The battle continues. Another developers has chimed in about their thoughts on the future of gaming and again champions Angry Birds as the way to go. Dan Gonzales, vice president of Sourcebits is echoing Peter Vesterbacka’s quotes last week, saying the mobile platform is eroding the significance of traditional portable handhelds. Gonzales told IndustryGamers: “The hardcore gamer, while fairly large in a historical context, is completely dwarfed by the number of casual gamers adopting smart phones and tablets. The world is changing and fast. Angry Birds is the world’s new [Super] Mario Bros.“
The context of such a claim is quite important however. If Gonzales think Angry Birds has given purpose to a platform, showing how games could or should be played then yeah, it just might be the Super Mario Bros. of mobiles but the idea that it could be a replacement for a series spanning over 25 years, I have to disagree. Mario as a name and the games which he stars in are increasingly popular with the genius of Nintendo making him adaptable for all ages.
Angry Birds is huge, there’s no disputing that. It’s been downloaded over 100 million times and is one of the most profitable games in history but with that being said, it’s also a massive obstacle to over come if you’re a mobile developer. Games that are completely different genres often get compared to Angry Birds (in user reviews) with the Boom Blox inspired bird-flinger often coming out on top. Rovio have nailed the market developing a game that almost everyone buys when they get a new mobile. So in that respect, you could say the game is the new Call of Duty, an enormously popular and profitable franchise bridging the hardcore and casual gamers spectrum and the title all your friends tell you to pick up if you’re new to gaming.Taking on these giants of the mobile space is going to be quite a task for any developer.
Back to the original point, Gonzales downplayed the existing handhelds saying: “My kids will never own a DS or PSP. They have everything via smartphones and tablets. When I travel, I love to walk from the back of the plane to the front and see what people are doing on their devices. Not surprisingly, it’s mostly games. I particularly see a lot of Angry Birds on iPhones and iPads. Not just one or two, but ten to 15.” The danger is that we’ll see a lot of Angry Birds clones too which does little to further a market. And depriving his youth of either a PSP or DS is just cruel! How will they experience the brilliance of games like Zelda, Professor Layton or even Pokemon? Until we get more of those to contrast the bite-sized offerings, both Nintendo and Sony’s portables are fine. The record-breaking achievements of the 3DS and buzz around the NGP is proof of that. Mobile devs have a right to gloat but the “anything you can do I can do better talk” is getting old fast. Without one the want for the other diminishes.