The Rise of Mobile Gaming in 2022: New Ubisoft Mobile Games, Mobile Showcases, and More
Mobile games have grown an impressive amount, not just in how much money they rake in (Yahoo Finance pegged the global mobile gaming market in 2021 at $101.21 billion) but in their number and quality. Mobile gaming has transitioned from simple puzzles in the early aughts into a lucrative niche perfect for transmedia storytelling and capturing a wider audience. This shift in the industry hasn't gone unnoticed, and many are intent on capitalizing on their games on new screens. (This article won't even touch on how online comic hubs like Webtoons or Tapas are taking advantage of mobile gaming and transmedia storytelling with their comic adaptations-- but it felt worthwhile to mention that other moving gear in the industry!)
GameSpot held its first-ever game showcase, Swipe, on September 8th. While game showcases are nothing new (with plenty of publishers like Ubisoft hosting independent showcases to flex their IP roadmaps), Swipe focused solely on mobile games. You can look at all the games featured at Swipe, but a few items stuck out to me:
- For one, there was a whole trove of recognizable shooters with mobile conversions in the works: PUBG, COD Warzone, Rainbow Six, and The Division are heavy hitters with mobile games already out (with pending updates) or with mobile adaptations in the pipeline.
- Some heavy-hitter studios like Devolver Digital are crafting new content for mobile games. Their 2023 game 'Tumble Time' is a F2P puzzler that explores an entire Devolver Digital Universe-- if such a thing is possible. Coming from a classic, respected indie publisher, I'm curious to see how they handle the free game model VS a mobile-exclusive publisher.
Some gaming companies like Nintendo have been in the (mobile games) game for some time, with Pokemon Go and Animal Crossing Pocket Camp still going strong. Other game companies are just beginning to lay out their roadmaps for mobile games and are excitedly joining the mobile landscape. Ubisoft is one of these companies, with three new mobile-exclusive projects set to publish in partnership with Netflix. Ubisoft has had a partnership with Netflix since 2020, with Netflix eager to bolster their fledgling gaming division and Ubisoft keen on getting into the transmedia market. These three mobile games will be available to Netflix subscribers with no ads or microtransactions. The games are:
- An unnamed Valiant Hearts sequel-- Valiant Hearts is a WW1 puzzler.
- An unnamed Mighty Quest sequel-- Mighty Quest is a roguelike hack-and-slash.
- An original Assassin's Creed title-- currently under the title 'Codename Jade.'
- It's good to note that this game won't be like the AC mobile game, Rebellion. Jade will be an open-world AC game based in China in 215 BCE where players can reportedly create their own Assassin for the first time in the game's history. (You can watch the official Ubisoft trailer here.)
I wanted to ask the community: do you play mobile games? What are your thoughts on this emerging avenue in the larger games industry?