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Thread: iPlay - Currents

  1. #1
    RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff InstaTrent's Avatar
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    Jul 2012
    Saint John, NB

    iPlay - Currents

    In this week's issue of RPGamer's Currents, Kojima is a fan of sexy cosplayers, Sony announces a the PlayStation Vita TV, and a colourful new PlayStation Vita model graces Japan. Oh, and Apple's recently announced iPhone 5s has some capabilities which may turn traditionalists towards mobile gaming.

    Please check out the question for the community in the front page section!

    "To tell you the truth, I like drinking tea and eating fresh vegetables, but that doesn't fit with my super-cool attitude. I guess I have to accept this about myself."

  2. #2
    is not declawed RPGamer Staff Ocelot's Avatar
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    Oct 2009
    Toronto, ON
    OK, I will answer questions!

    1. I don't have a smart phone, just a dumb phone which I used to call people, not play games.
    2. I'm perfectly happy with my dedicated handhelds, which don't charge me ridiculous monthly rates to use.
    3. There's no reason that mobile devices can't be respected as gaming platforms. They just need more games that are actually games and not exploitative IAP-fests.

    Twitter: BeckyCFreelance

  3. #3
    Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff jcservant's Avatar
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    Aug 2008
    Salt Lake City, UT
    I'm going to answer questions based on what Ocelot said here...
    1. I *have* smart phone. It's smarter than I am. However, I don't use it to play games often. That's what my DS, 3DS and Vita are for. I use it for calls, texting, photos, emails and reading while I'm places with no books. Yeah.
    2. I love my handheld devices as well. I pay $50/month for my phone which includes unlimited everything. Except games. No unlimited games in that $50.
    3. What Becky said. Though, I have *tried* playing some of the 'better' games and I find 'virtual touch screen' controls to be infuriating. The only games I enjoy on these platforms are those designed with touch screen controls from the ground up. Plants versus Zombies is a good example (and I do that on iPad, not phones).

  4. #4
    is not declawed RPGamer Staff Ocelot's Avatar
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    Oct 2009
    Toronto, ON
    Actually, I'm totally with you on your touch screen point. Mobile devs need to design for touch screens first. Trying to shoehorn traditional controls onto a touch screen game is just as bad as tacking bad waggle controls onto a concept that was obviously meant for traditonal button presses and crapping it out for the Wii.

    Twitter: BeckyCFreelance

  5. #5
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    Jun 2012
    Seattle, WA
    1. I have no smart phone, even though people I've just met will assume I have one before I bring out a more old-school phone.
    2. Even if I had one, I feel like I rather use it to browse the Internet or study flashcards or something where being interrupted at any moment would be okay. Of course if I got stranded somewhere without my handheld gaming devices and had a smartphone I'd probably be kicking myself for not having a game on it... But if I'm traveling and know I will have a 10+ min period where I can game, I rather play on a device with buttons that is more comfortable.
    3. I think eventually mobile devices will be considered respectable gaming devices with the way the technology for them is improving so quickly. Not everyone will want to play on their phones but enough people will.

    As for the Vita TV, I also am confused on whom it's really aimed towards. I'd think that if people wanted to play Vita games on a TV, they'd be begging the publisher to put out a PS3 or PS4 version, not going out of their way to get the Vita TV.

  6. #6
    Member flamethrower's Avatar
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    Mar 2006
    Boston, MA
    Do you play video games on your smartphone?
    On occasion, yes.
    If not, what is keeping you from playing?
    Terrible pay-to-win game designs. And for many action games, the lack of controls I'm able to operate well.
    Will mobile devices ever be respected as video game consoles?
    Not at this rate they won't.

    The best games for mobile are tower defense and pinball, as you can operate the touch controls well. I really don't enjoy moving a character using the virtual D-pad.

  7. #7
    Ysy St. Administrator Macstorm's Avatar
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    Feb 2006
    1) Do you play video games on your smartphone?

    - I HAVE played a few on my iPod Touch and iPad, but not many. I hate the battery drain on my phone/twitter device that gaming takes. That said, I've only played very few games to completion.

    2) If not, what is keeping you from playing?

    - Touch controls mostly. It's not the device, but the interface. I love the Vita and 3DS, but don't like having to use touch features on those games. I do like buttons.

    3) Will mobile devices ever be respected as video game consoles?

    - They can be, yes, but that's not their main focus. Video game consoles are consoles first and other media devices second. Mobile devices are phones or tablets with multiple functions and gaming is just one of those many functions, not the focus. So sure they can be respected as consoles when they start trying to be one. For now, many are trying to put devices like the iPad in that corner when it really doesn't need to fit there.
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  8. #8
    That Guy You Hate RPGamer Staff omegabyte's Avatar
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    Jun 2006
    Vancouver, BC
    1) Very rarely, though not for lack of trying.

