Yesterday’s News Today

Lock up your consoles, the Marauding Mobile Monster cometh from the north. Also, [the lack of] authenticity in military shooters.

Medal of Honor “authentic”, according to EA person.

“Medal of Honor is a key product for us this year. It’s on Frostbite 2 technology. It’s clearly the most authentic shooter out there. It’s based on the reality of what’s happening now. It’s designed with Seals. And they’re giving us lots of input on what it’s like to be in these actual situations.”

“It’s clearly the most authentic shooter out there.”

“authentic shooter”

‘Realism’ has long been the buzzword for industry figures hawking military festivals of pew, although you could just as well replace ‘realism’ with ‘authentic’ as EA Labels president Frank Gibeau has done in an interview with But realism in most military shooters – particularly in Medal of Honor and its ilk – is patterned on a tired old Hollywood ideal; swooping cameras, rousing scores, Tom Hanks and tales of valor viewed through a solemn, grainy lens. War isn’t hell, it’s hella fun! As you’d expect, it’s difficult to encroach upon genuine authenticity when a game like Medal of Honor is trying to sell in droves.

This calls to mind comments made by Amnesia developer Thomas Grip earlier in the year. Grip asserted videogames could never be as emotionally charged as film (or something to that effect). I agree, but even if you don’t his comments certainly ring true here. Medal of Honor is never going to capture the authenticity/drama of war like Apocalypse Now or The Thin Red Line or Generation Kill do while it’s appealing to millions of people who are content shooting meandering pixels in the face. Gaming is much nearer Saving Private Ryan than Coppola’s masterpiece, unfortunately.

Medal of Honor may be authentic in at least one sense; its weapons no doubt modelled and tailored to look and feel as they do in the real world, its soldiers programmed to lumber about battlefields and pockmarked walls in the hazy distance to crumble with startling fidelity thanks to Frostbite 2.0. But if its bellicose comrades are anything to go by, it’s going to have you marching back to the last checkpoint long before it’ll let you ponder over the charred, forsaken carcass of an eleven year old boy or wrestle with the trauma of watching your buddies die around you. 

The industry desperately needs a new buzzword. 

Mobile gaming no threat to consoles, says Battlefield dev.


It’s rare that a week slips by without someone ringing the death knell on at least one corner of the games industry. Last week, EA heavyweight Peter Moore spoke for every developer on Planet Earth when he told Kotaku “microtransactions will be in every game, but the game itself or the access to the game will be free.” This week, hell every week, someone is warbling about how King Mobile is set to gallop across land and sea, swallowing up all the passe consoles as he goes. Here’s some fire and brimstone remarks that herald from the mouth of ngmoco bigwig Ben Cousins (ngmoco, of course, a mobile/Facebook developer):

“I believe that sometime during the next console generation, globally, both the revenue and the market share for games will be larger in mobile than it is for console.”

“I believe Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo won’t produce dedicated hardware past the next generation.”

“I believe traditional game companies like EA will be purchased by existing digital companies, or close entirely.”

“I believe consoles will be the next hardware to have a major reduction.”

DICE’s Karl Magnus Troedsson went on record to counter the unfading rush of premature commiserations, confirming to EDGE that things aren’t as bleak as Cousins and his associates would have us believe:

“Yes, people are playing more on their mobile devices,” opines the Battlefield developer. “But I don’t see people playing on other SKUs as a problem for triple-A developers, it’s actually the contrary. I think people engaging in any kind of gaming is good for all games, because it means that people will play more.”

“I consider myself to be a hardcore, triple-A kind of player”, he explains, “and I definitely play more on my mobile devices now, but I don’t play less on my other devices as a result. When I’m home, I want to play games with the absolute most hi-def, best audio, best visuals that I can get out of a gaming session. And that will come from dedicated hardware or a very high-end PC.”

It’s almost as if 15 million people bought Battlefield 3 on console and PC instead of/as well as on mobile devices! 

Just like there will always be developers that care enough about creating games that haven’t been designed from the ground up to pilfer money from you at every juncture, there will always be developers that want to create games like The Last of Us and Portal and Skyrim. And there will always be dedicated gamers willing to buy those games; gamers that don’t see mobile devices as a direct alternative. Because they’re not.

The proliferation of smart phones and other mobile devices has opened gaming up to a new audience and that audience is vast. But it’s also fickle; forever foraging for the latest flavour of the month. Look at Draw Something – its user-base slashed dramatically in the space of a couple of weeks. 

Things will undoubtedly change, but the swing won’t be as radical as people like Cousins are hoping for. Lest we all forget Zynga’s current state of parlous.

“When I’m talking about mobile, I’m talking about the operating system, not the device,” Cousins declared, while riding his bicycle around the stage at GDC in reverse, “I believe these operating systems will start to appear in other classes of devices, other than just mobile phones and tablets. In the future I think mobile gaming maybe won’t be so mobile, and we may need a new definition for them.”

Ohhh, I don’t know Ben, perhaps we could call them games consoles and PCs?

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