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A Question - Mobile Gaming - How do You get Your Money's Worth?

What is it about a mobile game that makes it worth the money? The cost, and more importantly, patterns and length of play are radically different from the normal video game. As is the accessibility and times at which you can use your mobile. And while I have no research to back it up, I can tell that the demographic is also much more widely spread than the traditional VG.

In a emerging genre of games that is fighting to take center stage, how do You (yes, you!) get your money's worth? When, as a Star Traders RPG fan commented, a new game costs less than a cup of coffee, how do you know that you got enough for your money? Is it time played, amount of fun, hours invested, replay-ability, the fact that you can come back to it months later and still be engaged? When there is an XBox or iPad a few feet away, as some Star Traders RPG fans have commented, and they find themselves sitting with their Android trying to take the galaxy by storm on what some have described as "amateur graphics" ...

How does that compare to a cup of coffee? I usually down a cup of coffee in 10 minutes or less (or it gets cold), and I am still trying to put Star Traders RPG down after 3 months, ... it just stays hot!

Are there certain genres you gravitate toward? Do you play casual, and keep the games around on your phone? Do you delete and check back in months later?


  1. Well having a "dud" platform (WebOS on my Palm Pre), at least as far as app store options, I have somewhat limited selection compared to Android/Apple App stores. I'll ashamedly admit I mostly play blackjack and the angry birds demo, having moved on from checkers. Plan to get android soon though...

    Now, about popularity of gaming on a mobile phone platform, even when more "advanced" options are available such as PC/XBox/PS3/iPad. All of these devices are usually shared resources. Even the "personal" computer is not really personal, and often shared by family/friends, esp when there is only 1 PC and several family members wanting to play games ;) That is where the mobile phone is different. I'd say that current cell phone culture has the one (or even multiple) devices per person model. In that sense, these devices are truly "personal". They are an extension of one's person, in the same way that a wrist watch is. Someone might occasionally ask to borrow your phone if theirs is dead or some other temporary sharing model, but by and large the only user of a phone is its owner. This makes the gaming experience more closely tied to that user.

    Additionally, the usage patterns tend to be very different. I would characterize them as more frequent, but shorter play sessions. I haven't heard of anyone hauling a laptop with them for bathroom breaks. Likewise, I at least personally tire of long gaming sessions on a mobile phone. Then again I don't play in-depth RPGs at the moment.

    Regarding price, back when I was getting into indie game dev, there was much discussion about price points. The magic numbers seemed to be $4.99, $9.99, and $19.99. No one wanted to pay more than $20 for an indie title. However, an odd twist to this was people sometimes wanted to pay *more* for a title. They attached a higher value to a $20 title than a $5 title, and felt good about buying a "better" title (even if the game was identical). I'm sure there are descriptions of this phenomenon out there, but I don't know of any off the top of my head.

    Anyway, that's probably enough rambling for now. In short, charge $4.99? :)

  2. I definitely agree with the differences in the usage patterns. It is a rare day when I take my laptop into the bathroom with me. And those days usually end pretty badly too.

    Thanks for the feedback!


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