPhone every time it comes out, but lagging just a couple of years behind shouldn't present such a massive problem.
More than a game console?
Yes, the iPhone is more than a device for playing games on, but look at the lifespans of videogame consoles. In the case of the PS3 and Xbox 360, they stretched into double figures. Seriously. When the Xbox 360 first came out, the iPhone didn't even exist. And since the iPhone came out just over a decade ago, we've seen 18 different models.
Bear in mind this is a game you can play on Android 4.4, which came out in 2013. If you're on an Apple device, you need to be running an OS that only landed last year. So here's a final thought. Communal games like Pokemon GO are some of the easiest to unravel.
It's not about losing huge chunks of players, but just a few here and there. When meet ups get smaller, people are less interested in going. And if your phone can't run the game any more, then you're definitely not going to bother. While there are obviously reasons behind Niantic's decision, this feels like the first cracks starting to show in the great gaming edifice that was Pokemon GO.
It's always tempting to have the best thing. As game players we're almost conditioned to chase the biggest processor, the most power, the next generation. Even mobile gaming isn't immune to this push to progress - there are games on the App Store that don't work on an iPhone 6 any more.
Which means the iPhone X should be the device at the top of all of our want lists right? It's get the sharpest processor, it's as future proof as an Apple device ever gets. It's the top of the toppest range of smartphones. We should all be clamouring to get one.
Let's not thwack around the undergrowth here, Nintendo has done alright when it comes to mobile games. Super Mario Run is probably one of the best auto-runners on the App Store, and you can see why by clicking here for our review. And Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp and Fire Emblem Heroes are both solid experiences.
Now re-read that first paragraph. I just described two Nintendo games as “solid experiences”. That's not something that usually happens with the big N's output. Sure it might not throw out games left right and centre, but the ones that do come out are almost always top of their class.
2017 was a great year... for games at least. Putting together list of 10 of the best mobile games out there was somehow even harder than it was last year. After playing 350+ games this year and reviewing 213 of them for 148Apps though, I've somehow been able to put together a list of ten games that were my absolute favorites from this year. Check them out below.
With the exception of Vainglory, few mobile games have managed to make their mark in the world of mainstream esports. However, 2017 was a pretty eventful year for competitive mobile games, and many have set their eyes on 2018 as the year that mobile games will finally have their breakthrough in esports.
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
We're going to try something new here at 148Apps. Each week, we'll take a look back at a game taht might have been out for a while, but that we feel deserves a bit more recognition. It's all part of our mission to make sure that you're aware of the best mobile games out there.
This week we're shining the spotlight on Love Nikki-Dress UP Queen, an incredibly addictive fashion game that has a lot more going on than first appearances might suggest. This game is hugely popular in its native Japan, and its audience is growing steadily bigger in the west as well. It is a game largely about fashion, as you travel the world to schmooze with stylists and designers and collect a huge clothing collection. The game has a huge community, where you can compete against other players and help others build up their style. Here are three reasons why you should check out Love Nikki if you haven't already.
Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, Nintendo's latest mobile game set to arrive at the end of this month, was announced in a Nintendo Direct a few weeks ago, and it has folks quite excited. It's a complete Animal Crossing game that you'll be able to play on your iPhone or Android.
The game's free-to-play system did draw some attention when it was first revealed, but we're here to tell you that there isn't much to worry about, especially after having played a good bit of the game in soft launch. Here's why.
At last, we'll be receiving some news about the mobile version of Animal Crossing in a special Nintendo Director at11 PM on October 24. There's been little word on the game since it was first announced, having been met with a series of delays. Fans have been impatient for more Animal Crossing, especially since we haven't seen a new game in the series since New Leaf launched in 2013.
With Animal Crossing mobile news on the horizon, let's take a moment to look back on what we know about the game so far, and how that might come to play in tomorrow's announcement.
It’s exciting to see Nintendo delving into the mobile sphere, regardless of whether it’s to give fans another platform to enjoy their fans or simply a sound business venture. Two of the company's announced mobile games have finally come to fruition, but they were slightly soiled by iffy free-to-play mechanics and other foibles. Nintendo’s mobile future was called into question, but now things are looking a little sunnier with the latest Fire Emblem Heroes update.
Pokémon GO is certainly not without its problems, but there's no denying the incredible impact it left on the past year. Upon release, the game stirred up a phenomenon few had seen before in mobile gaming. Pokémon GO smashed records in a dozen ways. Trainers walked a combined 8.7 billion kilometers -- enough to reach Pluto. Just think of the amazing advances we'd make in space travel if we could somehow harness that dedication! Pokémon GO shook things up in a big way this year, but it now faces an uncertain future. In this time of reflection before the new year, let's take a look back at the ways Pokémon GO left its mark.
Even as we move further and further into the digital age, the appeal of trading cards is still understandable. There's a natural inclination for all of us to want to collect something, even if the expense and physical space taken up by small pieces of cardboard is more difficult for some people to fathom.
Topps understands both parts of this dichotomy, which is why it's been pushing aggressively into the digital trading card space with apps like NFL HUDDLE and the more recent UFC KNOCKOUT. Now the company has turned its attention to the world of sports entertainment, releasing the WWE SLAM app this week.
Fans of the previous apps will find this one all too comfortable, since many of its core features are the same. For everyone else who's a fan of the WWE, trading cards, or both, here are a few reasons why you might want to check it out.
Though the focus of the latest update to slither.iowas the new opportunity to match wits against A.I. snakes instead of human opponents, something else even more important was added to the massively popular game too. Two new control schemes made their debut, giving players a choice of three different ways to wriggle their way to the top of the leaderboard.
After intense testing (re: playing a bunch of slither.io and bugging my children to do the same), I'm come to the conclusion that while everyone is allowed an opinion, there's only one correct answer to which one of the control schemes works best. Let's examine them in turn from best to worst.