Explosive! That’s the only way to describe the growth of mobile gaming at the moment and it is only set for further growth over the next few years.
It is therefore of little surprise that MGM/Danjaq and Glu recently announced a deal for a free-to-play game for mobile platforms in the summer of 2015 in the run up to the Bond 24 release.
The timing was curious, as only a few days before I had wondered how long it would be that 007 came to mobile gaming. On the other hand recent games, the latest of which is 007 Legends, have been met with a tepid response from by gamers and reviewers alike.
Activision’s licence to publish 007 games ended after the release of 007 Legends and the game’s developer, Eurocom, folded shortly after. Prior to that, in 2011, Activision closed the developer behind Blood Stone, Bizarre Creations, which it bought in 2007; all to often the 007 games have missed the mark.
In fact gamers all look back to the days of Goldeneye 007 and the best received game of late has probably been Goldeneye: Reloaded, a reworking of the original Goldeneye game for Nintendo.
A new 007 game developer
The studio responsible for the forthcoming game is Glu Mobile. The company was formed out of the merger of US based Sorrent and UK games studio Macrospace in 2004, and first started operating as Glu a year later.
The company focuses exclusively on games for mobile platforms such as iOS, Android, Kindle and Windows Phone. Their games include free-to-play mobile versions of Call of Duty, Frontline Commando, Deer Hunter and RoboCop.
Mobile gaming is set to surge
Mobile is big. Really big. And it set to keep on getting bigger over the next few years.
As well as mobile phones, tablet computers have taken a big chunk out of the PC market, representing a massive opportunity for all software producers.
For games developers the opportunity is far greater than the market for console games as almost everyone in the First World now has a games machine in their pocket. At the end of 2013 smartphone were used by more than 20% of the population worldwide; adoption of tablets is growing even faster.
Making money from free mobile games
Because so many people are now able to play computer games on their devices the market is very different from the console market, where gamers were prepared to pay considerable amounts for games.
The game is offered for free in order for it to be downloaded by a far greater number of players. Their aim is to get it as widely installed as possible in order to get the players hooked.
While in the past games have required payment, the explosion in growth of smartphones and tablets has seen dedicated stores for downloading software, such as the iTunes Store and Google Play and software tends to be much cheaper than it has been in the past, or even free.
Although the basic game is given away, the software developer makes their money through advertising or through in-app purchases. With the latter model there are often a limited number of free levels that once completed require payment for the next game level.
The idea is to hook the player first and then get them to part with their money to continue playing.
The time is right for a mobile Bond game
While the recent 007 video games have all performed weakly, the move to mobile was inevitable and allows 007 gaming to shake off its recent disappointing past and push forward it a new direction that has mass market appeal.
It also makes sense to tie up a deal now. With 18 months before Bond 24 is released the game developers have time to create a new game to launch in the build up to Bond 24, whether or not it is actually based on any elements of the new film.
While there is no guarantee that the game will meet expectations, Glu does have a string of hits behind it to suggest the company can deliver. We can only way and see what the game is like when it hits our mobile devices in the summer of 2015 – all for the grand cost of zero.