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Mobile or PC Development?

Does Betteridge’s Law apply to the headline “Game devs ditching mobile in favor of PC, console?” (i.e. is the answer “no they’re not”?) The piece does raise some interesting points about risk vs reward, taking into account investment needed, piracy, and expected returns. The rough thrust, as I understand it, is:

  • PC games can still be sold on a traditional retail model rather than free-to-play which is almost the consumer’s expectation on mobile
  • Therefore you can at least predict some income from PC games
  • Mobile is very competitive at the moment, and so discoverability is a big issue
  • Only a small proportion of free-to-play players ever become payers
  • To help discoverability on mobile you either need a big user base, big enough for network effects to happen, or a big advertising budget
  • To make money you need a really big user base

All good points and valid reason for considering PC as an independent developer, and Betterdige’s Law doesn’t quite apply here as the answer to the question appears to be “sometimes”. Or rather, game devs aren’t really ditching mobile, but just finding the platform where their skills, experience, and market fit is most appropriate. Which is exactly as it should be.

If developers can effectively navigate the problems of discoverability and piracy, there’s no doubt that the potential is massive. One look at the overwhelming success of Angry Birds, Temple Run, Clash of Clans and others proves what’s possible. But for the vast, vast majority of devs, that’s a pipe dream.

Read the full piece: Game devs ditching mobile in favor of PC, console?

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