Dark or Light
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Logo

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Warner Brothers Interactive | Official Site


Average User Rating

9 Votes

Login to cast your rating!

Gwent On Mobile: Features It Needs To Compete

By Joseph Bradford on September 10, 2019 | Editorials | 0

Gwent is one of those card games that helped contribute to why I’ve never actually finished The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. During my journey to find Ciri and deal with the Wild Hunt, I found myself sitting at a table, delaying the fate of the world to sling some cards around a tavern.

So when CD Projekt Red came out with a standalone version of Gwent a few years back, I found myself sucked back in initially. It was fun to build decks out of these wonderfully illustrated cards, battle random people online or with friends to see who a better player was, and just dig deeper into the strategy that I only scratched the surface of in the mainline game. However, my interest waned as the months went on, as it became just another app I had to sit in front of my PC or console to enjoy.

I love playing card games. I play Friday Night Magic with my friends and family every week (Control FTW), and I’ve been really big into Hearthstone. However, I only play the latter on my phone. Very rarely do I log onto my PC and play Blizzard’s CCG.

So when CDPR mentioned earlier this year they would be releasing Gwent on iOS and Android in the fall, I couldn’t help but be excited. Finally I can play this excellent card game on the go. I could get a match in while lounging around, watching The West Wing for the 17th time. I might even be able to get a few friends who don’t have PCs or consoles but enjoy playing games on their phone to test it out. However, if not implemented well, Gwent could crash and burn on arrival. Here are a few things CDPR must do to ensure a good port on iOS.

Well-designed UI

Taking a PC game and porting it directly to the mobile screen may not work when you consider how some elements on a PC screen can look distorted or scrunched on a mobile screen. Going from a 24” monitor to a 7” phone screen isn’t just a matter of resizing an overlay to fit. The UI needs to be well designed to ensure that everything represented is clearly articulated to the player.

Given the nature of Gwent’s board versus other card games, with its various zones for card types, it might feel cluttered compared to Hearthstone or even The Elder Scrolls Legends. However, with great UI design, these issues could simply be non-factors with every aspect of the board and your game clearly represented to the player.

Cross-Play And Cross-Buy

While Gwent currently supports cross-play on Xbox One and PC as well as PS4 to PC (there is no Xbox-PS4 cross play), as it stands now it doesn’t support cross-buy according to its FAQ page. For Gwent to take off and be the force it can be, it needs to support this crucial feature.

This may not be possible, as it would require the support from of both Microsoft and Sony, as well as Apple on iOS devices. Currently the only account that can be transferred are the UWP installs to the GOG version of the PC title. In order to make the mobile environment viable, CDPR needs to figure out a way to ensure you can pick and play your current decks on the go. Additionally, any progress you make on the phone while sitting at a bus stop or on your lunch break at work should be eagerly waiting for you on your desired platform once home.

While Gwent might work as a stand-alone experience on mobile, it won’t have nearly the draw it could with cross-buy enabled on the platforms. Hopefully this is something the team at CDPR can accomplish before it launches this fall.

Responsive Gameplay

Games today are pushing the boundaries of GPUs and systems daily. Card games, while they may seem relatively simple by comparison, are no exception. These games still need to be eye-catching enough that it gets a player interested long before they know what the cards themselves do. Gwent needs to look good – but just as importantly it needs to have stellar performance on mobile.

Because Android phones have such a wide range of devices, each at varying levels of cost and capability, this will be tricky to ensure a smooth experience on every device. However, with iOS it should have an easier time thanks to its standardized ecosystem. While there are different generations of iPhone and iPad to consider, its not nearly the range that Android devices have.

The gameplay on screen needs to be responsive. It needs to feel good to the player. Moving a card can’t look like a slideshow. And online play, especially over a cellular network, needs to have the proper netcode so it feels like you’re playing cards with someone across a table from you, not across the world.

A Full-Featured Port

Gwent on iOS and Android cannot feel like second fiddles to the main three platforms. It needs to be a full-featured port. It needs to have all the bells and whistles like the mainline titles, as well as all the functionality of the PC, Xbox or PS4 platforms. There may very well be people who only play Gwent on their iPhone. It can’t feel like a compromised and diminished experience because of this.

Additionally, feature parity with the other platforms is a must. This shouldn’t be an issue as cross-play, and hopefully cross-buy, will require updates to deploy at the same time across all platforms to ensure everyone is running on the same versions of the card game. When a new expansion is announced, there can’t be a delay on which platforms get it either, everything needs to release at the same time to ensure that platform parity. Doing this will make the mobile versions of Gwent feel like fully-fledged versions a player can really make some noise on. However, if the port feels compromised and isn’t supported as quickly as the other platforms, it could mean that initial adopters quickly move onto another game, or back to Hearthstone.


Gwent can be a wonderful experience, if done well. CDPR is well within their power to do so as well, and that could be why we just haven’t heard too much about the iOS/Android ports since their March announcement. However, as fall starts in full swing and as Gwent’s esports league takes off in competition this month, it might just be time to start showing off what fans and developer alike hope will be the next killer app on iTunes or Google Play.


Joseph Bradford

Joseph has been writing or podcasting about games in some form since about 2012. Having written for multiple major outlets such as IGN, Playboy, and more, Joseph started writing for MMORPG in 2015. When he's not writing or talking about games, you can typically find him hanging out with his 10-year old or playing Magic: The Gathering with his family. Also, don't get him started on why Balrogs *don't* have wings. You can find him on Twitter @LotrLore