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Mobile Games Forum 2015: The stagnation facing mobile gaming

The mobile gaming market has hit a period of “inertia,” according to the CEO of Fireproof studios Barry Meade.

While the mobile ecosystem once offered developers an unparalleled level of freedom, the long term dominance of a select few apps has seen the growth of mobile gaming begin to plateau.

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Back in 2012, Fireproof released its first video game, The Room, to worldwide success and critical acclaim. The title, which cost just £70,000 to make and just six months to develop, was named iPad Game of the Year, but could not have been made by an independent developer for the console market.

However, Mead says that the opportunities that mobile devices offer to smaller publishers are being eroded away. The market has not moved on much creatively in the past two or three years, with developers either experiencing huge runaway success of the likes of Candy Crush Saga or complete failure. In his view, that “does not represent a healthy market.”

A list of the top grossing iOS games, for example, is dominated by the usual names, with Clash of Clans and Candy Crush Saga both experiencing long runs at the top.

While Meade was happy to praise both Apple and Google’s efforts to publicise the best games regardless of their marketing budget, he did add that the chart system could be modified. In particular, he claims that the grossing chart featured on both the App Store and Google Play does little to help direct consumers to the best games and instead merely reinforces the stranglehold of already popular apps.

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Perhaps the introduction of new technologies will encourage a more innovative approach to game development. Wearables, which are predicted to experience rapid growth in 2015, as well as smart TVs both offer potential enhancements to the mobile gaming landscape, but these technologies are still emerging and will not offer a mature, established market for some years.