Are Cheap Mobile Games Bad for the Industry?

Angry Birds has sold over 100,000,000 copies. The game where you fling birds at pigs. It’s 99 cents, it’s accessible, it’s addictive, it’s quick and it’s 99 cents. This simple game has changed the perception of mobile gaming. It has altered what games are supposed to be in that space and what they should cost and more importantly, it has altered the mindset of the consumer.


I made an error in the first line. It should say "Angry Birds has over 100,000,000 downloads."

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jukins2677d ago

seriously doubt it SOLD 100,000,000. more like it was downloaded that many times

Si-Fly2677d ago

No, sold 100 million which considering there are over 100 million iPhones, 15 million iPads and a whole load of android devices isn't that hard to believe.

I personally spend enough on games for my PS3/360 so I don't mind a few quid on games for my iPhone/ipad, can't justify £35 for handheld games for a 3ds or PSP nowadays.

kerrak2677d ago

Cheap mobile games is a subsegment that will soon collapse as we know it today. I think it's the same kind of bubble seen at the beginning of the .com era.

Since when an industry grows based on a "let's see if i win the lottery" approach? This is what devs and publishers are facing right now. Everybody is putting tons and tons of content in the stores in order to win the lottery (see angry birds and similar ones), but the consumer can only swallow a small portion of this output.

And let's not forget that due to the inherent limitation of phones (i.e. size factor) most games have shallow, short and limited appeal, thus the perception of "same game" and "already bored" will soon be prevalent.

This is not to say this subsegment will disappear, of course not. There are fantastic 1$ games, there is still room for improvement, so there is a place in the market for them. But i think it will be mostly an indie autoregulated turf (if my idea is crap, i won't even try), because the market won't buy the same game every 2 weeks, even if it's only 1$.

jukins2677d ago

you really think it sold 100 million? guarantee between 60-80% of those downloads are the free version or whatever. Everyone i know who has angry birds, and its pretty much anyone i know with a smartphone, has the free version.

AAACE52677d ago

The good thing about it is it tells the industry we don't want to pay a lot for a little bit of fun!

Anon19742677d ago

Kerrak made some good comments, but I disagree. As a mobile game developer just getting his company off the ground, the nice thing about mobile games is that they're consumables. People pay a buck, use them for a limited time and then discard them for other games - and the types of games are completely different from standard games. They're meant to be small, cute and easy to pick up and play for a couple of minutes. That's what consumers want. Something they can play for 5 minutes while they wait in a lineup, or something to occupy a bus ride, or a a stint in a waiting room.

Market research has shown that the main purchasers of this type of media is 25-35 year old females (not all the free downloaders, the people who are actually purchasing these games for a buck a piece). A game can be successful if it sells 10,000-40,000 copies in a year.

And the nice thing is, not every game has to be a hit. A small developer can churn out 4-5 games a year and if one flops it doesn't bankrupt the company. Yes, a lot of the games have been done before - but like I said, they're now consumables. You buy them, you play them for awhile, you get bored, you move onto the next one.

Just like background wallpaper, or ringtones. You have it for a bit, you get bored, you switch it up. That's how the demographic has been approaching these types of downloadable games. You have to bear in mind, these types of games aren't meant for you or I just as most gamers would turn their noses up at something like Farmville but the damn thing is worth billions. There's a relatively new market out there for cheap, pick up and play casual games - and it's growing.

DaTruth2677d ago

Maybe real developers can throw out a few of these in a months work, make a ton of money with little overhead costs and then fund bigger and better hardcore games!

Somehow, I feel most developers aren't just in it for the money and like to put out a "work of art" if they can!

+ Show (2) more repliesLast reply 2677d ago
nsnsmj2677d ago (Edited 2677d ago )

Yep, downloaded. As a matter of fact, it's free on Android. I'm sure it sold a lot, but not that much.

To answer the question: They'll only be bad for the industry if developers begin to assume it's much more feasible to focus on cheap mobile games which may or may not even have the success of Angry Birds, Plants vs Zombies, etc.

I'm willing to bet that Angry Birds type of success is something that will RARELY happen. I still don't even see why this game is so f'n popular. It's sooo simple, and I think it's overrated. Don't get me wrong, I do actually like Angry Birds. I just don't think it deserves all the attention it's garnered.

dredgewalker2677d ago

Some developers will go to that route if they can get away with earning more for less hassle programming. But there will always be developers that take pride in their work and bring out the best games their imagination and hardware can push out. I haven't tried Angry Birds though since I rarely play these kind of games. As a gamer for 28 years I will always look for the best games and hardware that the current generation has to offer and look forward to the best games and hardware the future generation holds. I will never play anything less than the best, but that is simply my preference.

Stealth20k2677d ago (Edited 2677d ago )

wow what a bad article. It was downloaded that many times. Not sold big difference.

And more dedicated handheld games break 100k. Thats more than most mobile games. Look at the 3ds street fighter and then look at the iphone and then tell me which one is the good game and which is shovelware

And I found angry birds to be terrible........

Not one mobile game is better than the worst game on a portable in the same genre

@ below
I couldnt stomach it for more than a minute before I grew bored and never wanted to play it again.

Jezuz2677d ago

angry birds wasn't that bad. It was fun to just pick it up and play.

Aarix2677d ago

"Not one mobile game is better than the worst game on a portable in the same genre" Do you even know what kind of games are on the ipod. There are ALOT of very good hardcore titles.

TheDudeLasse2677d ago

Get your facts straight. Angry Birds has not sold 100.000.000 copies. It has achieved 100.000.000 million downloads.

That includes preview versions and add enabled versions.

Masterchef20072677d ago

No they are not bad. But they shouldnt become the norm because games that provide incredible experiences such as Uncharted are expensive to make.

CherryLu-Chan2677d ago

Inexpensive to make and if the games are addictive than what's the problem?!

Game Dev Story is one of my favourite games this year. Funny, involving and swipes whooole hooours of my time if I let it.

Si-Fly2677d ago

Totally agree, would rather spend £10 and get 5-10 apps for my apple devices than spend £35 on one game for a PSP or 3DS because when I'm at home I'm playing a 360/ps3 not a handheld.

Baka-akaB2677d ago

except those 5 apps dont usually even last half as much than a console handheld game , nor even half their quality .

Of course they have their own purpose , even if i dont care for it , so no they aint bad for the industry .

I dont see yet how it can be claimed to be a nefast influence ... nor how it can claim to be overtaking regular games .

So wow angry birds sells gazillion .. and its dev is happy and bragging .
So what ? Mobile gaming has been making a fortune for as long as it existed , Camelot and pop caps games are most likely richer than many devs . But so what ? It's another market and has been going on for year .

If a market among common videogames maybe needs to be frightened , in the future , it's the move/kinect/wii casual stuff .

dredgewalker2677d ago (Edited 2677d ago )


These games cater to the masses, what Baka and me want is the games that cater to us as real gamers. I won't shun these type of games as they cater to a different type of audience. I'd rather have one game that I can invest hours or days of enjoyment than a hundred games that I'll only play a few minutes. Our needs are different from other peoples needs and this is what differentiate the "casual" from the "hardcore".

Edit: It's simply comparing a "full course meal" to a "light snack" if you want to compare these games and I will always go for the full course to satisfy my hunger.

Si-Fly2677d ago

@dredge : good point but why eat in a nice pizza chain (NGP/3DS) when you can have a Michelin star meal (360/PS3) ? For casual gaming whether that's on public transport, a break at work etc I want a bite sized snack that the iPhone and ipad satisfy.

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