“Designed for Mobile”: Old School RPGs remade and modified for Mobile Gaming is a good sign for great things to come.

Apple boasts the new iPad Pro has the same amount of power as an Xbox One S, the Pixel Slate runs solid Intel CPUs, Samsung’s Tab S4 runs with 6GB of Ram with strong Snapdragon 845 CPUs, and ARM chips have some such a long way they now compete with standard Intel SoCs.

What does all of this have in common? Well earlier at BlizCon, Diablo Immortal was announced as a serious addition in the franchise sitting between Diablo 2 and 3, but built entirely for mobile. The game so far has been praised online and I have also personally signed up for a demo on both Android and iOS. In recent weeks, Stardew Valley has also been added to a growing catalog of decent games, alongside the original Tomb Raider, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic a few years ago, Half Life & Portal on Android, Minecraft and the older Grand Theft Auto titles. 

As the years have gone on, the quality of what defines a decent game on mobile OSes has improved an advanced as the technology powering tablets and phones has caught up. Android users can emulate most DOS and older classic titles on tablets with at least a Snapdragon 821 on them. Still, however, there has been a slow move to bring decent games over to tablet hardware. Nintendo has even held off on a mobile strategy that expands is larger catalog due to focusing on their flagship product, the Switch.

Blizzard’s Diablo Immortal looks to be a strong push for more decent games on mobile

As an Avid gamer, I see that tablets can very well become another platform of developers to invest serious time on, rather than making the more “mobile” centric games we see at the minute like Fallout Shelter, the onslaught of Marvel games, knock off Assassins Creeds, Clash of Clans clones or mechanics that are explicitly made for touch controls and focus on microtransactions over decent gameplay.
There are many examples of titles that would work well on a touch-based slate, considering most popular tablets have controller support, developers only need to support MFI (made for iPhone/iPad) controllers on iOS or support external devices on Android. Even click adventure games like Runescape has found its way onto Mobile and is a complete hit in the adventure game lists.

However as the landscape still stands, if someone wants to play a video game and relax, their first instinct isn’t to pull out a tablet or smartphone; its to fire up your gaming pc or turn on a console.
Manufacturers have tried to expand the ability for people to game competitively on mobile or show developers there is reward in bringing larger budget games to touch devices (Motorola has made gaming pads for its Z series phone, there are ample “shells” and cases that add D-Pads and sticks to phones or smaller tablets, and even look at Vainglory, which is a MOBA made entirely for Mobile and is a smash hit as a competitor to Dota 2 & League of Legends), however between complicated control schemes, lack of budget as mentioned to invest more time into longer developed games and see more polished results; or simply just the lack of internal storage required to hold a full catalog of quality games, the progression has been slow for more AAA titles to land on mobile.
Fortnight is a prime example of what happens when a game studio wants to push their game further than the platform it originally launched on, and see how the game can handle on other platforms and push the boundary of what happens when a PC game lands on mobile CPUs.  

On the topic of internal storage, expandable storage options in phones are progressively getting more rarer as the year goes on. With Android lacking a clear ability to choose where certain apps are installed and install other apps to external storage, and iOS’ filesystem is not as useful as most Apple fans would like, there isn’t a clear current option for using things like USB Drives or external drives to install games to (like on Modern PCs and even consoles).
For the future of mobile gaming to really take off in a faster upwards tick, it will need one of the giants (*cough* looking at you Apple *couch*) to include options to install to other forms of direct storage, and not cloud storage, for any real progression to happen. 
Right now, we are stuck in a world of OK mobile games, and so many good other console & PC titles I would kill to have on mobile, many of which I would pay for again just to see on Mobile.

Final Fantasy on mobile is another great example of quality games adapted for mobile. Photo from here

Diablo Immortal stands to capture the Blizzard Audience and bring those who want more than Hearthstone card games onto mobile for a traditional RPG Experience. But we have yet to see how the game plays or handles on a variety of hardware, but being a Blizzard game, my hopes are high for a highly polished 1.0 at launch

Sam Toohey Written by:

Sam is a self taught Developer, focusing on Web Technologies and E-Commerce. He is also an avid writer, blogger and gamer. You can commonly see Sam toying around with web technologies or working on his Podcast, Markup.

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