Why mobile versions of popular video games aren’t going anywhere

As the mobile version of Injustice 2 celebrates its fifth anniversary, you have to wonder how the gaming industry has changed over that time and whether game developers will continue to develop these kinds of “Freemium” mobile versions of their most popular games.

There are certainly plenty of reasons to assume that these will soon be a thing of the past. Even with all the massive improvements and advances in cellular technology since the invention of smartphones with the iPhone, most of the biggest and best-selling games to be found on the Google Play Store or the Apple iStore are simple games that bring to mind the earliest video games, where quick-play action platformers and puzzle games ruled the roost.

And then there’s the question of the ever-expanding online gambling game market, whose popularity only rises with each passing year, despite only being technically legal in certain states. Games like live dealer blackjack online or the seemingly endless stream of video slots games have never been more popular – and even the very fanciest of these games are the very definition of primitive in comparison to adaptations of the latest PC, Playstation, or X-Box games for your mobile phone.

So, when perennial classics like Candy Crush or Words with Friends, and even simple online crossword puzzles, Sudoku, and coloring-by-number games, continue to hit it big with new and old players, you have to wonder if there’s any incentive left for developers to continue spending millions of dollars on mobile versions of Tomb Raider, Super Mario Brothers, or Mortal Kombat.

Putting the premium in freemium

Injustice 2 is actually a very good case study for where the mobile gaming market came from and where it’s going. Injustice 2, after all, remains in active development with new characters constantly added to the games and new updates coming out regularly, if not frequently. Leagues are still very active with Raids and Solo Raids bringing back even the most burned-out veteran players for the chance to improve their rankings and face similarly advanced players in the arena.

What really stands out about Injustice 2, though, is that though its excellent fight mechanics continue to bring in free-to-play gamers for their daily dose of DC superhero action, the reason why NR keeps on working on the game and doing their best (and sometimes their worst) to keep it active is because of the pay-to-play gamers who spend untold hundreds, even thousands of dollars on those elusive Legendary characters and hard-to-find gears that put them on top of the pyramid of dedicated players.

Raking in the dollars

Is Injustice 2 as big as Wordle, Words with Friends, or whatever the latest mobile hit is right now? Certainly not. Not by a long shot. Here’s the difference, though: while these simpler mobile games reward players who spend some of their cash on premium features, high-end adaptations like Injustice 2 have premium content that is available for such ludicrously high prices that they quite possibly leave the profitability of their console or PC games in their dust. Buying a single Legendary character like Deathstroke in Injustice 2 at just 4 stars can cost more than a whole, a brand new PC game from even the biggest publishers.

We more casual (or more broke) mobile gamers may whine about how unfairly these games favor “whales” (huge spenders) but they’re the reason why these games exist – and why they’re going nowhere anytime soon. They’re just much too profitable.

Written by
GLYFE a gaming culture and lifestyle brand. We live to game. Visit GamingLyfe.com for all your latest gaming news, reviews, Esports highlights, live streaming news, Cosplay, and GLYFE Merchandise.

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