EDITORIAL: Hey Developers…You’re Doing Mobile Gaming Wrong!

After years of failed attempts at gaming on mobile devices such as the NGAGE, it has become socially acceptable to play and even advocate gaming on your cell phone. While many people enjoy Angry Birds and Modern Combat: Sandstorm on their devices,  developers are overlooking the huge potential of mobile gaming integration with your console.

Last week I spent a good amount of time discussing FIFA 11 careers with a friend at work. Often we get into lengthy conversations about our players and tactics. Perhaps we get a little carried away as my friend logged on to www.this11.com and we started searching for weakness in his squad.

It hit me at that moment: why can’t EA Sports create the same kind of application for my phone, tablet, or web based interface with FIFA 11 integration?  Maybe I could transfer the saved files to my device. FIFA 11 saves your Profile and settings on their servers for online play so why can’t I have the ability to continuously sync one save file in that manner so I can access it from my cell phone or a remote PC.  It would a giant leap towards synergy in gaming when we can ultimately edit databases, characters, or in-game content from our personal devices on the go. It might give that $10 Online Access charge some credibility.

Of course this is not specifically just for FIFA 11. Any sports title or game could utilize the same features. There’s apps for World of Warcraft that already allow such integration. EA even had applications for gamers trade and sign players in their online leagues. EA’s Ultimate Team feature has expanded to almost all of their games and represents the perfect opportunity to bridge the gap.

Pick out your starting squad for your next match up, search the free market for quality players or that young prospect you need, bid on auctions, put up our auction, and then allow us to train our virtual players. We could monitor our reserve squads or farm systems, sim their games, and keep abreast on all our player progress while away from the console. With access to a touchscreen mobile device, we could then create and draw out our own personal plays and tactics for our squads or individual players.

Perhaps we can’t wait to get home? Let us sim games through our phones and watch the match progress LIVE on our phones. If we don’t like what we see, let us stop the simming, save the match, and then when load up our save files on the consoles, we pick up the game where it saved.

For shooters, you could build apps that teach people the single player and multiplayer maps or a community app that will let clans plan strategies on their mobile devices.

For action adventure games or RPGs, we could manage our inventories, level up our characters, or study different areas of the game world.

There are many genres that would benefit from this type of integration. Is it a lot to ask of developers? Yes. But if they are going to ask me to buy new games as opposed to used ones, why should I not have my demands heard as well? Stop wasting your time with mini games like EA FIFA Football Superstar that have very little impact on my console gameplay and give me something that extends, enhances, and integrates with my gameplay at home.

I’m not alone in this desire. The video below is a mockup of a FIFA 11 application on a Windows Phone 7 device made a mobile design agency named Ribot . It shows there is a very real possibility for this level of integration.

It may be lot to ask but it can and should be done. If you want to keep making annual copies of your titles for me to purchase, make it worth my time. It’s not like I’m asking you for individual highlight reels of incoming rookies or remote play in Killzone 2…at least not yet.