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In 2024, native mobile games are endangered

Game Grape 2024/06/29 22:32

Text/Yiguang Flow

Yesterday, I saw that at the TapTap press conference, Lilith's new game "AFK2" is scheduled for August 8, and I think of an article they posted, which talked about "If I don't have time to play games, it doesn't mean I'm a Faker player" and "Is a game that can be played on PC a good game?" and other topics, which made me feel quite touched.

In the past year or two, I really can't love domestic mobile games, not that they are doing badly, on the contrary, everyone is doing well, but it is precisely because they are too good that they feel that "I don't deserve to play". The reason is that the volume of mainstream mobile games has increased, which is time-consuming, labor-intensive, and capacity-consuming, but the experience on mobile phones is not necessarily very good, and various circles are also noisy.

Slowly, it seems to be getting harder and harder to find a more mobile game "main game", as if this kind of mobile game has become an endangered species.

Game Grape, 2024, native mobile game endangered


This phenomenon is not unique, and most of my friends of the same age are gradually moving away from mobile games for several reasons.

Older buddies than me, but those who have more work pressure, basically can't play "big games", because most of these mobile games take longer and concentrate on playing. It's okay to try the water, but once you play for a long time, it will make people feel stressful, so it's better to make time to play "masterpieces" on PC and consoles.

There is also a colleague who is also quite complaining about mobile games, and the money spent on new games is getting less and less year by year. Because he found that after the popularity of numerical cards and COK-like SLGs, the krypton feedback of mainstream mobile games on the market weakened too quickly, first, the threshold gradually piled up, and second, it soon did not retain its value, so he felt that it was not worth spending this money, so he slowly stayed away.

Game Grape, 2024, native mobile game endangered

A good brother who also played the second game with me was gradually withdrawing from the circle, saying "nothing new". There are fewer and fewer innovative mobile games, and games that pile up resources, reuse a set of gameplay, and pay for games are coming in batches. A little deeper, I found that everyone played circles, content, public opinion, and rhythm, and there were more off-board moves than the game itself...... It seems that the game has become a supporting character instead.

Game Grape, 2024, native mobile game endangered

Some colleagues also analyzed that the current market trend is to screen players. If you look at the head mobile game, it can no longer be called a pure mobile game, everyone is doing a multi-terminal market, and they are trying to bring the game experience closer to the PC side or even the console side...... So the pressure is on the player, using fragmented time to play on the mobile phone, but the picture is not satisfied, the battle is unpleasant, and the plot is not finished, even if you buy the most expensive iPad, you have to bring a handle for a few more days of business trips; And small-scale mobile games, the famous ones are basically the App versions of best-selling mini games, and there are many deep pits.

After a small survey around me, I also suddenly realized: pure mobile games that can be used as a meal are really becoming more and more rare.


Looking back at the early years of the explosion of mobile games, many games were refreshing and full of surprises.

The first surprise came from the operation, because the advent of the touch screen changed the interaction logic of mobile games. The screen swiping of "Fruit Ninja" and the long-press micro-operation of "Angry Birds" are examples of fun; Later, the market wars of MOBA, FPS, and TPS games optimized the design of virtual buttons for mobile games over and over again.

Seven or eight years ago, there was no shortage of teams in China that tried to innovate operations, such as mobile games such as "Blade of the Wing" and "Blade of Shadow", which used gestures to operate starting actions and combos, which was very innovative.

Game Grape, 2024, native mobile game endangered

What impressed me the most was the design of "White Cat Project": with only one thumb operation, you can complete all the actions of the protagonist in the top-down action game, such as walking, running, dodging, basic combos, and three sets of active skills.

However, in the past few years after "Genshin Impact", with the blurring of the boundaries of mobile games, the innovation and surprise brought by new games have been decreasing year by year.

In terms of the general trend of mobile game development, most of the mainstream tracks choose content innovation with a shorter feedback cycle, while the non-mainstream tracks plunge headlong into mini games to incubate products that meet the standards of purchase creativity + payment depth.

It's just that after reading too much bizarre content, you will eventually get tired. A friend in the gaming circle said that the game she once loved had good content and good art, but the gameplay was difficult to describe. Now she is basically in a state of semi-retreat, only occasionally seeing a good version and a favorite PV, she will go in to recharge her money, and purely support a wave.

Nowadays, there are many games on the market with stacking, cross-end, immersion, and 3A as selling points, and their core gameplay is mostly to carry some popular gameplay on consoles and PCs, which is difficult to call fresh for senior players; At the other extreme, there are small games with small ideas, which make innovations in growth feedback and commercialization systems (such as opening boxes), but either the core gameplay is relatively weak, or the payment is too cruel to players.

In this kind of stereotyped environment, it is too difficult to innovate and break through.

