Dota Underlords: Underlining the mobile gaming takeover
A whopping 2.8 billion people play video games on their mobile phones – making mobile phone gaming by far and away the most popular way to play video games. Unsurprisingly then, all of the major video gaming companies are looking into the ways in which they can take advantage of the huge mobile phone gaming consumer market.
Valve, the creators of the hugely successful Dota 2 computer game have now released a spinoff game which can be played on mobile devices: Dota Underlords.
Valve have long been credited as a very player friendly video game company. Dota 2 is patched and updated regularly so that the game is always competitive. Players cannot take advantage of in-game mechanics due to these constant updates - something other companies are not so quick to quash (EA Sports).
Dota Underlords can also be played on computer – meaning that Valve have taken steps to ensure that they will not alienate their fan base, all of which play Dota 2 on their PCs. It seems like a win-win situation.
Mobile gaming boomed during the days of Angry Birds – the globally popular game which - with well over 25 million downloads – is the best-selling mobile game app of all time. Like Angry Birds, Dota Underlords is free-to-play and valve will be dreaming for even half of the success that Angry Birds has had.
Mobile Gaming: Recipe for success
For every successful mobile game that is produced there are probably 500 failures. So what attributes are required in order to make a winning game for mobile? We ask the question: Does Dota Underlords have the following attributes required to be a successful mobile game.
- Balanced Gameplay – Yes, you can be sure that Vale will have this covered. Valve are known for ensuring that their games stay balanced even after players find ways in which to exploit them.
- Quality Graphics and Audio – Yes, although mobile phone game graphics will never match those of games made for PC and consoles, we can confirm that Dota Underlords has solid graphics and an original soundtrack.
- Engaging storyline and themes – No, there is no engaging storyline, so to speak, but that is okay. Since Dota Underlords is an auto battler game, there is no real need for a unique storyline, especially considering the fact that you will be playing the game with and against your friends. Unique themes – yes. This is still a Dota game after all, so the game certainly contains unique themes.
- Replayability – Yes and No. No Dota 2 match-up is ever the same, however, when it comes to Dota Underlords, it can get a bit samey. Long time fans of Dota 2 will certainly enjoy this new version, however, the enjoyment may fade fairly quickly.
- Multiplayer Options – Yes! This is one of the major selling points of the game. Like Dota 2, multiplayer action is what makes the game exciting, especially if you are playing with friends.
A Mobile Future?
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that games companies who have built their success on the back of video games built specifically for desktops are now looking to mobile devices. Optimising for mobile phone devices has already begun within a variety of different industries. Whereas websites used to be built with laptop and PC users in mind, they are now heavily optimised in favour of visitors via mobile devices. All websites these days, from e-commerce and news sites to casinos and bookmakers, are built to favour the mobile phone user. The mobile and tablet device demographic is the largest and continues to grow larger with each passing year.
Gamification is also a key factor which mobile phone developers were quick to pounce on. Gamification is used in order to make a usually tedious task more enjoyable. There are already numerous good examples of online casinos that have implemented gamification techniques into their operating systems. This is kind of gamification is used by casinos in order to ensure that players continue to have fun playing and are constantly given new objectives to achieve. This helps to make sure that players remain loyal to their casino and do not sign up to competitor casinos. An increasing number of video game companies are implementing gamification into video games. Free to play games, especially, use gamification in order to keep players interested as well as to implement micro-transactions within their games. Players can often skip various levels of gamification rankings by simply purchasing something via an in-game transaction.
Since June 2019, mobile devices have had over 50% of the share of worldwide traffic – this number currently sites at 52% so the gap is widening.
Dota Underlords: Success or Failure?
Based on the increasing trend towards mobile gaming, we expect this Dota spin-off to be a success. However, we think it is unlikely that Dota 2 veterans will switch to the spin-off game for the long term. However, one criticism of Dota 2 has always been that it a very difficult game for newcomers to get into, well that is not the case for Dota Underlords. Perhaps Underlords will become a stepping-stone for new players to play before making the leap to Dota 2 – this would certainly make sense and would ensure that both games continue to grow in popularity.
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