It feels like there are two distinct sides to the gaming industry nowadays. One of them is about making gaming hardware faster, stronger, and capable of delivering more pixels per second right into the waiting eyeballs of its audience. The other is all about play - about exploration and discovery and, most of all, about fun. The PlayStation 5 reveal definitely fits into one of those categories. Mobile gaming, on the other hand, sits comfortably in both.
You probably want something like proof now, since I made a large, all-encompassing statement. That's cool, because that's what I'm going to provide. Just to be clear though, I love gaming - it doesn't matter to me where it happens, so long as you're having a lovely time. You can do what you want, and the only proviso is that I can too. Sorted? Sorted.
Take a look at the games we've been covering on Pocket Gamer over the last few months. The Elder Scrolls: Blades has taken up a good chunk of our time, but dig deeper and you'll find all sorts of amazing titles. We looked at Gigantic X, a big, flashy AAA brawler. We looked at Photographs, a much more personal, experience-focused game. We've talked about bit-art horror games and beautiful, abstract platformers. We've yabbered on about people-free team shooters and match-stuff cutesy head-scratchers.
Every week, we find new things to enjoy in the world of mobile gaming - new ideas, revised concepts, brilliant moments. And that's been the same for the entirety of my time in the industry - if you're looking for regular innovation, and some of the most intriguing gaming experiences, then you head to the App Store or Google Play Store. You might disagree with me, and that's fine, but I've played more mobile games than most people on the planet, so I'm gonna go right ahead and keep talking.
Now, look at the release schedule for PS4. In April it looks like you're getting remasters, sequels, and a couple of zombie games - one of which is a tie-in to a movie (or a book, I guess). Roll the calendar further on and you're looking at another Star Wars game, a remastered archaic Final Fantasy title, and The Surge 2. There'll be a FIFA, a Madden, and a Call of Duty too. It's predictable, it's safe, and it has to be.
A safe bet
Console gaming is built around bankers - games that are guaranteed to earn back the money it costs to make them and then some. That means a few massive licenses, a few games trying to emulate those massive licenses, and an indie scene that's better served elsewhere. That's not to say there's no room for innovation, or that there are no talented people working in the AAA end of the industry - but it does mean the paths they get to follow are much, much thinner than they are on mobile.
There's nothing wrong with mainstream gaming per-se, but it's like the mainstream film industry - a lot of things feel like they're built by committee. It's a problem we see in mobile gaming too - sometimes it feels like you can't move for the number of Clash Royale clones available, but that image of free to play shovelware just isn't true, no matter how often it gets thrown in our direction.
Every month mobile gaming gets a year's worth of console releases, and every year when it comes time to think of the best games that came out over the last 12 months, we often end up getting in heated arguments about what should make it onto our GOTY lists.
I realise for the most part I'm preaching to the choir here - y'all know how ace mobile gaming can be, that's why you're here. But we can all be evangelists for a better way of gaming, one that's built around joy instead of cold hard cash. The PlayStation 5 sounds impressive, but everything does on paper (except the WiiU, which always sounded like lunacy).
Instead of getting excited about the abstract numerical possibilities presented to you years ahead of their release, why don't we get excited about what's in front of us right now. Mobile is one of the best spaces for experimentation and new ideas that gaming has had in a long while - and all in the palm of your hand. What's not to love about that?Click here to check out more opinion pieces in our features section