    2) A lot of things. Video games drain smartphone battery life at a ridiculous rate, for one. Generally I can't play for very long before I have to charge my phone. More importantly, however, is a general lack of games I find appealing. Every RPG I've tried on a phone has been utter crap, controls are almost always poorly done, and IAP "free-to-play" games are everywhere. The best games I've found that I actually put any time with are simple, menu-driven simulations like Game Dev Story or Plague Inc, board games like Scrabble, and or puzzle games that are fun for about 5 minutes but get old fast. The biggest thing holding the platform back, to me, is the electro-sensitive touch screen that only recognizes skin. On a phone especially, you can't get anywhere near the level of precision necessary for a good, core game using a touch screen that needs your finger to operate, and it has the side effect of obscuring a large part of the screen when you do. Compare it with the DS/3DS's stylus based controls, and it's night and day. It might work better on a tablet with a larger screen, but on a phone, it's just never going to cut it for me.

    3) That depends on who you're asking? I don't think the majority of core gamers are ever going to respect it as a gaming platform; it's always going to be seen as a bottom-of-the-barrel home for shovelware and IAP garbage. There are a lot of games from big companies being released on these platforms, and the number one complaint from core gamers is always the platform itself. However, if you ask a developer or the legions of casual gamers who ONLY play games on their phone, it's pretty obvious that it's already a respected platform, but there's a catch with that as well: the whole free-to-play model relies very heavily on a small percentage of players paying an exorbitant amount of money. We've recently seen with the core gaming model what happens when production outpaces demand (million+ copies sold deemed "not enough"), and if the mobile games market continues to grow, they could be in even more trouble than the AAA industry is. If it IS a bubble, when it bursts, it's going to be very messy for a lot of people.
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  9. #9
    1) On my phone? Not anymore, but my fiancee does. I used to, and I had no problem with it, but when I got a tablet I switched wholesale over to it for android gaming. I do have some programs and uh illegitimate games on my phone, mostly fan translations I haven't gotten to, that I have for when I don't have my 3DS and I'm bored though.
    2) --
    3) Feels like a strawman question. I think more people play games on mobile than on consoles, or near enough now. But its more of a casual gaming environment. There are "hardcore" games, but its an interface still in its infancy and they haven't figured it all out yet. On top of that, I'd think that among the population at large, video game consoles aren't "respected", they are a "kid toy" that makes people into worthless lumps who go crazy and shoot people at malls and schools. Since smartphones and tablets are more versatile, I'd say that currently they are MORE respected. Just not from the "elitest gamer" and dudebrah communities.

    On the topic, I don't really have a problem with touch controls like others do. And for most games (other than square-enix), the prices aren't bad. I picked up a half dozen Kemco games for $10 total. I know not to expect much from them, so whatever. The only problem I have is mostly aimed at the casual gaming market, the whole in-app-purchase thing. I will NEVER do that. Ever. And I won't play games designed to make the player eventually want to pay to continue. I've already told the fiancee that she's not allowed to buy anything in games, and so far she's stuck to it (she plays mostly facebook-popular casual games with IAP). I know enough about design to know that they are designed to make people want to buy in, and while I'm totally cool with developers trying to find ways to monitize their products, I'm not going to be a sucker for smurfberries.

    On the topic of the Vita. I'm actually rather interested in the Vita TV. I probably would just get a Vita proper instead, but it seems like a pretty good option. However the restriction on games due to the touchpad is disappointing and will probably be why I don't get one. I'd like a cheap way to buy in, but for this device it would have to be $99 with a memory card and controller for me to bite.

    For the Vita-2000, I'm interested in grabbing one of those. I usually wait for at least one revision on handhelds before I buy in now. I keep seeing people complain about the OLED to LCD being a downgrade, but honestly the screen sounds pretty comparable, it adds to the battery life, doesn't have the potential burn-in issues that OLED has, and honestly, with such a small screen does it matter if the quality is marginally 'reduced'? I'll wait to reserve my judgement about the screen until we can see a Vita-1000 and Vita-2000 side by side. As for the 1GB of onboard memory, feels like a slap in the face more than anything. Sony could have put quite a bit more in say a non-removable SD card without hurting the price, or other forms of flash memory. 1GB is enough for some saves, but you won't be storing games on it.

    All in all though, now that I'm obtaining Vita games, and have started a decent digital PSP backlog, I'm considering grabbing a Vita-2000 when they come out here.
    Last edited by smacd; 09-12-2013 at 01:17 PM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Portland, OR
    I'm someone who the Vita TV is pretty much designed for. I play all my handheld games at home, as I work from home, so don't have a commute. Being able to play Vita and PSP titles easily on a TV, with a dualshock controller, is perfect for me.

    If it gets announced as being region free, I'm importing it asap.

    In regards to phone gaming:

    I do play games on my phone, usually in small chunks. The exception is games by Kairosoft, which can devour multiple hours in a stretch for me.

    I'm willing to pay higher prices for mobile games than the $1-2 range, if they look to be worth the investment. Microtransactions are something I stay away from, as those tend to not be adding content but quick grabs for your money in return for a small power boost in whatever game you're playin

    I think consoles will be heading that way eventually period. As things get smaller and faster, the difference between a dedicated gaming console and a mobile device is going to continue to shrink; meanwhile we're seeing advances in wireless video transmitting such as the Chromecast, which would make it simple for a future mobile device to stream HD video and audio to your TV.

