Mobile Master Race: It’s Not Actually a Race

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Over the last few years, gaming has made a huge leap into the mainstream via mobile. Video games are no longer solely found within the realm of consoles or PC, privy only to those willing to shell out the cash for a gaming device. Now even your most gaming-inept uncle is getting in on the action, playing that new “Flappy Fella” on his “the iPhones.” America has brought democracy to yet another divided people.

I believe we can all agree that gaming becoming more pervasive in society is a good thing. Even having to endure the occasional request from your mother to play Words With Friends, the negatives remain minimal. Now it’s your parents that want to finish up “one last game” before dinner. With more and more people indulging in mobile gaming, more and more developers are coming over to the mobile side.  We truly have reached a perfect balance here, haven’t we? If only.

One problem with mobile gaming is that some developers understand that their audience may only turn on their game to pass a few quick minutes on the train or during lunch. They understand that each of those few moments represent an opportunity for them to get money out of their players, and many are willing to pay that price. Thus, pay to win was born, and along with it a glorious new mobile master race. Those few solitary gamers who have plenty of disposable income, invest in the latest devices to run their favorite mobiles games like silky smooth baby butter, and a penchant to dominate on the go. This can sometimes leave some of the more traditional gamers in an awkward position where skill and dedication are simply not enough to win.

There was a time when being the best simply meant that someone was actually better than his or her peers when it came to playing the game. The scrawny little kid from down the street who spent every waking hour practicing his Dhalsim combos was the undisputed king of the sticks. Unfortunately, now that kid can’t afford to be the best in this mobile arena. Perhaps if he’d spent less time practicing and more time learning a trade, he could land a job that would pay him enough to buy his digital kingdom back. That’s neither here nor there. It’s the season of the whale, Scrawny Steve.

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The question is whether or not this is a fundamental problem with mobile gaming itself, or just a small sub sect of the mobile gaming scene that facilitates these tactics. The argument could be made that there are simply two types of players within the same realm and they should be matched up against each other if they are advancing at the same pace as their peers. Unfortunately, the leaderboards of any of these games scream of the contrary. David probably wouldn’t have slew Goliath if Goliath had the gems to purchase a helmet and some extra lives.

The playing field is not always even, and that is something that traditional gamers are having a tough time understanding. These games are designed to facilitate fun, but they are also designed to make money. Those who are willing to spend the money are going to make it further faster, but that doesn’t always mean they’ll reign forever and it doesn’t mean that all developers are building the game just for them. The ones who play the game simply to buy their way to victory, to see their names atop the leaderboards, don’t always stick around for the long haul. They will eventually move on to the next conquest, to blow their wad on some new venture. The core gamers who really enjoy the game are the ones that are ultimately the focus, and any studio that cares about its product will care about the core gamers.  The mobile master race is a fickle brood, so don’t worry when you find it hard to make progress when playing at a human pace. There is no shame in sticking to that even playing field and not indulging in an ultra-consumer play style.

 

 

Jon Malloy

Jon Malloy

Senior Writer & Editor at What's Jump?
Jon is a writer and co-founder of “What’s Jump?” With a passion for gaming, comedy, and discussion, Jon works to bring his unique views, along with a bit of humor, to his writing. With a background in information technology and development, his interests lean toward the newest trends and technological advancements. Reporting for “What’s Jump?” he is at home both behind the scenes and in front of the camera.
Jon Malloy
Jon Malloy

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