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Sonic the Mobile Hedgehog: How Sonic Should Play On Mobile Devices


Indigo Rush
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Runners actually already nails the fundamentals of a mobile Sonic really well (considering that it was designed by 3 guys), it's just hampered by poor balancing and a bad F2P scheme that doesn't affect the fundamental game but makes westerners give it 0/10 for some reason.

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The only other avenue that Sonic could tackle on mobile that he hasn't yet, I think, could be something akin to pinball or pachinko. An arcade-like game where Sonic and friends, in their spinball forms, bounce across a table and collect goodies and bash robots. There's some potential in that idea, I think.

For what it's worth, Sonic Spinball is on the iOS marketplace, and for a game with onscreen buttons it doesn't actually control all that badly. I actually wouldn't mind seeing a pinball game built specifically for smartphones as long as they keep away all that freemium bullshit this time.

Besides that, well admittedly I only really skimmed the OP, but I still feel I should say that smartphones have depressingly simple methods of control and games should be built for it with that in mind - so straight up taking a page out of the 1990's play book doesn't really work. Most of the current mobile-specific titles have already hit on the most obvious approaches, though, so nothing else immediately comes to mind besides, well, ditching the freemium bullshit.

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When it comes to Sonic mobile games I would love for there not to be any video ads ever. I thought Sega was going to revolutionize mobile gaming when they brought out Sonic Runners because it did not have any ads whatsoever and they gave you plentiful amounts of items to use. Then worldwide release came and they decided to follow the evil F2P that nobody likes. I think that as long there is no video ads and not lots of pop up ads then any Sonic game should be okay to play. That is the only bad thing about Sonic on mobile is the ads especially video ad.

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Besides that, well admittedly I only really skimmed the OP, but I still feel I should say that smartphones have depressingly simple methods of control and games should be built for it with that in mind - so straight up taking a page out of the 1990's play book doesn't really work. Most of the current mobile-specific titles have already hit on the most obvious approaches, though, so nothing else immediately comes to mind besides, well, ditching the freemium bullshit.

This is how I'm seeing it, more or less. Seems that the gameplay for these games is actually fine on their own, but the freemium / microtransactions model these games ship with (and in Runners' case, the poor optimization / frequent bugs that the game has been plagued with since the worldwide launch) take a big steaming pile of doo doo on any consistent fun that could be had. Requirements such as the game always having to be online and locking characters behind ridiculous social media campaigns (the whole Facebook friends requirement needed to unlock Amy) also dampen down the experience.

The least they could do is make a paid version of these games that addresses all of the above issues among others. That would at least create mobile Sonic games that people would be happy about AND would be willing to spend their money on.

Edited by Gabe
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the least they could do is make a paid version of these games that addresses all of the above issues among others. That would at least create mobile Sonic games that people would be happy about AND would be willing to spend their money on.

Now here is where I'm lost. How much do you want this game to cost? $9.99? If it was $10, would you buy this? (I'll come back to this in this post)

And Sega would still have to find a way to pay for the servers weekly/monthly for the leaderboards and tournaments. So NO doubt there will still put ads in the game or make us pay a monthly subscription.

Runners will forever have ads, as they have to maintain the leaderboard. They would have to take out the leaderboard (and events!) or replace the whole thing with Facebook, which Transformed Mobile uses and let Facebook servers handle it. But then, cheaters can run wild AND people who don't like Facebook will get angry.

Sega wouldn't careless if people hate Facebook, but the cheaters is a massive thing and Sega will no control over that if they moved to the whole leaderboards to Facebook.

Now the last thing I want to discuss is money and the roulette. We should all by now, know that Sega would prefer to grab our cash in a disgusting way then to do it, any other way. Making Runners a $10 game with ads, will definitely put off thousands of potential players because either they don't have the money, or think it's stupid to buy a game yet see ads.

Putting the game at $10, without any premium in game currency such as RSR ALSO limits Sega from cashing in more money to their pockets. There are people buying $60 worth of RSRs for goodness sake. And if you are in Sega's boots, you wouldn't do anything, in fact you'll probably smile. More money in to your pocket. It's extremely hard to turndown something that is making you MORE money to something that is going to make you even less.

