Not long ago I previewed Black Desert Mobile which is a mobile version of Black Desert Online. I was surprised at how great it looked and how well it played on my mobile phone. With more and more MMO’s popping up in the mobile space, I feel like it’s finally time that Guild Wars transitions to the mobile space. Fans may be skeptical, but I’m right, and here’s why.
Nary nine months ago NCSoft West CEO Songyee Yoon surprised us all when it was announced that, due to declining revenue, there will be delays and cancellations of projects in both the PC and Mobile space, which ended in hefty layoffs for ANet. Whether or not Guild Wars 2 was slated, or is still planned to hit the mobile space, it is impractical to think that developers wouldn’t want to capitalize on the mobile markets meteoric rise in revenues.
Take Black Desert for example. In a recent earnings statement, Pearl Abyss reported that revenues from the Mobile version of Black Desert outpaced the PC version by three times. ArenaNets ongoing development has been taking longer, while their revenues have been largely stagnant. Meanwhile they are sitting on a gold mine of classes, lore, and developmental experience that upended the multiplayer online market when they released Guild Wars in 2005. There has been a lot of rumors surrounding where the Guild Wars franchise may go, with the most likely destination landing ANets franchise on consoles, I feel like that would be a mistake.
Numbers just don’t lie. As much as we would like to believe that the PC MMO will always stay relevant, and for many champion titles it most likely will, but more MMO’s are noticing the substantial financial impacts that mobile games have on their bottom line. Jagex and RuneScape are great examples of this. Since the release of RuneScape Mobile Jagex has seen substantial growth, and over five million installs on both Android and iOS. These are the kinds of numbers that even the most popular MMO’s can’t ignore.
Many people believe that Guild Wars 1 would be the ideal candidate to come to a mobile space. I agree with that partially, simply because the hub based format, simplicity in movement and diverse skill set not only makes it a great candidate for mobile play, but there is also a large fan base that wants to see a resurgence of Guild Wars 1’s gameplay. I don’t hate the idea of seeing Guild Wars 1 on mobile, but there are limitations to what makes sense on a mobile platform. Unfortunately, one of those limitations is wading through a lot of tiny text boxes when attempting to set up a viable skill deck.
No, rather what we need is a variant of the Guild Wars franchise that is built specifically for mobile. No port of either game would work exceptionally well. Guild Wars 1 is a great title, but even in comparison to Black Desert Mobile the scope would be too restrictive to truly compete. Guild Wars 2 would be fantastic to see, but there are so many systems and combat mechanics that just wouldn’t translate well in the mobile space. Either choice would still be better than seeing ArenaNet continue the revenue slide. With nothing but possibilities on the horizon, I hope Guild Wars somehow finds its way to mobile, for both their sake, and for ours.