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The Weekender: Amplified Edition

Despite GDC 2019 going on the background, it’s been a pretty vibrant time in mobile gaming this week. As someone who stands at the convergence of several different gaming spheres (mobile, war games, PC Strategy etc…), I’m always more open to visionary ideas that further merge several aspects of my life – that’s why Google’s Stadia announcement was so interesting.

I won’t re-hash what I’ve already said – while we wait to see how it ultimately turns out we’ll continue to review excellent games like Tides of Time, or Assembly. Maybe not Pirate Outlaws… Roguelikes seem to be the new ‘hot’ genre at the moment, and this week is no exception.

Meanwhile, In mobile gaming…

Out Now

NecroDancer: AMPLIFIED (iOS Universal)

The original Crypt of the Necrodancer currently stands as one of our favourite roguelike games, so the fact that there’s now a prequel game is very good news indeed. Amplified features brand-new content, as well as all of the original content from the mobile version of Crypt of the Necrodancer, so be mindful if you already own that, there could be some repetition.

The new content features Nocturna, a shape-shifter, with a brand new story and a new zone complete with new levels, boss battles, enemies and rewards. Groove your way through the dungeon, slashing fools to the sick beat.

Crossroads Roguelike RPG (iOS & Android)

Speaking of Roguelikes, there’s another one that looks interesting as well. In Crossroads you create a character by choosing its race and class, and then you must go on a quest as an agent of the Adventurer’s Guild. You journey to your mission by revealing cards laid on a grid. Some cards will reveal loot, or spells, or powerful buffs, while others will present challenges. It’s all procedurally generated, and there are 5 different adventures to embark on.

A Sea of RPGs

Usually when I come to do this column, especially if I’m not able to get code for things in advance, I simply keep an eye on what’s ‘premium’ as a potential source of new games. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be working as well as of late, as we’re starting to see more games release with a premium price point AS WELL as IAPs. As far this week goes, there’s been a few RPG releases like that, namely off-brand Pokémon-like Evertale (iOS | Android), and JRPG Legend of the Tetrarchs (iOS | Android).

Evertale’s seems more of a token fee, but both game’s IAPs seem to revolve around in-game currency. As we saw recently with Pirates Outlaws, grind can be bad, and it’s made all the more bitter if you have to pay for the privilege.

But then you’ve also got ThirdMiracle (iOS | Android) & Kings Hero 2 (iOS | Android) which have also released this week and don’t appear to be any more than what they are. The former is another JRPG, while the latter is a hex-based tactical RPG in the old-school fantasy façade.

We’ll try and get to all of these as/when we can, but as always – buyer beware.

Updates

Stardew Valley (iOS & Android) (Review)

This update is just on the recently released android version at the time of writing, but the dev have released a patch that’s fixed a few things.

Star Traders: Frontiers (iOS & Android) (Review)

The gift that keeps on giving, there’s been several updates to the game since we last checked. The main thing you need to know that the upcoming release of deployable fighters and Carrier-class ships has been pushed back till the 2.5 update, and the release of a new Era/Story season has been brought forward. Other than that, the Trese Brothers continue to tweak and adjust their magnum opus.

Sentinels of the Multiverse (iOS & Android) (Review)

A firm favourite amongst PT readers, Sentinels has just received its final expansion along with the 3.0 updates. Season 2 pass holders get it for free, otherwise its available to purchase via IAP. It comes with five new heroes, five new environments, and the final boss battle scenario.

DomiNations (iOS & Android)

One of our favourite RTS games, DomiNations is celebrating its 4th Anniversary with a brand new content update focusing on space travel. Sally Ride, the first American woman to go into space, has been added as new leader, as well as the Space Shuttle and SETI Wonders. In addition, new events have been added that focus on key milestones surrounding mankind’s journey into space, from Yuri Gagarin, to Apollo 13.

Sales

Sentinels of the Multiverse (iOS & Android) (Review): $1.99

To celebrate the launch of the final expansion, the base game has been discounted to just a couple of dollars. 

