Just about 10 years ago, mobile gaming started to gain popularity as the technology kept evolving. Though all devices weren’t able to handle any large 3D racing games, leading to low interest. But over the past few years, the technology evolved faster than ever, and the community of mobile gaming started to grow. Today, even the largest and most well-known developers are making famous titles playable on phones. For some reason, not many of these racing games are being praised by reviewers or players. Yet, mobile gaming is an option for marketing. The question is, does it affect the brand in a positive way?
Why is mobile gaming such a big deal these days?
Recently, KUNOS-Simulazioni announced that the famous racing simulator Assetto Corsa is coming to Android and iOS this summer. No further details were given, but more news is expected in a few weeks. The studio stated that it’s a “mobile version in development“, meaning it’s probably not going to be an exact copy from the console version. But is this a good decision from the studio? It all depends on how much energy and resources they want to put into this project.
As far as I can tell, it’s all for marketing purposes. Providing players a free test version on mobile devices could attract them to join the console version as well. Since they’re all free-to-play games, there’s no direct income for the developers, with in-game purchases as the exception. In the case of Assetto Corsa, it’s most likely made for marketing since it’s been a whopping seven years since it was released on console.
According to Steam Charts, Assetto Corsa has gained a high number of players lately, but the more, the better, obviously. Their first title is still the best-selling title for KUNOS-Simulazioni. Personally, I’d say it’s not worth the effort unless they charge money for the mobile game. That, however, is yet to be confirmed. I’m sure they can squeeze more money out of the players since some are willing to get a real simulator on their phones.
The controversial decisions
Another franchise that has gained more attention from the mobile gaming community is Forza. Although they’re not entirely established within the mobile gaming industry, Turn 10 managed to release a pretty solid racing game called Forza Street, which hit the market just about 2 years ago. Despite its age, it’s still receiving updates. Considering the long period of support for this title, we could expect new ones to appear. That does not change the fact that it has received a surprising amount of criticism from players.
Forza Street is a project where the developers have put resources into the project but it still left a bad impression. A solid yet simple game. The graphics are on a totally different level if compared to, for instance, Project CARS GO. The problem here is that the franchise is known for having freedom. You can go wherever you want, in whichever direction, customise your car, put an awesome paint job on it; however, Forza Street is very limited.
It’s simply something you wouldn’t expect from such skilled developers like Turn 10 Studios, and it turned out very controversial in the end. The likes and dislikes ratio on the announcement trailer clearly show people’s thoughts about this whole project.
Comparing this to CSR, as they do have similarities, but CSR is scored much higher on the Play store (a 4.6/5 stars while Forza has 4.2/5). My personal theory is that CSR was originally meant to focus on drag racing specifically, hence the high score. Meanwhile, Forza wasn’t originally meant to focus on drag racing. It was a circuit racing game that was also developed on consoles. That leaves a disappointed fan base. I totally understand the player’s disappointment as I’m a Forza fan myself and definitely didn’t see this coming. Neither did I play it for too long because it’s very repetitive. As I previously mentioned, it’s indeed too limited compared to all other titles.
Even the best fail
Although some console developers succeed in the mobile gaming industry, there are those who don’t make a breakthrough. Project CARS GO was a project which sadly didn’t receive much attention, but when Slightly Mad Studios entered the mobile industry, they wanted to simplify by making “one-touch racing“… which may be a bit oversimplified. In other words, the racing consisted of tapping on the screen to accelerate and decelerate—no controlling or steering whatsoever.
The graphics were a slight disappointment, but overall, reviewers expressed it as a fiasco. This is a scenario where developers haven’t put enough resources into improving the gaming experience. Sadly, it creates a bad reputation. Even though I haven’t tried it yet, I’m most likely not getting my hands on it. One touch racing isn’t racing. It’s more of a reaction time test because I’m sure we all can agree that it’s not a complex game with barely any experience of actual racing.
It’s a title that most people have forgotten about. None of my friends, who are also racing fans, have heard of this, which indicates failed marketing. And in this case, I can’t tell whether Project CARS GO was released as a taste test of what’s available on consoles or if the developers wanted to be nice by casually giving players a free game. It truly did not live up to people’s expectations and left us disappointed. Even if we compare this to the console titles, I can straight out say there are no similarities. With several unsuccessful releases recently, such as Fast and Furious Crossroads and Project CARS 3, this is just another addition to the list of unsuccessful titles.
Although Slightly Mad Studios is going through such crises, they’re committed to delivering quality content in the future, especially for the next Project CARS title. I personally think Project CARS GO will remain half-baked, considering it’s forgotten and reviewers do not recommend it. Better leave it in the past and move on with the upcoming project.
Whether joining the mobile industry is great or not, it sure serves a purpose. Perhaps it’s a long-term solution for marketing. Or maybe it’s a complete waste of time. In conclusion, developers are probably looking to spread the word about their amazing console titles. That’s why they seek their way to the Play store because it’s a totally different community on mobile devices. In my opinion, I would say it’s worth the effort, only if the developers go all in. Otherwise the entire project will end up like Project CARS GO, which was rather an embarrassment. If you can’t live up to players’ expectations, then it’s all pointless.