GDC 2008: Gameloft CEO Tackles Mobile Industry Myths and Mess-Ups
God, my fingers are killing me.
In a speech made during the GDC's mobile component, Gameloft president Michel Guillemot took some time to address several myths about mobile and outlined some of the problems he thought was holding the industry back.
He says that mobile is not the stagnant, tiny market that people predicted it would be and challenges the notion that the mobile industry has slowed down in the past year by comparing it to existing industry trends at the end of a traditional console cycle.
His biggest beef seems to be with the nature of product distribution on the platform. There are about a million and a half different handsets and no standardized model for calculating download costs. I would imagine that having to develop a game 10 separate times for 10 separate handsets in 10 separate languages would get old (and expensive) real quick. In this respect, he also considers the iPhone to be a detriment to the industry at the moment. Why? Well, it doesn't play any games, and for every person going steady with an iPhone, that's one less customer for him.
Guillemot stressed that developers should do their best to maintain similar quality across all different versions of a game as it isn't likely that a person will try more than one version of a game.
He's still optimistic about the future of the genre, however and he specifically names developments in touch-screen gaming, advanced handsets and standardized distribution as key factors for success.
Mobile's in a tough spot right now. On the one hand, it desperately wants to be taken seriously by the rest of the industry, but when your main source of income is Tetris and bar darts, people tend to turn their noses up a little. That being said, the technology is advancing at an incredible rate. You have games like Action Hero 3D and Metal Gear Solid Mobile that look damn near 64-bit, and just a few years ago, Centipede seemed cutting edge.
Still, real gamers aren't really all that interested yet and, likewise, there's no incentive to make "real" games if the audience isn't there for it. I figure they can worry about the hardcore audience later, though. For now, I would just concentrate on developing some more intuitive input options. It won't matter if we have the mobile equivalent of Super Mario Galaxy in a few years if we're still playing it on a bloody keypad.