Steamworld Heist (iOS Universal) (Review): $4.99

We rather enjoyed this stylish turn-based strategy game, and now you can too as the game is once again down to half price.

Football Manager 2019 Mobile (iOS & Android): $5.99

FM Mobile is the streamlined version of Football Manager (you could almost call it ‘Lite’) as opposed to the near-direct port that is FM Touch. It’s currently enjoying a small discount, if you’re interested.

Alien: Blackout (iOS & Android) (Review): $2.99

We didn’t like Alien Blackout, but it’s now on sale for the first time since launch, down a couple of bucks. It’s also recently been updated with a new mode called ‘Survive’, which is basically Ironman.

And just before we go, Android users can pick up the original Warhammer Quest for $1, if you’re interested.

Seen anything else you like? Played any of the above? Let us know in the comments!

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Pre-Purchase Now – Vampire: The Masquerade® – Bloodlines™ 2

Vampire: The Masquerade® – Bloodlines™ 2 is Now Available for Pre-Purchase on Steam!

Sired in an act of vampire terrorism, your existence ignites the war for Seattle’s blood trade. Enter uneasy alliances with the creatures who control the city and uncover the sprawling conspiracy which plunged Seattle into a bloody civil war between powerful vampire factions.

You can swing into a new journey with Unravel Two – available today!

You can swing into a new journey with Unravel Two – available today!

When you’re looking for adventure, it helps to see from a different perspective – or two.

Dive into an immersive story filled with energy, exuberance, inspiration, and even monsters. Awaken the world around you and discover an unbreakable bond between friends.

Features

  • Two Yarnys: Control two Yarnys – small creatures made from a single strand of yarn – on your own or with a friend*. Use both Yarnys to solve tricky puzzles, get past daunting obstacles, and escape shadowy enemies.
  • A World of Wonders: The world looks different from a few centimeters off the ground. Navigate landscapes and complex urban environments inspired by real Scandinavian locations.
  • Playful Problem-Solving: Use your yarn as a lasso, build magical bridges, turn everyday objects into catapults, and more. Dangerous environments, electric shocks, hungry birds, and shadowy monsters wait ahead, and you’ll have to use every skill you have to reach your goal.
  • Heartfelt Storytelling: Your job is to chase a mysterious “spark” that two young people dearly need, and your journey will take you deep into their most important memories. Explore the world, build the bond that holds them together, and escape the shadowy creatures that try to stop you.

If you’d like to purchase or learn more about the game, please visit https://www.nintendo.com/games/detail/unravel-two-switch.


Mild Fantasy Violence

Experience family-friendly VR with hippos, aliens, photography and more in new Nintendo Labo: VR Kit

Experience family-friendly VR with hippos, aliens, photography and more in new Nintendo Labo: VR Kit

Ever wish you could paint like an elephant or feel like a superhero by stopping an alien invasion? Nintendo Labo: VR Kit launches exclusively for the Nintendo Switch system on April 12 with dozens of simple and fun virtual reality* experiences for kids and families to enjoy together. Get a sneak peek at what’s included in the Nintendo Labo: VR Kit in this new video released by Nintendo: https://labo.nintendo.com/#video.

Combining the innovative physical and digital gameplay of Nintendo Labo with basic VR technology, Nintendo Labo: VR Kit introduces virtual reality in a unique and approachable way. The Toy-Con Wind Pedal produces a blast of air to create the feeling of flying, while the Toy-Con Blaster slides and clicks before it launches a volley of lasers (or fruit). Players can make different DIY cardboard creations like a Toy-Con Elephant or a Toy-Con Camera; play a variety of VR games and experiences with these creations; and discover how it all works – or even design their own bite-sized VR experiences with the included programming tools.

