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Mobile vs. Console - Is There Really Any Reason to Argue?

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Posted by: David Sanchez

For some reason, people--mostly mobile developers and analysts--like to constantly bring up the idea that mobile gaming is the top choice in the video game industry. These individuals believe that console gamers would be willing to give up their favorite ways of playing games just so they can game on their cellphones. The truth is that will never happen, and the console gaming circle is stronger than ever with franchises such as Uncharted, Gears of War, and Mario.

There is a market for mobile gaming, however. While this market consists largely of casual players who really only need smaller gaming experiences that they can play in short bursts, it's no secret that plenty of "traditional" gamers also spend a few coins here and there purchasing mobile games so they can play on the go. Mobile is a platform that's full of so many different experiences that it really opens the door for different types of individuals to enjoy.

Variety: Different gaming experiences across different platforms so that there's something for everyone. Sadly, people are still pissed.

So I have to ask, why can't we have a happy medium? It genuinely upsets me when I read about how this analyst thinks console gaming will cease to exist by this year, or how that developer wants to make money off a Nintendo franchise by creating a game for mobile devices. The truth is these people want to believe what they're saying, because they want to believe that they can sit at the top of the gaming industry world, or that they will be able to make some money off a franchise like Mario.

Yes, in the end it comes down to the money. These mobile devs can spin it any way they want, but ultimately, they say they want a series like Mario on the iPhone or Android because they want to be the ones Nintendo calls on to develop the game, thus raking in crazy amounts of cash because people--millions of people--will buy Super Mario Mobile.

And hey, that's fine! Some people will argue that Nintendo should make mobile games. It would certainly help the company out when platforms such as the Wii and 3DS go through dry spells like they're currently going through. The mobile install base is so massive, and Mario is such a recognizable series, that people would pay money to play Mario on iOS and Android devices. Unfortunately for those people, Nintendo has repeatedly stated that it has no intentions of ever publishing a mobile game.

Will this ever happen? The debate continues.

Personally, I'm fine with that. I like my Nintendo experiences on Nintendo consoles and handhelds. I like using the Wii Remote and Nunchuk. I'm a big fan of the more traditional controller, as well. I also really enjoy the sweet combination of stylus, touch screen, and face buttons that portables such as the DS so effortlessly provide. Aside from personal taste, though, I'm not the biggest fan of change--Nintendo has been making console and handheld games since I can remember, and I would very much like for it to stay that way.

That said, we can have a happy medium. Despite the fact that some mobile devs want console gaming to die and some console gamers want nothing to do with mobile, there's a sweet spot for all parties involved. First and foremost, analysts need to stop saying that mobile gaming will take over. Not only does this piss gamers off, but it's a false statement. Think about this for a second: Console video games have been relevant since the '80s, and since that time, the industry has exploded to heights no one could have ever imagined. Are we, the console gamers who love the medium so much, willing to give that up in favor of mobile gaming? Absolutely not.

Now let's take a look at mobile gaming. This medium hasn't been around for too long, but in the short time that we've seen games make their way to iOS and Android devices, more individuals have gotten interested in the medium, and a boom of sorts has created mass mainstream appeal. Games such as Angry Birds have provided fun and quick experiences for people with mobile devices to enjoy on the go. Franchises such as Tetris and Pac-Man have made a successful transition from console to mobile. Titles such as Infinity Blade have given more traditional gamers a reason to be excited about an iOS game. There's plenty of solid content there for the individuals who want it.

The Infinity Blade series brings a special type of gameplay experience to mobile platforms.

The console and mobile gaming industries are two powerhouses, but they're powerhouses that some individuals would argue cater to a different crowd. While there are certainly people who like to check out games on both fronts, most people are divided between the two. I know people who only play mobile games and never touch a console such as the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3. I also know people who love Call of Duty and Super Smash Bros., and these folks could care less about playing something like Angry Birds. Then there are those who enjoy both, and there's nothing wrong with that.

I like to think about the whole mobile vs. console thing much like I think about the whole comic books vs. movies thing: They are two very different types of experiences, each with their own install and fan bases, but that doesn't mean certain people can't like both, and it certainly doesn't mean that you have to like one just because you like the other. Mobile gaming will very likely never be something I enjoy, but it is a growing industry. Console gaming, on the other hand, is a medium that has cemented its strong fan base, and it's not going anywhere. Ever. Both experiences are there for the individuals who want to enjoy them, so let's just stop arguing and accept the fact that neither will ever be obsolete, and that both provide something for their respective fans.

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