Attempts to bring 'core' gaming experiences to mobile have been fraught with tension. How do you deliver an in-depth experience to a smaller screen with limited control functionality? I'd argue that games like Ziggurat and Super Hexagon have effortlessly managed to bring something more substantial to mobile gaming, but what about the strategy games like Civilization? You'd expect touch controls to gel easily with but there hasn't been a definitive example yet. That's what Sid Meier hopes to change.
Speaking with Games Industry International, Sid Meier predictably talked a lot of sense about what it means to bring these experiences to a traditionally 'casual' gaming market. His argument is simple: core gamers are playing mobile games, and supporting that audience is important.
"There certainly is a discoverability challenge with mobile," he said, "and we're hoping to let our core gamers know that our games are going to be available on the iPhone and iPad, and maybe they'll tell their friends and help us with some discoverability. Every market and every platform has its own challenges and things that it does very well. So we're not looking to become mobile; we are looking to bring some of the same ideas that we've explored in PC and console to mobile, and we think we'll meet some of our core audience there and hopefully can even expand that audience."
As the mobile market grows, there absolutely no reason why more niche games can't be successful in a big way. The numbers are there, the market is there.
Sid Meier is currently working on Ace Patrol, a flight strategy game for iOS and I'm looking forward to seeing how he implements some of his traditional design ideas into this new space. iPhone gaming is typically seen as something cheap and disposable, but I've had some brilliant experiences with mobile games in the last couple of years and I'm keen to see that space develop. There are players like myself looking for quality in the mobile space; it makes sense to cater to that need.
Sid Meier: We must not forget the value of the core gamer [Games Industry International]