In a recent tweet, Niantic, the developer of the popular mobile game Pokemon Go, made a joke about the game’s players going outside. The tweet, which has since been deleted, read, “95% of critics praise going outside, with 100% audience approval. #getoutside.” The tweet was met with immediate backlash from Pokemon Go players, many of whom are disabled or live in rural areas and cannot easily go outside to play the game. The tweet also raised questions about the future of mobile gaming, and whether or not games that require players to go outside are sustainable.
The Problems of Location-Based Mobile Gaming
In recent years, there has been a growing trend of mobile games that require players to go outside. These games, which are often called “location-based games,” use GPS to track players’ movements and allow them to interact with the game world in real time. Pokemon Go is one of the most popular location-based games, and it has been credited with helping to revive the mobile gaming market.
However, location-based games also have their limitations. Players who are disabled or live in rural areas may not be able to easily go outside to play these games. This can create a sense of exclusion for these players, and it can also lead to them feeling like they are missing out on the fun.
Niantic’s tweet about “going outside” only served to highlight these limitations. The tweet was seen by many players as a way for Niantic to dismiss the concerns of disabled and rural players. It also raised questions about whether or not Niantic is committed to making its games accessible to everyone.
The Future of Mobile Gaming
The future of mobile gaming remains uncertain, with the possibility that location-based games may continue to be popular or fade away over time. However, for mobile games to be successful in the long run, they must prioritise inclusivity and accessibility for all players, regardless of their abilities or location.
Developers must be mindful of the diverse needs of their players when designing mobile games. This includes ensuring that games are accessible to players with disabilities, with support for a variety of input devices such as touchscreens, joysticks, and buttons. It is also important to make sure that games can be played in rural areas where internet connections may be weak, by minimising data requirements or allowing offline play. Identifying and addressing accessibility issues before game release is crucial in creating a positive gaming experience for all players.
By prioritising inclusivity and accessibility, developers can create mobile games that are enjoyed by a wide audience, fostering connection and fun among players. The future of mobile gaming can indeed be bright, with games that are accessible to everyone, regardless of their abilities or location.