“Nintendo Labo is inherently designed to encourage imagination and creativity in people of all ages by blending real-world and virtual experiences,” said Doug Bowser, Nintendo of America’s Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “This new kit takes that concept a step further by layering in virtual reality to bring the Toy-Con creations to life and encourage family-friendly, pass-and-play experiences.”

All the games and experiences in Nintendo Labo: VR Kit are designed to be shareable, fun and social. By alternating turns, everyone in the room can watch and enjoy players’ reactions and join in the fun. Some games even allow players who aren’t looking into the Toy-Con VR Goggles to interact with the on-screen experience. For example, if one player is exploring the in-game ocean and taking photos with the Toy-Con Camera, another person in the room can wear the Toy-Con Snorkel and step in front of the Camera to make a bug-eyed fish swim quickly toward the player’s face – the reaction is priceless!

The Nintendo Labo: VR Kit offers a variety of games and experiences that work with the different Toy-Con creations, including:

  • Ocean Camera (Toy-Con Camera): Dive into the deep blue virtual sea and complete objectives like taking photos of sea life. The ocean is full of surprises.
  • House Camera (Toy-Con Camera): Interact with the strange creature living in the house – which some people may recognize from the Nintendo Labo: Variety Kit! – and complete missions by taking photos in its mysterious home.
  • Marble Run (Toy-Con Elephant): Try to complete physics puzzles by using various objects to guide marbles through rings. You can even create puzzles of your own to challenge friends and family.
  • Doodle (Toy-Con Elephant): Create colorful 3D artwork by moving the trunk of the Toy-Con Elephant through the air, using various in-game tools and styles to bring your creations to life. Once finished, show off your masterpieces on the TV by docking your Nintendo Switch. An additional multiplayer game lets you take turns drawing and guessing each other’s drawings.
  • Bird (Toy-Con Bird): Soar through the sky on a bird’s back, collecting items and helping baby birds hatch along the way. Players flap the wings of the Toy-Con Bird to fly and simply tilt it to turn.
  • Bird Dash (Toy-Con Bird, Toy-Con Wind Pedal): Compete in timed challenges by racing through checkpoints as you fly through the sky. The Toy-Con Wind Pedal is used in conjunction with the Toy-Con Bird to deliver an extra boost of speed, while also sending a surprisingly strong puff of air toward the player that enhances the sense of flying.
  • Blaster (Toy-Con Blaster): Battle an alien invasion and giant bosses in an on-rails experience that requires sharp reflexes and a keen eye.
  • Kablasta (Toy-Con Blaster): Challenge a friend to competitive hippo feeding. Yes, hippo feeding! Fling different types of fruit toward the hippos to lure them to your side of the pool and score the most points.
  • Hop Dodge (Toy-Con Wind Pedal): As a frog, jump as high as you can on an ever-growing stack of balls while avoiding obstacles and heading soccer balls. The wind resistance from the Wind Pedal will make you feel as though you’re actually experiencing a breeze.
  • VR Plaza (all Toy-Con creations): Enjoy 64 bite-sized games and experiences in VR Plaza, including platformers and puzzlers. Many of these experiences can be enjoyed using only the Toy-Con VR Goggles and Nintendo Switch system.

Two programing tools are included with the Nintendo Labo: VR Kit software. Toy-Con Garage is the tool that is returning from previous kits and optimized for this kit’s Toy-Con creations. Toy-Con Garage VR is a new tool that allows players to create their own VR games and experiences. In fact, Toy-Con Garage VR is the tool that the development team used to create everything in VR Plaza. Players can even import VR Plaza games into Toy-Con Garage VR mode to discover how they work, customize the experiences or use them as inspiration to create a completely new game.

