The trend of PC MMORPGs making mobile spinoffs seems to be continuing. Just this week Netmarble revealed their first ever trailed for a mobile version of Tera (the action MMORPG from En Masse / Blue Hole) called Tera M. Oddly enough though, Blue Hole isn’t self developing mobile Tera. Instead they licensed the game to Netmarble, which specializes in mobile games. One of the most successful mobile games in the world right now is Lineage 2: Revolution which is a mobile version of Lineage 2 developed by Netmarble. You’d think NCSoft would self-develop a game from one of their flagship franchises, but apparently there’s more money to be made via licensing. This ends up being more profitable because NCSoft can license Lineage 2 to Netmarble and ALSO develop their own mobile game as well, so they essentially have 2 shots at success instead of just 1.
Mobile Tera isn’t the only new mobile MMORPG revealed recently though. NCSoft launched their own mobile version of Aion this week called Aion: Legions of War which is essentially a turned based RPG with stage based progression. Players complete stages with their heroes and then upgrade their gear in a lobby like screen (similar to Heroes of Incredible Tales from Nexon). I don’t think we’ve seen the end of PC MMORPGs launching mobile versions of their successful franchises. Even MMOs that have failed are turning to mobile for a chance at success. Red5’s Firefall was a financial disaster and the game shut down, but in its shut down announcement Red5 announced that they’re working a mobile version of the game. Even Bless, which cost Neowiz over $60 million and has been a complete flop, has announced a mobile version called Bless Mobile. Heck even Soul Worker Online which NEVER officially launched in the West and only recently launched in South Korea launched a mobile spinoff called Soul Worker Mobile.
I don’t think I can emphasize enough just how important mobile seems to be for the entire MMO industry going forward. The most successful Western MMORPG launch of recent memory for example, Albion Online, is also working on a mobile client for their game. This example is a bit different from the other ones I talked about so far because the mobile version of Albion will take place in the same world. It’s literally the same game with a mobile client. RuneScape, which is one of the oldest MMORPGs and also one of the longest running also announced a mobile client which is set to launch later this year. Even if a game doesn’t launch a mobile spin off, a mobile client is always possible. Not every game lends itself to mobile play though. I personally couldn’t imagine playing something like Black Desert Online or Elder Scrolls Online on a small phone screen, but I think there’s a lot of games out there with point and click gameplay that could do really well on mobile. I wonder what the next big mobile franchise spinoff or mobile client announcement will be.