The roulette system that was introduced in Runners explains perfectly how it is in Japan when it comes to gaming. Roulette games are popular in Japan. Konami saw this and that's why they are virtually leaving the video game industry. How can the Japanese like this, I don't know. But we don't.

We are seeing microtransactions now in $60 full games now, let alone F2P games. The microtransaction system will not go away, until every single one of us in the world stops giving these companies money for a microtransaction.

I've stopped playing Runners (and deleted it) because I was about to spend like $50 on it and when I was about to do it, knew I almost got caught in Sega's gambling web. That's what Sega wants. The temptation. Me to gamble my $50 on buddies/characters that I may not want. Then I have to spend another $50...

No. Instead, spent $4 on Lara Croft GO and had more fun the first hour of that game then the 100+ playing time in Sonic Runners. (Btw 20 hours of that playing time is spent watching ads and loading screens).

To conclude, don't think Sega isn't going to make Runners a paid game in the future. Or make an alternative version. The whole game isn't designed at all to make it a paid game. There is no quick fix, unless you want them to stop making events, the leaderboard cheat-free and move the leaderboards to Facebook. And if you played Runners, you know that the events are the BEST part of Runners.

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When I said I was asking for a paid version of Runners I wasn't literally asking for what currently exists plus an additional price tag simply to use it; hence why I clarified for said paid version to address all of the other issues I and other people have with the game. You're putting words in my mouth.

If making a paid version of Runners would mean they have to get rid of the ads, leaderboards, roulette, microtransactions, etc. then yes, by all means go for it. I personally don't care much for those aspects of the game (especially since in a lot of cases, stuff like the roulette and needing red rings in order to progress can be extremely frustrating at best and downright demoralizing at worst in terms of how they affect the game), I'm just interested in the core gameplay. The paid version game could be a barebones version of the free version that currently exists, with (presumably) just a few characters, and no animal/Red Ring/standard ring/buddy/someotherthing systems; and I would still buy it if it meant I could go directly to the main experience.

I'm not even asking for it to replace the free version that currently exists, so I'm not sure why this request makes it sound like I don't want Sega to make money. A version of Runners one can buy that just cuts all of (what I perceive to be) the fluff and allows them to play the 2D runner levels is all I'm requesting. It's not even as if such a game is not even possible, Rayman Jungle Run and Fiesta Run do it just fine (Rayman Adventures introducing microtransactions notwithstanding...).

Edited by Gabe
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And Sega would still have to find a way to pay for the servers weekly/monthly for the leaderboards and tournaments. So NO doubt there will still put ads in the game or make us pay a monthly subscription.

This is nowhere near as expensive as you seem to think it is. Hell, plenty of console Sonic games had leaderboards that paid for themselves and didn't need to fleece their consumers for extra cash to do it, so I'm not sure where you get this impression that maintaining servers requires this ridiculous cornucopia of microtransactions or ads for. A steady supply of new players is all they ever need for maintenence costs, and you even said it yourself - consistent events are a good way to keep attention and grab more of it.

I'm almost tempted to call this apologism, but I'll dial it back a bit and just say this: there is literally nothing borne of necessity about microtransactions, it's just a psychological web designed to net a theoretically infinite sum of money from individual users rather than a single lump sum for just being able to play the game. And frankly, even assuming you're right, I don't think the loss of some online leaderboards is that big a fucking deal if it means just being able to pick up a game and play it with zero bullshit like... I dunno, every decent Sonic game before it.

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I didn't put words in your mouth, it was a misunderstanding. And I apologise for that.

Rayman Jungle Run and Fiesta Run are level based which makes the game more engaging to complete then an endless runner. So you can't compare at all.

I guess that's an option to have a barebones version. But I personally wouldn't pay for it because it's "barebones", meaning you only have Sonic, Tails and Knuckles going through 3 zones and...that's it. No score to beat other than your own, no bragging, no new characters, no buddies, no events...it took away most of Sonic Runners' life.

I mean once you finish episode 50, what are you going to do? Play episode 50 over and over and you wouldn't get bored?