Nintendo Labo: VR Kit will launch in retail stores on April 12 with two primary configurations, one that includes all Toy-Con creations and one that includes a smaller selection of projects to get started:

  • Nintendo Labo: VR Kit: Available at a suggested retail price of $79.99, the complete Nintendo Labo: VR Kit includes the Nintendo Switch software and materials to build all six Toy-Con projects – the Toy-Con VR Goggles, Toy-Con Blaster, Toy-Con Camera, Toy-Con Bird, Toy-Con Wind Pedal and Toy-Con Elephant – as well as a Screen Holder and other accessories. It’s a good option for kids and families who want to dive into the full experience.
  • Nintendo Labo: VR Kit – Starter Set + Blaster: Available at a suggested retail price of only $39.99, the Starter Set includes the Nintendo Switch software, plus all the components to build the Toy-Con VR Goggles and Toy-Con Blaster, as well as the Screen Holder and other accessories. The Starter Set is a great entry point into the world of Nintendo Labo VR.

Players that own the Starter Set can purchase the following optional expansion sets at https://store.nintendo.com/ to expand their experience:

  • Nintendo Labo: VR Kit – Expansion Set 1**: Available for $19.99, Expansion Set 1 includes the components needed to build the Toy-Con Elephant and Toy-Con Camera.
  • Nintendo Labo: VR Kit – Expansion Set 2**: Available for $19.99, Expansion Set 2 includes the components needed to build the Toy-Con Wind Pedal and Toy-Con Bird.

For more information about Nintendo Labo: VR Kit, please visit https://labo.nintendo.com/kits/vr-kit/.

*The VR mode should only be used by children ages 7 and older. Parents should restrict the display of VR mode for children 6 and under by accessing the in-game settings using the goggles icon. Users can easily turn off the VR feature and use the included Screen Holder instead of the VR Goggles to enjoy any of the included games and experiences in 2D.

**The two expansion sets do not include the Toy-Con VR Goggles or Nintendo Labo: VR Kit software.


Fantasy Violence

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Weekend Deal – Call of Cthulhu®, 33% Off

Save 33% on Call of Cthulhu® as part of this week’s Weekend Deal*!

1924. Private Investigator Pierce is sent to look into the tragic death of the Hawkins family. Plunge into a world of creeping madness and cosmic horror. Cryptic clues, shadowy figures, and pure terror bar your way as you fight to retain your sanity and solve an otherworldly mystery.

*Offer ends Monday at 10AM Pacific Time

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Interview with Immortal Rogue Developer Kyle Barrett

It’s not often we get to do developer interviews these days, but thanks to the efforts of an interested reader, we’re pleased to be able to share with you a Q&A with Kyle Barrett, solo developer on generation-hopping rogue-like Immortal Rogue (which we recently reviewed). This interview was conducted by Sam Jeffreys, a designer for Feral Interactive who happens to be a fan of PT and now Kyle’s work. Sam is not an official staff writer, but he generously donated his time and his words to bring us this article. (ED)

—————- 

Pocket Tactics: How did you get started in game development?

Kyle Barrett: Well, I think the very first time I made a game I was about 10 and used the Age of Empires 2 scenario editor to make a little RPG for all of my friends to play. From there I started dabbling in GameMaker, the StarCraft editor, Morrowind mods, etc.

For some reason (probably because there was no real game industry where I grew up), I never thought making games could be a career. It wasn’t until I was over halfway through earning a degree in architecture that I had the idea to start sending out game design specs to my favorite companies. Eventually I got my foot in the door at a start-up in the bay area and the rest was history.

Pocket Tactics: Vampires, branching timelines, an elegant one finger control system… What came first, and how did everything fit into place?

Kyle Barrett: It was a combination of a couple separate ideas. One of those original design specs I created to try and get an industry job had this cool (or at least I thought it was cool) matrix that showed how worlds could evolve based on authoritarian factors and technological progress. I always wanted to put that in a game, ideally without a multi-million dollar production budget. I don’t remember where the vampire metaphor came from exactly, but it seemed like a great way to utilize a system with such a long narrative timespan.

The control system comes more from a personal challenge. Since I primarily work in mobile, I like trying to come up with control schemes that can provide dynamic gameplay with minimal touchscreen inputs. While there are pretty decent dual stick control schemes out there, they just don’t feel natural for a platform that doesn’t actually have buttons or joysticks.

