I think they would, simply because it is a mobile version. The mobile market should have taught us these lessons already. It is a market of different players -- and play sessions -- than we might be familiar with when sitting down in front of our PCs. It doesn't need to be a seperate beast, however, and it can be enjoyed as an extension of the standard PC market. In fact, call me a convert. I paid for and downloaded Order and Chaos Online as soon as I could. Will I sub past the initial three free months? I don't know, but let me tell you why I think the game and the company matter.
EverQuest loading screen would take so long that you could go make a sandwich and come back before it was done.
"Perhaps this is why I have such an optimistic attitude about the mobile market -- I've been through it before, and it came out just fine."
Could Order and Chaos Online be the next big thing? Possibly. I think it is important to note for a few other reasons, though. Even if the company and the game were to fold up tomorrow, their impact has already been felt.
First, Gameloft shows that if a company just shuts up and works, it can have a decent, even reall good, mobile version of a game. It can be a Halo-style shooter, a Fast and Furious driving game, or even a World of Warcraft-style MMO, but it can still be done. Through Gameloft's games, we are able to see what mobile gaming is capable of and how far our devices can be pushed. Those hours-long sessions that Gameloft, and Spacetime Studios for that matter, has convinced players to partake in have shown that a mobile device can be used that long, and comfortably.
Third, Gameloft is helping to drive the technology forward. Just as PC gaming has done for the prices of graphics cards, RAM, and other essential gaming components, Gameloft and its cache of cloned titles are showing that the mobile interest is definitely there. Mobile gaming has gone through the roof over the last few years mainly because of the availability of the devices. No trip to the mall would be complete without seeing at least a dozen tweens with their very own smartphones. You can now purchase some of the finest phones on the market for 100 dollars or less. All of these new devices translate to more things being done on them -- and what better thing to kill time but a game? A publisher like Gameloft gives us those games -- original-looking IPs or not -- and that means more money and a broader market for more original, independent, and better games.
"Yes, yes, I know -- why should we reward a company like Gameloft, a company that has shown it is not above practically stealing more popular titles and publishing them as its own?"
Gameloft is simply providing a service. You published a great game but don't want to make a mobile version of it? That's fine -- Gameloft will do it for you. As long as what it does is legal, I couldn't care less about its originality or inspiration. If I didn't like the original game, I won't play the mobile version. If I did, I will just stick with -- you guessed it -- the original.
So if you were to ask me whether I will be playing Order and Chaos Online after my three free months are over, I would tell you that I probably will not. I bought it out of curiosity and to see how well it worked across my different devices. (It works wonderfully. Gameloft is good at that.) But I don't subscribe to World of Warcraft -- so why should I to this?
Still, Order and Chaos Online is showing that mobile gaming can be taken much further. Gameloft is helping spread the idea of gaming on your mobile device beyond what any article, concept or highbrow discussion can. The company simply shuts up and publishes games. That is often better for a new market than any string of unknown, original games. Anyway, don't worry. Once Gameloft brings in the money and the attention to the mobile market, the more original titles will come.
Each week in MMObility, Beau Hindman dives into the murky waters of the most accessible and travel-friendly games around, including browser-based and smartphone MMOs. Join him as he investigates the best, worst, and most daring games to hit the smallest devices! Email him suggestions, or follow him on Twitter, Facebook, or Raptr.