Eric Johnson

Recent Posts by Eric Johnson

New Zombie-Shooting Game for iOS Claims to Be First Mobile Title With Cooperative Campaign

multiplayer emg v1A common complaint among gamers is that right now, the multiplayer experience on mobile can’t compare to that on PCs or consoles. While asynchronous turn-based multiplayer works well for some games, the social experience of a game like Words With Friends is totally different from that of a more “serious” game like Call of Duty.

As phone hardware continues to improve, though, it was only a matter of time until developers tried to bridge that gap for the traditional testosteroney shooter crowd. We’ve seen some well-reviewed attempts already, like Gameloft’s first-person shooter series Nova, Rockstar’s mobile ports of two Grand Theft Auto games and Madfinger Games’ Dead Trigger.

A new entrant in the field, the zombie-shooting indie game 2013: Infected Wars, claims to have something others don’t: A complete cooperative story campaign that works over Apple’s Game Center. In that regard, it’s aiming to be closer to the Left 4 Dead games — Valve’s well-liked cooperative PC and console zombie-shooter series — than DeNA’s The Drowning, yet another zombie shooter that only does asynchronous multiplayer.

That unique selling point led Apple to name Infected Wars an editor’s choice on its App Store in tandem with the game’s launch today. The $6.99 game is exclusive to iOS, at least to start, according to James Petty, president of the studio that created it, Action Mobile Games.

A phrase often heard in console gaming circles is “system seller,” which is shorthand for software that so successfully demonstrates a console’s capabilities that it can move the hardware off store shelves. Two classic examples would be the first Halo game for the Xbox, or the Wii Sports games for the Wii.

Apple, of course, is in a different boat: It’s primarily in the hardware business, but a growing roster of increasingly diverse games serves the App Store brand better than one or two system sellers. Smartphones have so many other uses — and can be so expensive, depending on what you buy — that soliciting multiplayer games from both the Zyngas and the Action Mobiles of the world is a logical strategy.

For some readers, the difference between two zombie-shooting games with and without co-op story campaigns may seem piddling. But, taken together, these baby steps in making mobile games more “serious” and, hence, appealing to PC and console gamers’ demands, could go a long way toward helping mobile disrupt the traditional gaming market, even more than it already has.


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— David Pogue on why he’s joining Yahoo