Pocket Tactics: How long was the development time?

Kyle Barrett: Three months! I’m kind of proud of that. I knew I had three months where my work obligations weren’t going to be as intense, so I picked a concept I thought I could execute in that time period.

The first month was rapid prototyping and figuring out how the game would work. The second month I spent figuring out the art style and creating assets. The last month was spent importing the assets and polishing. It did take me a fourth month to fully launch the game, but that was because I neglected doing any marketing while I was focused on development.

Pocket Tactics: And what was your dev tool of choice?

Kyle Barrett: I used GameMaker Studio 2. While I mostly use Unity for industry work, GameMaker has always been my go to for rapid iteration and prototyping. It’s come a looong way since the ‘90s, and made a solo project much more feasible.

Pocket Tactics: Immortal Rogue is your second mobile title. What lessons did you learn from Ever Knight?

Kyle Barrett: Pretty much all the stuff that let me make Immortal quickly. How to work with the engine I was using, what animation tools and processes to use, the quirks of publishing on different mobile devices, etc. It probably took me longer to make Ever Knight than Immortal, even though EK is a much simpler game. The best advice I could ever give someone who wants to learn a game development tool is to just try making and publishing a simple project. I learned a ton.

Pocket Tactics: You have a full-time job in the games industry. How do you balance that with being a solo indie dev?

Kyle Barrett: I don’t have kids so that probably helps. But really, I think it’s about creating a habit and setting aside regular time blocks where you can work. For me, a few hours a night and larger chunks on the weekend seemed to work. I had to give up another hobby, but it was totally worth it.

It also helps if your bosses are cool and supportive (which mine totally were). Pro tip: mark down any game you want to make as a ‘previous invention’ when signing a job offer, so you can develop and own that project without making things messy for you or your company.

Pocket Tactics: What are your core design philosophies? What should every one of your projects have?

Kyle Barrett: That’s a tough one. For a personal project, I get excited if it has three things:

  • An enticing player fantasy or story that could stand on its own (like the story of a vampire living through all of history).
  • An addictive/novel core gameplay loop that works even in greybox. If I’m not playing the greybox in my free time then it’s probably not fun enough yet.
  • Systems that tie the first two elements together in a way that they enrich one another. So it’s sort of like a sandwich: Metaphor on top, core gameplay on the bottom, and systems in the middle.
  • Oh, and an art style that’s fun to draw…. So four things.

Pocket Tactics: I love seeing early concepts and prototypes. Is there anything you could share?

Kyle Barrett: The first few weeks went through a ton of changes as I figured out how the gesture controls and visuals would work together. I actually started with Ever Knight sprites. (Oldest to newest from left to right)

immortal knight prototype

Pocket Tactics: Any tips for indie devs on staying the course and keeping focused?

Kyle Barrett: I’m still pretty new to the indie side of things. I think just setting a small, achievable goal and following through is the first step. Also, prioritize! You don’t have to do everything; Find a simple mechanic or idea and build your game around that. Bells and whistles are fine but they don’t make a game fun if the meat isn’t there first.

Pocket Tactics: Why knights?

Kyle Barrett: Because they’re awesome! I was originally thinking the hooded character would be Immortal’s mascot, but I ended up liking how the knight armor looked too much. Also, a shout out to my friend Matt Elser (http://www.elserart.com/) for making the awesome splash art character.

Thanks again to Sam for writing this up for us, and thanks to Kyle for agreeing to be interviewed. 

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Review: Tides of Time

The digital arm of Portal Games has been very quiet over recent years. In fact, it was way back in 2010 when they released their first and still rather brilliant port of strategy board game Neuroshima Hex. Now Portal Games are back with Tides of Time, a micro-card drafting game that follows in the footsteps of Love Letter. However, this time around instead of a multiplayer game of courtly intrigue and bluffing, we have a two-player empire-building face-off, which plays like a simplified version of 7 Wonders.

