Epic CEO Tim Sweeney, speaking to MCV in the latest issue, believes there’s a fundamental change going on in mobile gaming. That while the craze for casual games is fading, more serious games will take its place and consistently top the charts.
“When smartphones came out, everybody started playing casual games like Angry Birds, but over the years, most people have gotten bored of those experiences, and they’re no longer casual gamers. They’ve either migrated to not being gamers at all, or come up to being core gamers. And the core gamers now expect bigger and more engaging experiences.”
And of course those more engaging experiences include Epic’s own Fortnite, along with games such as the mobile version of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds.
“These are games with PC and console heritage at the top of the mobile charts and these will go up and down for the next few months as things are tuned. But by the end of the year you’re gonna see predominantly major games for serious gamers being at the top of the charts and staying there forever. I think this is the future of mobile and it’s not going to change.”
Though that’s not where it all began, Sweeney tells us: “This whole transition actually happened in Korea about three years ago. Since then, the majority of the mobile game industry is serious games for gamers – casual is a small minority. This happened as people’s tastes changed.”
And looking further back, Sweeney equates the shift with the arcade game boom. “You know, these things go in waves, so back in the 1980s when arcade machines came out, for about two years, everyone was a gamer. Men and women, kids of all ages, boys and girls. But over time, people got tired of that and they either moved up or moved out. The same thing has happened with smartphones."
It’s an intriguing proposition, that mobile games are losing their mass market appeal and players are either stopping playing, or moving onto more complex titles – which means more opportunities for cross-platform development.