AAA vs Mobile Gaming.
It’s a news (there was one!) that came down today: Ubisoft is going to part with its Assassin’s Creed license – its biggest AAA license – to devote itself to the development of games on mobile. This is the translation of the video game “experts” from statements made by Ubisoft’s headquarters, which announced last week that they wanted to “diversify the game production and focus “not only on AAA games” – see the article in IGN–
The reason is simple: an AAA game brings in a lot, a lot of money.
A mobile game makes even more money – and faster.
To understand how this is done, we need to understand the economic mechanics that keep these two industries going.
The AAA game costs about 70 euros – and you’ll add a few euros (yes, I’m in the euro zone), per month to get downloadable content via your console and its “game pass”.
If you want side improvements, you can get them for a fee – but they are side improvements. So they have no addictive effect.
Mobile gaming usually doesn’t cost anything at all – to start with.
For one hour – two hours – everything will go wonderfully for you, the free player.
And then… you’ll wait.
You will wait 5 minutes – and you will get the rest of the game.
7 minutes – one hour – two hours – 15 hours – endless hours –
You can wait – and it’s still free.
You can be impatient and buy boosts, so you can move forward in the game.
And boosts can be absolutely priceless – for some “free” mobile games, players will spend as much as 1000 euros per month on various boosts.
If you add to this the fact that mobile games are far less built – in every respect – than console games in AAA mode – you also save on development costs.
As a result: you really earn a lot of money – & you look like the nice guy who doesn’t ask for anything at all.
Do you understand the trick? Simple and formidable efficiency.
So, here comes Ubisoft, which launches into this market – and drops the AAA market in the process – which pays yes – but so much less. Well, what French journalists are saying about it today. I hope they exaggerate – for Ubisoft and my favorite games.
This could be terrible news.
In the gaming community, it’s announced as the worst news since fleas landed on the backs of cats.
And it’s news that really interests me – because it confirms my intuitions about the video game industry – and AAA games.
Fundamentally, the future of video games, whether mobile or AAA version, lies in these extensions to buy – these famous: download contents.
The AAA game therefore appears as a sinkhole for investment funds to be injected into it – to be able to not only create the game but also to create theses download contents permanently.
Are you following me?
Yes, of course you follow me.
Two options: either we presuppose – like Ubisoft – the death of the AAA video game. Or we assume that AAA games will be reshaped to adapt to this business model and take advantage of it to become even more profitable.
Frankly, I take option 2 – because it has an absolutely phenomenal player base – players who will either spend their money on AAA extensions rather than mobile extensions.
Right now, AAA extensions you have to go out and get them and they’re not useful for gaming – remember this point – this is exactly what makes mobile gaming so profitable. In AAA, you will buy game “added” to the game. In mobile, you buy “the continuation of the game, quickly please”.
Now, suppose for a second that AAA games use the same principle: you don’t pay anything more playful if you wait. But if you pay, you go so much faster.
Don’t tell me they won’t, they’re not stupid.
Don’t tell me there’s no “play space” to do that in an AAA game: if you think that, you didn’t spend your nights making nails to increase your forging ability in Skyrim.
Don’t tell me there’s no such thing: it’s already at work in a whole bunch of AAA games – because those games are played live online, and that’s where the fortune of Plants vs Zombies (originally a mobile game) comes from.
Fallout Shelter is the mobile version of the Fallout series-and it works on exactly that time-to-lose or time-to-win principle, depending on one’s bank account, with a series of time-consuming mini-quests that can take 24 hours to complete – a 24-hour walk to reach the quest. 24 hours to get back. Otherwise, by buying Nuka Cola Quantum, you’ll go so much faster.
As Altair, I am interested on two levels:
> already that means that AAA fortresses are no longer impregnable – it’s time to come up with some game-changing ideas to get the players’ interest back.
Then it means that if we manage to develop the game and show principle to the maximum for a huge e.sport tournament, we will allow these famous huge AAA games to regain the upper hand on the market – or even to take over the mobile market – if only by organizing the intermediate tournaments that will allow the teams to qualify.
What I suppose, in fact, is the rise of e.sport in the world of video games. Okay – now you can look at me with a little suspicion.
Not too much anyway – it’s not the most fanciful assumption I’ve made – far from it.
You don’t exactly see what I mean, do you?
Let me explain.
I guess the thing is up and running and everyone has figured out what to do.
We’re announcing in June that the e.sport tournament for the following May will be based around the AAA game “Z”, with the show “P”.
So the AAA game has prepared a kind of fighting arena that allows this tournament to be played between its players.
If it wants to win players and money quickly, this AAA game will therefore have – because they are not stupid – a mobile version that allows to select players and teams. Mobile version that works like all mobile versions – you wait or you pay.
As a result, AAA games, instead of being opposed to mobile games, use them as extensions and get a nice jackpot in the process. That’s the idea behind Fallout Shelter – applied to e.sport.
We will have simply ritualized the idea of the e.sport tournament, by proposing a very high-end tournament – since associated with a show and patati et patata.
But this principle of adding a mobile version for e.sport tournaments can obviously be used without us, for more classic tournaments.
That, all right, it doesn’t concern me.
But you have to think about it a little bit, so that the idea will make its way in the big heads of these too big companies.
So I’m stubborn: yes, AAA games are “takeable” – yes, there is currently a crying need for novelty in high-end video games – yes – see Fortnite , the show can take its place there – yes, offering additional content related to shows, additional content related to virtual reality and additional content related to e.sport, that’s valid.
And yes, thinking the AA.App mobile application is the idea that will also allow Altair to make money like everyone else.
Featured Image : Fallout Shelter added to Tesla Arcade – “in-car game for free” – Fallout Shelter is the Fallout mobile version – Bethesda