With a deck of only eighteen cards to work with, players compete through three ages to develop the most prosperous civilisation. At the start of each era, both players are dealt a hand of five cards. These cards represent the various buildings and monuments that can be constructed. Each card will belong to one of five suits, and most of them will also have a point-scoring objective. Players select a single card and drag it into their play area; there are no resource costs to worry about since all buildings are constructed for free. The players will then exchange hands and from then on, it’s rinse and repeat until neither player has any cards left to play.

Tides of Time 1

The monuments that the players managed to construct are then evaluated. Scoring will usually depend on having the most of a particular suit or require you to collect different sets. The Sky Pillars monument, for instance, belongs to the temple suit but scores points for each pair of cards that belong to the garden and library suits. Whereas the Golden Ziggurat is part of the garden suit but scores points if the player who built it has the majority of monuments that belong to the palace suit. Some buildings have special abilities like The Roof of the World, which doubles the value of the player’s most numerous suit. At the end of the first two eras, players must elect one of their buildings as a relic from the past, which means that it will remain in play until the end of the game. They then choose a second building to remove from the game. Finally, each player will draw two new cards and then the next age will commence. The player with the most points at the end of the third era wins.

The first thing that strikes you about Tides of Time is the wonderful graphics. The large cards are adorned with some beautiful and evocative artwork. This is complemented by some eye-pleasing graphics used to depict the buildings when they are placed into the play area. Another nice touch is the way that at the end of each era the monuments crumble into dust. Trails of lights attempt to help you see at a glance which buildings trigger scoring opportunities. However, I didn’t find this feature especially helpful. A better option is to check the icons along the right hand side of the screen, which record all of the cards that you have played along with their respective suits and scoring potentials.

Tides of Time 2

Tides of Time is a simple game and the interface only has to manage the manipulation of a hand of cards. It does this reasonably successfully, although if you do not drag a card directly upwards to the play area, there is the chance that you will actually place a neighbouring card by mistake. All is not lost though since a simple tap of the undo button will take back your last move. I think there is a problem with the screen formatting, as sometimes you cannot see the full image of the cards when they are close to the edge of the screen without carefully dragging them to a more central position. The game also forces you to play out the last round of each era, although you have no choice other than to play your remaining card, this could have been handled automatically. Options are limited; you can play a quick match against one of three AI opponents or take on a human challenger in hot seat mode. I managed to beat the first two AI opponents on my initial attempt, thankfully, the third one put up more of a challenge. At the moment, there are no online options.

It is really only the special power cards that make Tides of Time anything more than a really simple set collection game. You have the high scoring but risky Maze of the Damned, which requires ownership of a card of each of the five different suits – no easy task, even in the third era when you already have two cards already in play. In contrast, The Eye of The North scores points for each suit that you do not have. The Kings Nest doesn’t score any points directly but does allow the owner to win all ties for suits. Whilst The Molehill scores points for each of your suit majorities as long as they consist of just one single card. Unfortunately, even with these welcome nuances, the game still suffers from a lack of variety.

Tides of Time 3

All eighteen cards are going to show up every time you play, indeed you will end up seeing many of the same ones turning up time and again in the space of a single game. By the second turn of each era you will be aware of all of the cards in play and the game begins to feel more like a test of memory than skill. The drafting can also often feel more like a negative way of putting an end to your opponent’s plans rather than actively improving your own position. This can be especially true when one player is trying to preserve an advantage. It can feel like the second leg of a football match in which the team with the advantage is happy to grind out a dour draw.

As a quick playing micro-game this digital version works much better than Love Letter, whose lifeblood is so dependant upon the social interaction between players. I really like how the game handles the advancement through the different eras. Many buildings fall only to rise again, others persevere as relics and some crumble never to be seen again. Deciding which cards to transform into relics and which ones to destroy creates the most interesting decision points. However, the Tides of Time’s lack of variety means that you soon feel like you have seen all that the game has to offer. There is nothing inherently wrong with Tides of Time, it just feels artificially constrained by its microgame pretentions. This lack of substance, alongside the limited options, results in a game more likely to crumble to dust rather than become a lasting landmark.

