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Who are the "native" mobile gaming developers

11-11-2015, 10:31 AM
Joined: Nov 2015
Posts: 428
Who are the "native" mobile gaming developers

Over the past year, I've witnessed myself morph into primarily a mobile gamer. After years of playing on consoles, handhelds and PC I've arrived at a point where I've accepted that mobile gaming on phones and tablets is the future for people like me who appreciate gameplay above all other aspects of videogame entertainment.

While I've reached this broad understanding of the mobile gaming market, I'm still trying to figure out who the core publishers and developers are on mobile, or the "native" players in this market as I phrased it in the thread title.

One of the realizations I've had over the past year is that I really appreciate the companies that are mobile first. To me "mobile first" means that the developer spends years building a catalog of mobile games that they maintain on an ongoing basis, they establish a dialogue with their userbase while maintaining a relationship that involves receiving and incorporating feedback from end-users, and they create games that fully take advantage of this new gaming medium in a way that leads to experiences that can't be had on other platforms.

So please help me (and others) understand which companies are the backbone of mobile gaming - the professionals who will be creating games here long after the Ubisofts and the EA's of the world have moved on to the next new shiny thing, or gone out of business entirely.

I'll start with a few obvious ones along with my understanding of them (which you can freely correct, clarify or rebuttal, as per the intent of this thread).

A Sharp, LLC - When you drop $10 on a mobile game, you hope that it will be maintained for years to come. That's exactly what these folks have done with King of Dragon Pass, which launched in 2010 and was just updated last month. A Sharp not only maintains KoDP's functionality in the hectic iOS software environment, but they continue to add new content while polishing what's already there. Communicating with these folks on their Facebook page is also met with less than 24-hour response turnaround, in my experience.

Chimera Software - Developers who created and continue to maintain since 2011 another mobile gaming classic on iOS - Starbase Orion. As I understand it, this game has a loyal tight-knit community of followers who are constantly in very close contact with the developers providing a sustained stream of feedback and advice that results in gigantic updates to the game, bringing it ever closer to the ideal of perfect game balance that are the reason why games like chess and checkers have endured for centuries.

Douglas Cowley - While Doug's Hoplite hasn't been around as long as the aforementioned titles, he is on track to display a similar amount of devotion to maintaining the functionality and relevance of this amazing mobile game, which is probably the pinnacle of mobile gaming. It's so damn simple and elegant, while offering a broad range of customization options for the player and possessing a strategic depth not seen in most TBS/RTS games I've played. Hoplite exhibits a full embrace of gaming on mobile and it's one of the reasons I would keep gaming on my phone even if some other new medium came along and disrupted mobile's upward trend towards primacy in the world of videogames.

There are others I could add with lengthy justifications for singling them out as mobile "natives," but I'd rather others make submissions and explain their reasoning behind them as replies in the thread, which I'm eager to read.
11-13-2015, 08:03 AM
Simogo - They bring things like Device 6, which couldn't be played anywhere else.

Pixelbite Games - Bring awesome games and seems to listen to feedback from users. Space Marshals is so much fun.

RocketCat Games - They are getting better and better with each instalment.
11-13-2015, 08:06 PM
Joined: Jul 2015
Posts: 199
I'll throw our name into the ring for this. We've been working on mobile games since 2009. Even though Wonderspark as a company is new, mobile's been all we've been working on for a collective ~15 person-years (mostly at Self Aware Games, which is the company I previously co-founded).

For us, we're working on a game (http://forums.toucharcade.com/showthread.php?t=275544) that's designed specifically for when & where & how people play on iPhone. Short, bite-sized bursts of multiplayer fun that don't require any dexterity or time-pressure. The idea is that if you can't play it when you're in the bathroom or on a subway (and hopefully not confusing the two) then it's not actually a "mobile" game.