Speaking of the interactive innovation mentioned above, there is no new hardware environment to impact the market, so it is basically difficult to make a breakthrough in the past 7 or 8 years;

Similarly, the threshold for gameplay innovation is also very high, and it basically requires the producer and the main word to accumulate for ten or decades before there can be a big breakthrough. For example, Lilith's characteristic is to play to drive innovation as the main strategy, but to make innovative results also have to rely on step by step exploration, ten years ago they relied on the gameplay innovation of the second generation of cards to become a dark horse, and then relied on the innovation and accumulation of generations of products, only now there is a more integrated gameplay innovation product "AFK2".

Game Grape, 2024, native mobile game endangered


With the decreasing sense of innovation and surprise year by year, today's top mobile games are becoming more and more homogeneous, and are actively closing the difference from other platform games. Therefore, the more blurred the boundaries of mobile games, the fewer titles there are for players who don't have the time or equipment to play big games.


In fact, for the above kind of people, it's not that they don't play those big games, but on this basis, what they need more is "an experience that suits them".

Specifically, the first is that the operation experience is more in line with people's habits of using mobile phones, such as whether it supports vertical screen operation, and whether there is the best experience under vertical screen operation; The second is the rhythm of the game, whether it can provide a fragmented and more embedded short-term experience; The last is the completeness of the experience, whether you can have a complete game experience in the irregular time period of using the mobile phone for a single few minutes ~ ten minutes.

It's just that there are too few games on the market today that delve into a purely mobile-based experience.

Lilith's AFK2 is a case in point, a game that has not only worked on differentiated packaging, but also done a lot of homework on a purely mobile-like experience. Let's talk about aesthetics first, this game does not go to the hard and rigid industrial 3A mobile game, but through the accumulation of two generations of products, to delve into the art style with international aesthetics, and after the second generation adds 3D performance, the three-dimensional sense is also further improved.

Game Grape, 2024, native mobile game endangered

The vertical screen is also easier to show the overall charm of the character

At the same time, "AFK2" also has a lot of detailed processing in the "visual performance under the vertical screen", which is more obvious with the processing of camera movement, and uses the lens that conforms to the direction of the player's gaze to present the narrative of the picture. There are also many details that are not easy to see, such as the special effect (curve world) treatment of the horizon of the game scene, which can make the edges of the screen slightly curved when the character is walking, so as to expand the player's field of vision and present a sense of the big world.

Game Grape, 2024, native mobile game endangered

Talking about the operation design, since the overseas test, many players think that the vertical screen design of "AFK2" is very satisfactory. After all, the vertical screen operation itself is more suitable for the life and work rhythm of middle-aged people, and "AFK2" also integrates more refined picture quality, 3D effects, and large world scenery on the basis of the vertical screen, which is very different from the look and feel of similar products.

You can imagine that when you are fishing or eating, you can also play a game with one hand, light a cigarette with the other, or pick up a piece of beef and put it in your mouth, with beautiful pictures and a large world that you can play with one hand, so that "playing mobile games" is more comfortable?

Let's talk about the gameplay, although the core gameplay of this game is to idle the player, but in fact, it also integrates multiple levels and types of systems and gameplay systems such as wilderness world exploration, card development, and in-game terrain strategy battles. This allows players to be online at any time for two or three minutes to collect a dish, or to spend a few more minutes exploring and solving puzzles in the big world, which is very flexible to play.

Game Grape, 2024, native mobile game endangered

All in all, for people who only have enough time and energy to play a pure mobile game, everyone's requirements are nothing more than to have a good time, krypton is worth it, the burden is small, and you can play anytime and anywhere, of course, it is best to have some adult taste. So from this point of view, Lilith's "AFK2" is very clever and captures the needs of those ignored players in the current era in the gap of the competition of top mobile games.

Broadly speaking, the demand for 3A boutique mobile games is very high nowadays, and every detail can be debated into a hot topic. But there are still a larger group of "silent majority" in the market, including people who only like leisure and entertainment, people who don't have time to play triple-A but don't have time now, and people who have the pursuit of image quality but can't keep up with the equipment, but they didn't have a choice in the past.


Now, Lilith has picked up the term "original mobile game" again through the misplaced competition of AFK2, but the meaning is very different from that of earlier years.

In the early years, native mobile games referred to App games. But when we talk about "native mobile games" now, it's a bit similar to what we said earlier about "pure mobile games". Last year, we spoke to Lilith and Zhang about their strategyIt mentioned that one of their next goals is to make "native mobile games", that is, games designed specifically for mobile experiences, rather than triple-A mobile games, cross-terminal mobile games, and console-style mobile games.

From the perspective of demand, it is easy to understand this kind of decision-making, there are people who like to chase the young and unrestrained and flowery world, and naturally there are also people who like to enjoy tea in a relaxed and comfortable way, but now the general trend is more to pursue the former, and the latter has become an "endangered species". But is that right? On the contrary, "AFK2", with an estimated turnover of 40 million US dollars (about 289 million yuan) in the first month overseas, topped the overseas revenue growth ranking of Sensor Tower in April this year, becoming Lilith's current highest-grossing game.

A crisis is both a danger and an opportunity, so why can't the "endangeredness" of the original mobile game be seen as an opportunity for "rare things are precious"?

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