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Google Stadia could change the way we use our mobile devices for gaming

By Joe Robinson 20 Mar 2019

It’s perhaps a testament to how the worlds of mobile gaming and traditional gaming are starting to converge that we find ourselves covering a second mainstream GDC 2019 announcement in a 24-hour period. Google have been teasing some kind of big gaming announcement for a few weeks now, and last night they revealed what they’ve been working on – Google Stadia.

The nuts and bolts is that Google want to use their tech – honed over decades of internet shenanigans – to power a cloud-streaming game platform. They’ve essentially declared war on traditional hardware formats; mainly consoles, but high-end PCs will come into the crosshairs as well. I think the thing that summed up their ‘intent’ for me was an analogy they used for describing how link sharing works.

google stadia all

You get sent a link, you click on it, the page loads quickly and seamlessly. They essentially want that to be true for games in general. YouTube videos will have game links on them now, or perhaps a friend or a streamer will share a game link via social media or chat. You click on it, and instantly you’re playing that game without loading, installing or buffering. They boast they’ll be able to do it at the highest quality as well (dependent on Wi-Fi infrastructure).

If you’re passionate about gaming and you’ve got some time to spare (maybe on a lunch break or later this evening), I would recommend giving the full stream a watch – it’s a pretty fascinating vision, at the very least:

If you just want a recap or highlights though, here’s the short version:

But what does this mean for mobile gaming?

It’s a complicated proposition – I think the question that Stadia poses is more to do with how we use our handheld devices for gaming, rather than ‘mobile gaming’ itself. For those of us lucky enough to possess the wireless infrastructure that ‘optimum’ Stadia will demand, it will be another attempt at engaging with a game streaming/cloud gaming platform, similar to what OnLive tried in the UK half a decade ago. Instead of jumping on to Meteorfall or Castles of Burgundy, you could instead fire up whatever AAA game is currently doing the rounds, and you wouldn’t need a console to do it. Further to that, if you’d been playing that game at home before you left your house, you could pick up exactly where you left off on your tablet or phone. Theoretically, you’d be playing with the exact same visual fidelity as well, with the only real difference being the interface.

But for the rest of us, the App stores and the games that end up there will remain our primary source of games on mobile. Android users I think have the most to be concerned about at the moment – It’s hard to judge the impact Stadia will have on the Google Play store. They’ll be some kind of integration for sure, but whether Google will try and phase it out, or encourage the devs there to use Stadia as an additional thing, only time will tell.  Apple, being a self-contained infinity engine, will probably continue as normal and as long as phones with physical memory still exist I suspect there will always be a demand for mobile games as we know them currently – stored locally on the device, built to the specifications of existing physical hardware.

google stadia

The real question is how will the app store game line-ups be affected: Will less devs make games for Google Play/Apple? Will the currently growing ‘console-games-on-mobile’ trend fall off with those companies switching to Stadia instead? How will this effect the currently popular business models on mobile. At the moment, there’s painfully little information as to how Stadia plans to monetise itself and provide revenue for developers. Is there a fundamental difference for developers and/or users between someone having Crashlands on their phone, or playing Crashlands via the cloud?

At the very least, we could be getting a snazzy new wireless controller out of this initiative. The Stadia controller was also announced during the showcase. It’s a Wi-Fi gamepad that’s apparently able to connect to any device. Whether it can be used for non-Stadia games we’re not sure – current reports indicate the controller hasn’t actually passed the FCC certification process yet, so a lot of its capabilities are still TBC.

The one thing we can say with confidence, however, is that we won’t have long to wait until we find out what all this means. Google Stadia plans to launch this year in 2019, and we’ll be keeping an eye on this as it develops. StadiaTactics confirmed.