Well if Sega has your money, they wouldn't care I guess. But I don't know, if I'm ever going back to Runners and this barebones was an option, I'll still go with the F2P version. At least I'll play with Amy.

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This is nowhere near as expensive as you seem to think it is. Hell, plenty of console Sonic games had leaderboards that paid for themselves and didn't need to fleece their consumers for extra cash to do it, so I'm not sure where you get this impression that maintaining servers requires this ridiculous cornucopia of microtransactions or ads for. A steady supply of new players is all they ever need for maintenence costs, and you even said it yourself - consistent events are a good way to keep attention and grab more of it.

I'm almost tempted to call this apologism, but I'll dial it back a bit and just say this: there is literally nothing borne of necessity about microtransactions, it's just a psychological web designed to net a theoretically infinite sum of money from individual users rather than a single lump sum for just being able to play the game. And frankly, even assuming you're right, I don't think the loss of some online leaderboards is that big a fucking deal if it means just being able to pick up a game and play it with zero bullshit like... I dunno, every decent Sonic game before it.

Well that's because those console leaderboards don't need any moderation, it HAD moderation in the first few months from the game release, but now go on ANY Sonic console leaderboard and you'll see hacked scores.

You can't have that in Sonic Runners. That would mean cheaters will get the best gifts while the legit players get the worst gifts. It is expensive as you think if you hire staff to moderate the leaderboards.

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Well that's because those console leaderboards don't need any moderation, it HAD moderation in the first few months from the game release, but now go on ANY Sonic console leaderboard and you'll see hacked scores.

You can't have that in Sonic Runners. That would mean cheaters will get the best gifts while the legit players get the worst gifts. It is expensive as you think if you hire staff to moderate the leaderboards.

...so? The games make money, and continue to make money as long as people continue to buy them. Money from people buying the game funds hosting costs and staff fees, which include moderation staff. This isn't rocket science or anything.

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Rayman Jungle Run and Fiesta Run are level based which makes the game more engaging to complete then an endless runner. So you can't compare at all.

I wasn't comparing the gameplay, though. Just the concept of a paid 2D runner with no freemium aspects.

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...so? The games make money, and continue to make money as long as people continue to buy them. Money from people buying the game funds hosting costs and staff fees, which include moderation staff. This isn't rocket science or anything.

Errrr, and where do you think right now Runners is getting its money from?

You're telling me it's not rocket science, but you are missing vital parts here.

Runners is an online game. Their leaderboards are the big feature in that game.

You think the game can survive by like $2 per user? Absolutely not. Not everyone in this world is going to buy Runners if this is paid.

And like console games, the sales go down week after week after week. What happens when no one now buys the game. Then what?

"But paid DLC!"-- that's not going to work either. Not everyone is going to buy that DLC. And Sega have to invest even more money to develop the DLC. They'll have to make their money back from developing that DLC and any money left (if any) will go to the server costs.

Putting ads gives them more of a steady income of cash. Nothing is more steady then that. Active users of the game are giving Sega cash and they don't have to pay a penny. And they will use that money to keep the leaderboards cheat-free.

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Errrr, and where do you think right now Runners is getting its money from?

splatoon_us_box_art.jpg

One time payment, free DLC and updates, constant events and actual multiplayer. No problems here. I wouldn't be so insistent about this if not only it hadn't been done before, it's still being done to this very day.

Here's the thing - you can continue to make money off of your consumers as long as you continue to keep your game updated and interesting. Constant updates begets further interest in existing consumers, interest in existing consumers begets interest in new consumers, interest in new consumers begets more money, more money begets more updates. It's a self contained cycle of life that in no way needs nor has ever needed constantly nickel and diming loyal players in order to sustain, so any insinuation that microtransactions and ads are some kind of necessary evil is a complete myth.

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@Gabe @Blacklightning 

What the God's name is going on here?

People are having a civil discussion? There hasn't been anything outlandish or any personal attacks that has been said so far.

So, why haven't you guys played Sonic Runners from the beginning since the soft-launch?

Because I personally don't really care for the game as it currently stands, despite holding interest in the general core gameplay.

