Despite not playing many mobile games myself, I’ve seen the writing on the wall. Mobile is the future of gaming. This became abundantly clear to me after seeing a list of the most profitable online games on the PC and comparing the data to the top grossing mobile games. League of Legends made about $1.6 billion in revenue in 2015 and is still the top grossing game, but if you exclude League of Legends from the list, Clash of Clans on mobile takes the #1 spot at $1.3 billion. The growth of mobile gaming is simply staggering. Games like Monster Strike are vastly out earning well known titles like World of Tanks and Counter-Strike: GO. It’s not just about today’s numbers either.
The more time I spend reading MMO news, the more it becomes clear that game developers are shifting their focus towards mobile. Gone are the days of $200M AAA blockbusters like Star Wars: The Old Republic and Final Fantasy XIV. Eastern companies known for free to play games like Nexon and Snail Games are investing heavily into mobile. Snail Games doesn’t even talk about Age of Wushu anymore. They’re focused on Age of Wushu Dynasty. Arc Games doesn’t care about Forsaken World anymore, they care about Forsaken World Mobile. In fact, Nexon just recently announced Atlantica Heroes – a mobile action RPG inspired by Atlantica Online. The MMORPG Atlantica Heroes is based on is in dire need of love and attention from Nexon, but Nexon knows there the future is and that’s mobile. In fact, they already have a handful of mobile games, but none of them have been a smash hit yet. Nexon will make a killing with their upcoming Dungeon Fighter Online mobile game though, as the PC MMORPG is the most popular MMORPG in the world. I suspect a mobile version will make bank. On a side note, there’s already a Dungeon Fighter-esque game available called Traincrasher from Softmax. It’s totally a Dungeon Fighter clone too, hah.
The Mobile MMORPG story isn’t about the current crop of games rocking the top grossing list. There are countless up and comers like Crusaders Quest, Soccer Spirits, and Heroes of Incredible Tales. There are literally countess free to play mobile RPGs out there that are slowly replacing the PC MMORPG market. Even though many of these games don’t have persistent worlds, a bunch still do. Interestingly enough though, most of the mega popular games in the U.S. are developed in the West. A game like Vainglory for example which is considered the most polished mobile MOBA is developed in the West. The top grossing mobile game in the world is developed in Europe – Clash of Clans. Asian mobile, more specifically Japanese mobile games, are extremely successful too. Puzzle and Dragon makes over $650M a year!
Despite my lack of enthusiasm for most of these mobile games, some of them are starting to come together nicely and are resembling their PC counterparts. We’re starting to get full fledged MMORPGs on mobile that aren’t gimmicky and are actually feature rich. Regardless of what I think though, mobile is here to stay.