Mashable had an interesting post a couple of months back about smartphone usage. It is titled, “Why smartphone adoption might not be as big as you think.”
They show that smartphone adoption in the US is currently running at about 17%. (In Italy it is 28%, something that will not surprise anyone who has been there – it’s the only place I’ve seen shops selling fake smartphones so that you can pretend to have one even if you don’t.) Smartphone users are also predominantly male and predominantly earn more than $100k per year.
So why is it that MMO developers are so keen to roll out more and more smartphone apps? Does this user base have a huge overlap with MMO players? Or is it just that this user base has a huge overlap with MMO devs …?
Is it not enough to ask that people have a decent PC (more so for recent games), internet connection, and the ability to play for hours at a time? Since everyone who plays a PC game has access a PC (by definition), logic would say that there’s a wider reach to be had from rolling out mobile applications as web apps that could also run on mobiles rather than iPhone/ Android specific programs.
Unless you can also charge extra for the iPhone/ Android/ etc special purpose programs. And that’s the only reason to do it that makes sense. Otherwise, all you are doing is giving away an in-game advantage to the smartphone owning demographic.
I know that if I don’t own a compatible smartphone, the fact that an MMO offers mobile apps to others is a negative factor for me. If I’m paying a subscription, I want to see a level playing field.