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You see I have no problem with Sega putting in ads, that's not the problem I have with the game. I hate ads as much as everyone, but from a business standpoint, it's important that they have the ads in that game otherwise they'll lose money (eventually if it was paid). It just wouldn't make sense. And, anyway it's not like I'm giving Sega my money to watch these ads. However if Runners was an offline game, then I would have agreed, WTF are the ads doing in my game?

My problem with Runners is the insane grind for RSRs and the roulette. That is cheating us users for easy cash and money to their pockets. The game is no longer fun, the minute they did the worldwide launch. It's "that" temptation of you giving them your cash because your character is leaving in the roulette tomorrow and you have no other way to get him/her.

Don't like it at all, and there is absolutely no way of defending that kind of practice.

splatoon_us_box_art.jpg

One time payment, free DLC and updates, constant events and actual multiplayer. No problems here. I wouldn't be so insistent about this if not only it hadn't been done before, it's still being done to this very day.

Here's the thing - you can continue to make money off of your consumers as long as you continue to keep your game updated and interesting. Constant updates begets further interest in existing consumers, interest in existing consumers begets interest in new consumers, interest in new consumers begets more money, more money begets more updates. It's a self contained cycle of life that in no way needs nor has ever needed constantly nickel and diming loyal players in order to sustain, so any insinuation that microtransactions and ads are some kind of necessary evil is a complete myth.

...And how long do you think this free DLC, events, blah blah blah is gonna last for Splatoon? Splatoon is released not too long ago, it's still getting good sales even though it's declining and it's from Nintendo. I bet this game is still $60.

Nintendo has a bigger audience (and fans) than Sega. Splatoon is going to do better than any Sonic game put out because of Sonic's current reputation. That's why Splatoon and Nintendo can afford to do these things, while Sega and Sonic can't.

And you missed another thing here, Nintendo are losing money for these constant updates, free DLC etc. But they are making it up elsewhere whether it's the Amiibos, keeping the game $60, or the YouTube thing when they grab money off people who uses their game footage.

And believe me, the Splatoon servers will die someday. Whether it's 5 years from now, but it will die someday because there will no money generated for the game anymore.

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hmm... It seems complicated. To be honest, I believed Sega networks' mobile game developing. but.. I feel some feeling of doubt After Sonic runners is released. So many glitch, Poor FTP system unlike other good their mobile games, mediocre gameplay, etc....... I strongly feel that Sonic won't success even on mobile platform..

I just want they don't make endless(and auto)-runner style Sonic game.
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 I bet this game is still $60.

This is a misconception I need to quickly address, because a lot of the AAA market doesn't really understand it either. Profit is a question of ratio between price and sales, and a lot of people conveniently forget that the latter can fluctuate with the former - specifically, many more people will buy a cheap game than they will a full price one, proven if nothing else by the insane numbers that Steam sales manage to pull regularly. In fact, a cheap game can actually pull in more money than a retail price one, especially if it's digital like Runners is. So yes, by all means, set the price to 2-5 bucks and you'll still make a living off it, especially if you're a gaming icon like Sonic is.

Nintendo has a bigger audience (and fans) than Sega. Splatoon is going to do better than any Sonic game put out because of Sonic's current reputation. That's why Splatoon and Nintendo can afford to do these things, while Sega and Sonic can't.

runners2million.jpeg 

They don't seem to be having any problems on that front.

And you missed another thing here, Nintendo are losing money for these constant updates, free DLC etc. But they are making it up elsewhere whether it's the Amiibos, keeping the game $60, or the YouTube thing when they grab money off people who uses their game footage.

Ming, we have an entire subforum dedicated exclusively to Sonic merch. Don't even think about telling me Sega doesn't have other sources of revenue to fall back on themselves, even if the game somehow didn't pay for itself.

And believe me, the Splatoon servers will die someday.

...what, and Runners's servers won't? People can't play the game forever, that goes without saying, but both approaches are equally viable - I just happen to endorse a paid game more because it just so happens to fuck the consumer over less in the long run.

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But most people around the world like free games on mobile devices right now. Free games on mobile devices are more essential and profitable than games in consoles.

