Mobile sports games are one of the most enduring and popular games in the mobile market. A cursory glance at the App Store download chart reveals that Retro Bowl, True Skate and Football Manager Mobile are the biggest games among them. To a certain extent, they give players the opportunity to realize their sports fantasies and enjoy a series of sports-based gaming experiences. However, unlike host developers, mobile sports game developers generally have more freedom in licensing.
You will notice that only one of the three games mentioned above is licensed, which means that it works with real-life sports brands and IP to bring in real players, coaches and teams. The other two use their own fictional characters, teams and scenes to enrich their world. Although games like FIFA and Madden dominate AAA games, mobile devices can be said to provide a wider variety of sports games, some of which use famous licenses and familiar faces, while others choose not to. . In order to gain insight into the reasons behind each method and how this seemingly simple decision brings a unique experience, we talked with two mobile sports developers sitting on either side of the fence. On the one hand, they see the license as the entrance to the existing fan base and popularity.
Tom Shoenhair, vice president of product at Nifty Games, said: “The performance we have received from authorized partners is incredible. It is the developer behind NFL Clash, which is the most recently launched American football game, in close cooperation with the Rugby League, by Patrick Star decorations such as Mahomes and Ezekiel Elliott. Rather than treating the NFL license as a quota for the team to fill, it is better to provide Nifty Games with an existing foundation.
“Having a license actually allows the team and the game to freely express their creativity and innovation.”
When asked whether there is a difference in creative agency between licensed games and non-licensed games, the answer is also yes: “Having an authorization actually provides the team and the game with freedom of creativity and innovation, because the authorized party wants to get the same as the game. The result of the team,” Sean Haier continued. So, this combination of respected franchise rights and enthusiastic developers seems to be financially and creatively fruitful.
Similarly, through the real-time service model we have seen in many free mobile games, smart authorization can attract the attention of fans for a longer period of time. With the end of a season, players and coaches will continue to move forward, and the game can easily stay ahead. Shoenhair agreed. He said “We don’t understand why the game can’t last forever” and can dynamically adjust players or teams based on their real performance. The NFL license does not restrict Nifty Games, but allows the studio to integrate the gameplay and design of its title into the faces and teams in real life to attract and retain fans. In the end, this is Nifty’s focus, Shoenhair said, “We have deeply researched who our audience is… and most importantly, how we make them happy.”
On the other hand, many mobile developers want to avoid being associated with existing licenses and franchises, and in the process shape their own stars and stories. This is where OutOfTheBit gets involved. This studio in South London is behind Super Arcade Racing and its successor Super Arcade Football. Both of these games give up any license connection and instead use their own team, competitors, and gameplay.
For OutOfTheBit, this is all the fun of Super Arcade Football. Ali Motisi, the founder of OutOfTheBit, said: “It happened in another universe in the 1990s… We wanted to divert our attention away from the real world and focus on the pure essence of making football interesting.” More creative agency, so that the team can subvert the expectations of the football game. “This is our motivation for not using permission-to capture the joy of football without the need for detailed and accurate simulations.”
“We want to divert our attention from the real world and focus on the pure essence of making football fun.”
Likewise, they see Super Arcade Football as some kind of mobile time capsule; the kind of game that will be as playable and visually impactful as it is now in 20 years. This is another reason behind the unlicensed method, which they call “liberation”-give up permission, tell your own original story, and create a visual style that is different from any visual style you see in licensed sports games ability.
Where will sports games on mobile devices go?
The work of Nifty Games and OutOfTheBit does not have a clear right or wrong method, but emphasizes that the types of mobile sports are more diverse than ever. Studios can choose to use a license, gaining the potential long-term appeal of familiar names and franchises in the process, or choose not to use a license to allow the creation of completely different titles.
Although NFL Clash and Super Arcade Football may be completely different in appearance, gameplay, and functionality, their creators’ love of sports and their desire to provide players with an engaging experience are based on them.
Therefore, whether you choose licensed or unlicensed mobile sports games, there is definitely a game for you on the market. This is a booming genre, and more and more games have no shortage of ideas, whether by combining licenses with unique and innovative gameplay, or they can stand up without anyone else.
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