Harry Potter looks to mobile gaming’s past, while Fortnite looks to the future

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery a newly launched mobile game set in the magical universe of JK Rowling, is not intrinsically a bad game. On paper, a Hogwarts role-playing game where you can take classes, cast spells, make friends with other students and experience a new Harry Potter story is a great thing. The problem with the game is not that premise; my biggest problem with Hogwarts Mystery is actually Fortnite .

This will take some explanations. Three or four years ago Hogwarts Mystery would fit comfortably in the Play Store and App Store. During an era in which free games like Candy Crush and Clash of Clans (and many, many clones) dominated the situation, and players were first introduced to the idea punitive of patience or payment systems, in which you essentially hit a wall in the game until the time runs out, which allows you to pay again. And, of course, the more you advance in a game, the longer mandatory tolls will start, inviting players to spend a couple of dollars from the real world to streamline the process.

That structure does not dominate the mobile space as it did before, but Hogwarts Mystery is still stuck in the past . Do you want to interact with almost anything in the environment? That will cost energy, that players only have a limited amount of, and it can take up to an hour to completely replenish once it has run out. (This can happen after a few minutes of play.) Players can, of course, spend a second coin, gems, to refill their energy, but gems are rewarded sparingly. Unless you are willing to pay some real money, in which case you can continue your adventure. History missions also have a time limit, so one hour long waits are required unless you are willing to invest the gems to activate them immediately. In addition, gems and coins (a third coin in the game) are also needed to customize your character in the game with new outfits and items, making it even more frustrating to be forced to use the limited supply of free for ] play the game. Unfortunately, developer Jam City has not done much to solve the problem, and users are constantly complaining about the game's subreddit, weeks after launch.

And again, for a certain era of mobile games, this would have been the same for the course. Years ago, I would probably have praised Hogwarts Mystery for offering a strong, story-based spin on a world of free mobile games that focused more on competitive multiplayer pay-to-win or infinite gaming. endless. puzzle. But then there's Fortnite whose smiling pet sits on my home screen, silently condemning almost everything about Hogwarts Mystery .

It's a difference that can be simply summarized: Fortnite first, encourages players to play, while Hogwarts Mystery seems more interested in getting players to pay. Much has already been written about the brilliance of Fortnite in the monetization scheme, which uses the Battle Pass concept to allow players to gradually unlock rewards for a fixed, seasonal price, along with additional cosmetic items that also They can be purchased directly. The key part of this is that it never asks players to pay more to enjoy the base game, nor does it offer any competitive advantage to those who spend.

Photo by Tom Warren / The Verge

Sure, your avatar may seem infinitely cooler than my free twitch, Twitch Prime rewarded as commander as he plunges you into the bus in a technicolor rainbow dressed as a suspicious avatar of John Wick-looking, but never affects anything that happens in the game. As things stand, I'm much more likely to pull out my phone to try to work in a quick round of Fortnite when I have a few free minutes Hogwarts Mystery because Fortnite ] does not seem to want to punish me for the act of playing. It is a more familiar ethos for consoles and PC players, who (in most cases) can pay a single initial price for their entertainment and then enjoy it without a constant decrease in value. It's something Fortnite has shown that it can be incredibly viable on mobile devices.

Part of this is just the nature of the game. Obviously, it's much harder for Jam City to create compelling story content for Harry Potter that players will quickly consume than it is for the much more repeatable version Fortnite to add some masks new and call is a day But also raises the question of why do Hogwarts Mystery free to play at all? It is closer to an interactive novel than a real game, and if the Harry Potter franchise has shown one thing, it is that fans will buy a lot from Harry Potter books . Or why not take a page from the Nintendo book and offer something like Super Mario Run where the initial gameplay is free, and then offer the complete unlocked experience for a single set purchase? Give Harry Potter fans try out the first chapters of a new Magical World story and then charge for the rest once they're hooked. It seems that it practically prints money (although it is worth noting that Nintendo did not see "acceptable profits" from Super Mario Run .)

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Games with limited systems such as This that they put barriers on how long people can play are inherently bad. I played an irresponsible limit amount of Fire Emblem Heroes over the past year, and that game verifies almost all free predatory game boxes in the book: limits to earning rewards, limits on how much time you can play, and a gambling slot system that encourages you to spend much more money than Hogwarts Mystery ever does. The difference is that Fire Emblem Heroes learned from the lessons of the first free titles and seems to respect my time, with the developers doubling the resistance, reducing the costs of the actions in the game, and recently , completely eliminating resistance requirements for most of the toughest battles in the game, allowing users to try to solve maps as many times as they want.

At this time, Hogwarts Mystery is stuck in an older era of mobile devices, which is content to make cash at low prices at popular franchises and uses cheap monetization tricks to get something out of extra money from your account. player instead of offering a strong or compelling gaming experience. But games like Fortnite finally show that mobile games are changing, and if Hogwarts Mystery wants to achieve some kind of resistance like the emblematic books whose name they market, they will need to consider some changes of their own. The solution is not exactly magical.

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