That wasn't even a statement about profitability - that was a statement about basic consumer rights. No shit they make more money by giving consumers more ways to give it to them, that wasn't the point. The point is that they're perfectly capable of making do by charging as a product rather than a service - there are legions apon legions of online games out there that are testament to that - and the consumer ultimately ends up better off for it. Even Ming said earlier she was almost tricked into spending 50 bucks on a game that's technically free.

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This is a misconception I need to quickly address, because a lot of the AAA market doesn't really understand it either. Profit is a question of ratio between priceand sales, and a lot of people conveniently forget that the latter can fluctuate with the former - specifically, many more people will buy a cheap game than they will a full price one, proven if nothing else by the insane numbers that Steam sales manage to pull regularly. In fact, a cheap game can actually pull in moremoney than a retail price one, especially if it's digital like Runners is. So yes, by all means, set the price to 2-5 bucks and you'll still make a living off it, especially if you're a gaming icon like Sonic is.
 
The reason why Runners is making more money off a retail game is because 1) ads and 2) in-game currency. Get rid of those, then not so much. And I'm not saying by Sega setting the price for the game $2-5 won't make them a lot of money, it can, but not as much as putting ads in game or the F2P method at all (not even close) and eventually the money they earned will run out as they have to maintain the leaderboards daily. Sega *will* lose money eventually from this game if they don't put ads or a subscription model. They have to pay the staff someway.
 
 
runners2million.jpeg
 
And how many of those 2 million have deleted the game? I'm certainly one of those who have deleted it. Hint: Just because they reached the 2 million download mark doesn't mean there are 2 million active users playing the game. Not to mention people making multiple accounts just to get Amy etc.
 
Even if there are 2 million active users playing, wow. Runners is their huge money maker right now because of the money they are making from the ads daily. For example, one user per session will at least see 3 ads before quitting the game. 3 ads = $$$. A purchased app will never give them that much money.
 
 
Ming, we have an entire subforum dedicated exclusively to Sonic merch. Don't even think about telling me Sega doesn't have other sources of revenue to fall back on themselves, even if the game somehow didn't pay for itself.
 
....I wasn't thinking that though. Yes they do have other things to fall back on, but Sega doesn't want to do it. Why? Because they want Runners to give them a profit, not a loss. Why create something that is going to give you a loss? They certainly don't want their merch profits to be eaten up by Runners.
 
 
...what, and Runners's servers won't? People can't play the game forever, that goes without saying, but both approaches are equally viable - I just happen to endorse a paid game more because it just so happens to fuck the consumer over less in the long run.
 
Now here's the difference and here is why ads are very important to stay. Eventually, keeping up the Splatoon servers is going to make Nintendo lose money regardless if 10,000+ play it 5 years from now. Nintendo are not earning any money from the 10,000+ users that play it. Why do you think Brawl is no longer available online? Why do you think most Wii online games are shutdown? They aren't making any money by keeping them online and they are losing money at the same time.
 
For Runners, it's a completely different story. 5 years from now, if 10,000+ users still play Runners, Sega is still earning money from them. Because of the ads. As long the ads are active in the game, any active user who plays Runners will give Sega cash to maintain the game. Take that away, and yes, it'll end up like Splatoon in like 5-6 years, most EA online games etc. This also motivates Sega to keep on doing events for Runners to get them even more money.
 
I also what to point out this.
 
I just happen to endorse a paid game more because it just so happens to fuck the consumer over less in the long run.
 
Really? How about those who spent 1000+ hours of playing time in Runners, worked their butts off to the ground earning all buddies and characters ONLY to find out next day Sega puts a notice up "Sonic Runners is closing down. From March 20th, you are no longer to download or sign in to Sonic Runners."...then what? That screws the long time user even more. All that hard work, gone. Runners will close down because of they aren't getting money off it, they will *never* close down a game that is making them money daily.
 
As long the users keep coming back to Runners, Sega will earn money from them without a consumer giving them a penny and will able to keep Runners up and running.
 
Don't get me wrong, I would love Runners to be an offline, paid game too. But they'll have to change a lot of things to make that happen including removing the online leaderboard and events. Which will make the game duller.
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