  11. #11
    1) Yes, but not often. Mostly Bejeweled, if anything.
    2) The controls are bad, they drain battery, my system is weak and the display is small.
    3) I think eventually EVERYTHING will eventually be possible.... perhaps VR glasses and motion controls in the distant future could offer a compelling mobile experience. But right now I just can't get into them and almost all the games I play are on my home system. Ironically, the only serious mobile games I've played have been emulated on my PC with big screen. I don't understand the appeal or effort put into this market at the moment.

  12. #12
    Member Cidolfas's Avatar
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    May 2003
    1) Yes, but only casual, dumb games with controls that are generally "touch to make something happen" - Jetpack Joyride, Bejeweled clones, Scrabble clones, etc. The only "bigger" game I've ever played on it was Chaos Rings.

    2) Like has been mentioned - terribly battery life, small display, and most importantly the controls. The problem with touch control is right on the end of your hand - your finger. If you're right-handed and need to touch or drag something at the top left of your screen, your finger will be obscuring a huge chunk of the viewport. Moreover, your finger is clumsy; it's why kiosks have such huge buttons. They're simply not meant for precise controls like video games demand. I could deal with Chaos Rings, but it's not as fluid or enjoyable an experience as a console or handheld.

    3) I'm extremely skeptical. Mobile devices have all of the aforementioned issues - plus a huge amount of shovelware, far more than we ever had in any console generation. Ironically, the freemium model probably spells the doom of any semi-good game on the platform - why should I spend $20 on a good game which will last me 10 hours when there are 100 bad games which will last me ten times the amount and cost nothing at all?

    The Vita TV actually sounds like something I'd find very useful. I do almost all my handheld gaming at home anyway, and the price point of the Vita has kept me away from it (that and the total lack of games I'd actually want to play). If some decent games start coming out, I'd seriously think about getting one. Also, playing my PSP games on my TV and without that awful "ZUZZ" sound and weird hub would almost be worth it by itself.

  13. #13
    The Gratitude Pokemon Shaymin's Avatar
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    Dec 2010
    Dartmouth, New Sealand, Canada
    1) I've been on smartphones since 2005, but my most recent phone (an Android one) has no games on it. And I'm not about to go looking - I only played on my old phones (Symbian and Blackberry) because I was able to find full games for free, or they gave them to me.

    2) I believe in "separation of church and state" on what my portable devices do. I recently rebought an iPod Classic to handle podcasts/music, and I have a 3DS, Vita, DS and PSP if I want to play games. My phone is strictly a communication device (SMS and Twitter).

    3) When complete out-of-purchase experiences start making more money than the one-step-removed-from-gambling IAP parades that dominate mobile platforms, maybe. The key is to not imitate things that need buttons and instead go with games that are suitable for the platform.
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  14. #14
    Member Aurian's Avatar
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    Dec 2006
    I have downloaded or bought about two dozen games, over half being RPGs. I only really enjoyed one or two. The rest suffered from poor controls and awkward interfaces. I refuse to buy any more - now I stick with games that dont have a big investment to play (so either they let me try it for free, freemium games, or games that are under $5.... and games that are specifially designed for a small iPod screen.

    I hate freeium games because the majority require constant internet connection to play, and I want something I can play while I am out.... not really conductive to mobile gaming. That said, I do have two I enjoy for 5 minute spurts at home daily. If I enjoy a game enough, I might pay a small fee for a power up in lieu of "paying" for the game, otherwise I don't bother with the pay content.

    PS - I love my Vita and 3DS but I dont always have them with me when I am in line at shops or waiting for someone or *ahem* in a small room with nothing else to do

  15. #15
    mild peril silktail's Avatar
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    Feb 2009
    If I could ask you readers some questions this week, they would be:

    Do you play video games on your smartphone?
    I can play Snake on my phone, does that count?! . . . O.k. It's not actually that bad, but almost. (Good battery life though. )

    Instead I'll talk about my tablet, which I admittedly leave at home (but then I rarely play my handhelds when I'm out either).

    If not, what is keeping you from playing?
    I put them on my backlog, because I have other games I want to play first.

    (I.e. I'd like to play FF: Dimensions, but really want to finish things like Fire Emblem:Awakening & Luigi's Mansion 2 before that. I probably buy too many games!)

    Although if it helps; A new Legend of Zelda game would probably trump my backlog. So if that came out on my tablet I'd drop everything else to play it!

    Will mobile devices ever be respected as video game consoles?
    Well "ever" is a very long time.

    So you are more or less asking if mobile devices or handheld gaming will be killed off, before the console companies have the technology to combine them together.
    And if they did combine then people will just shun the parts they don't like, it should be the best of both worlds.
    Last edited by silktail; 09-13-2013 at 11:46 AM.

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