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Why I won't play your Mobile Game

Preface

I got this week a question via Twitter DM if I play mobile games on my smartphone. Since I put certain questions into a FAQ file, you can read the answer there. After that I bought the game Knights of Pen and Paper 2 on Steam and as you can read in the review I am enthusiastic about this computer game. After a few hours of playing I asked myself if the mobile version was as good as the one I bought or if there were any significant differences. There are even very big differences.

But before I'm misunderstood, this article doesn't describe a critique of the Android version of Knights of Pen and Papers 2, but a detailed explanation why I don't play mobile games on my smartphone. Overall I agree with some commentators who don't like the game for certain reasons. The tactics noted here can be generalized, because they are the same in all mobile games. A perfectly developed game with grinding function and infinite runtime is supposed to get as much money out of as many players as possible.

Ingame

What makes me suspicious at first is that a good game on another medium costs nothing. At Steam Knights of Pen and Paper (KOPAP) is currently on sale and costs only 1.99 Euro instead of 7.99 Euro. This is a pretty fair price and you get a very good product for it. The Android version is free, because you only pay with your data. The things I describe here are not available in the PC version. There Kopap is a normal computer game. Yes, also on grinding, but there is no pay to win. Furthermore, I don't have to agree to several privacy policies (which nobody reads in their life). The first screen is then also the one in which I am explained what Diamonds are. As a mobile gamer noob you should learn as fast as possible what kind of currency you have to exchange your money for. There are diamonds in almost every other successful mobile game.

One tactic that is used in mobile games over and over again is to keep the player at the bar. Not every player can spend money and buy diamonds for it. But there are other possibilities. People who watch advertisements (or videos) can earn diamonds. Since you are not supposed to farm diamonds, this is usually reduced to one or two videos. You must not give the player too much at once, because otherwise he can finish the game as fast as possible and is no longer a potential customer. Here one notices the clear difference to the PC. There are also Loot Boxes, DLCs (sometimes authorized, sometimes not) and other offers for which you should spend more money. But it is not as obvious as on a smartphone. Are the players more undemanding or just spend money faster? Unfortunately I can't answer this question here. I personally spend 0% on products on my mobile phone.

What a game developer would never try with a PC player would be to display an ad for another game. If advertisements are displayed in Fallout 4, GTA V or any other Steam classic games, you can be sure that the gamer community will be in a storm within minutes in the social media. This would simply not work there, because the platform has developed quite differently. There, games have always been without advertising. On the smartphone, people don't know it any differently and maybe it's because of the mentality of the Android users, because as far as I could read from other experiences it's different on Apple products. Even there good games cost money and you get a regular product.

Here we see a gift which should tempt the player to come back, because nobody can play endlessly long in one day. You need a break and to add the player you have to buy some little presents. A sword, a diamond or some gold. The difference with the gold is also recognizable in the PC version, there the contributions are smaller. With the first opponents in the village you earn only 2 gold per round, in the mobile version this is much more and you can farm faster. There the equipment costs more. A trip costs for example on the PC only 5 gold on Android 100. Why this is so, I do not know exactly and have also no idea why there is this difference. Maybe I will find an explanation in another article at some point.

The last important point is the shop. On the PC version you can buy and sell loot. More is not possible. There are no extra items you can buy for real money. On the mobile version you can buy everything. A premium account, chars, items, equipment, trinkets, consumables and much more. You can also exchange money for gold and diamonds. This is a typical Pay to Win shop. Most players just want to win and don't want to spend much time on repetitive grinding tasks. That should go fast. Therefore you buy a better sword, an epic shield or a completely new outfit. There are a lot of people who spend money on it otherwise the market for mobile games would not be so big.

Conclusion

As I mentioned above, I don't want to talk badly about Knights of Pen and Paper. It's a typical mobile game and I don't tell anyone how to spend their money. Seriously. I buy Steam trading cards of my games so that I have them complete. Anyone can do that as they like. I just want to show that I will neither test nor seriously play most mobile games. If this also applies to Apple, I can't say because I haven't tried any games there yet. All in all I don't like to play without keyboard, controller or mouse. Only a smartphone keyboard without its own haptik then does not appeal to me. Although the user interface of Kopap fits quite well. Maybe I'll play a good mobile game sometime. A year ago I never thought I'd play a gay girls visual novel on baseball and record a longplay.

Update

I was voted up on the home page of news.ycombinator and there is a really interesting discussion about the article.