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Garrett Fuller: Why Aren't There Any Mobile MMOs?

By Garrett Fuller on April 14, 2017 | Columns | Comments

Why Aren't There Any Mobile MMOs?

With mobile giants like Supercell tearing up the game space online, it is amazing that the mobile MMO market is so poor. I know what everyone wants to say, there are mobile MMOs. Yes, there are, however, it seems like for the massive amount of people who play games on their phones or tablets, the full potential of the market simply does not exist.

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First, let’s look at the flood of RPG titles that the mobile market maintains. Everything seems to get lost in the shuffle. I have tried many mobile RPGs and they are all just clones of each other. That or that are sequels to games which flood the same mechanics on a different skin. If this market is so booming, it is only because players have been force fed titles which simply lack creativity. Where is the creativity and open world game play?

Based on what you see on the app store, companies are producing these games extremely quickly. They are made to bring in a fast profit and then launch a sequel to drive the consumer into spending more. Few games have maintained a solid player base. The team that can pull that off and maintain a strong community on mobile will reap the rewards.

Part of the problem is mobile publishers, everything is geared towards the fast launch and raking in money. It seems like any online RPG experience is overshadowed by monetization.  Even the games that look appealing must compete on app store lists against already established titans. The marketing here to find a new mobile game is very difficult, many people even in the game industry are often looking for good titles. They simply never make it to the charts or are rarely shown on the front page of the store.

The app stores recommend games based on your previous purchases, but these don’t change often and are just giving you a list you already know.

So, now that we’ve looked at the problem. The solution is to have a company truly invest in an MMO experience on your phone. Something different that really does harness the power of mobile technology. It created properly, an MMO could take off and do well similar to Pokemon Go’s solid run on mobile. They need to give you reasons to log in and play your character on a daily basis. Perhaps add a crafting and trading interface that players can enjoy, and offer something like lunch time adventure groups for different time zones so players can connect. These are the best parts of mobile games and can truly be harnessed to bring a community together.

Overall, I remain hopeful for a strong MMO on mobile. There is a huge market for it and tons of potential. The problem is getting passed the flood of quick games coming up which eat up most of the app store. If and when a company plans to launch a full mobile MMO, they need to make sure the word gets out to the correct community. Once established, the game could grow into something solid and build a world we would play in for years to come. 

Garrett Fuller Garrett Fuller Editorials
Garrett Fuller has been playing MMOs since 1997. He originally joined MMORPG.com as a writer in 2005. In 2007 Garrett went on to handle Industry Relations for TenTonHammer.com. Then, in July 2009, Garrett happily rejoined his old team at MMORPG.com as the site's News Manager. Garrett lives in Hillsborough, NJ with his wife, son and daughter.

His column appears here every Wednesday.
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