Strategy, a video game genre that has mutated with amazing ease. The most basic strategy, as we knew it in the late 90s and early 2000s, has welcomed different subgenres like city builder, simslife and even the turn-based action as we could see recently with Expeditions: Rome. These games have permeated the genre and have enlarged it, after all this more “classical” strategy it would have been lost in oblivion if this had not happened.
However, gender remains conceiving as one and only PC exclusive. Although it is true that the user of Steam, Epic Games, GOG or Ubisoft Connect are the target of the companies, examples are Crusader Kings 3, which has recently been released on consoles, or the old Age of Empires 2 that saw its opportunity to sneak into the beloved ps2show that there is no exclusivityor if?
The truth is that the situation is very curious. The genre covers the digital stores of Apple and Android, although it is not one that gets along especially well with mobile devices. The strategy as we know it on PC has not reached mobile or has lost part of its “charm” in that transfer, but why? The easy answer would be the impossibility of move controls from PC to a touch screen, although it would be to stay on the surface. In fact, we have seen shooters very important nowadays for PCs and consoles like Apex Legends Mobile or the future Call of Duty: Mobile, with the haste that those titles demand, so copying the controls format of the strategy on mobile should not be a problem.
It’s not easy, but the quick management and instant benefit of an RPG has permeated the mobile strategy
So,where is the difficulty? Although it is a cocktail of factors that we can hardly simplify, it is the rapid consumption and the own management of RPGs as an instant benefit service. Franchises like Total War or Age of Empires simmer; it’s very easy for the “action” not to start for a few hours, with most of the mechanics learned and some walkthrough completed.
This transferred to the mobile game is almost unfeasible. We are not talking about controlling large armies, something typical of large-scale real-time strategy, but the 4X strategy has also seen its core gameplay modified to adopt typical RPG progression, with a longest action-reward curve instead of rewarding player skill and playing time.
According to Alexa Friedman’s analysis on Linkedin about the time we spend playing games on mobile devices, there are nearly 2 billion gamers worldwide and on average we spend only 23 minutes to play. By adapting the very schematic format of progression of an RPG, with actions, abilities or units locked waiting for a challenge to unlock themprovides a sense of growth and discovery with each non-PC game play session.
This is the main stumbling block for strategy games on this platform when it comes to making the leap to mobile phones, but has it happened the other way around? The truth is that this permeability of the genre has meant that the strategy RPG has also made the leap to PC, with poor results. The one known as RPS (Role Playing Strategy), by design it is intended to create simple balance ruleswhen you start blocking units behind progression or allowing them to power up, it creates a huge imbalance in the design.