2017 has been a good year for Android gaming. We saw the releases of three new games from Nintendo, the creation and continued expansion of the awesome Sega Forever collection, and a constant flow of new games both big and small. However there are a lot of things that are best left in the past, and 2018 will definitely be better off without the following 5 things:
Paid games that require an internet connection
If a developer decides that an ad supported game should require an internet connection in order to ensure that the developer earns some money from the game, that’s alright. If a developer creates a game where the game’s online play or online components are a core part of the game and an internet connection is a requirement, that’s understandable. When a premium game, or a game that you pay money to unlock requires an internet connection, that’s inexcusable. Online requirements for the purpose of “verification” needs to die off in 2017. The biggest offenders this year were Super Mario Run and Capcom’s Spirit of Justice. Both games were mainly single player experiences, both games were one time purchases, and both games could not be played while offline. That accomplishes very little other than upsetting legitimate customers.
Fake games continue to plague Google Play. It seems that every day there are a dozen new games that use the screenshots of popular games along with similar titles to try and lure in unsuspecting users as they search for new apps. Instead of finding out that a game isn’t available on Android, in their region, or on their device, users often see a sea of games with a similar name to what they’re looking for. But the reality is that the game they’re looking for is nothing like what they were searching for. These games are often either completely broken attempts at copying a popular concept or apps that will do nothing but serve ads. Sure, a lot of the time these apps are removed from Google Play, but the process is slow, and the number of misleading apps is always growing.
To go along with fake and misleading apps is the massive group of apps that offer tips, guides, tricks or some other form of help with a particular game. These apps typically try to mislead users by using an icon that is similar to the original game, using screenshots from that game and often categorizing themselves as games instead of apps. Sometimes these apps do offer legitimate tips, other times they amount to ad farms. The biggest purpose they serve is to pollute search results.
Errors that have no meaning
Sometimes things go wrong. Bugs happen, games crash, errors appear. That’s an unfortunate reality in gaming, and it’s unavoidable. There is no reasonable amount of testing that can catch every single issue (even if some are easier to catch than others), particularly when there are so many different Android devices out there. Things get frustrating when a game doesn’t tell you what went wrong and simply gives you an error message that’s of little to no help. If I’m offline and the game needs me to be online, tell me. If the servers are undergoing maintenance, tell me. Communication won’t prevent a game crash, but it lead to fewer users leaving angry 1 star ratings because a game doesn’t work and they don’t know why.
The first four items on this list are issues that are the result of developers, publishers, and Google. This last point is about the gamers. Google Play reviews are nearly useless, and it’s the fault of the users. Things have gotten to the point where there might as well be 3 categories when it comes to ratings:
- Under 4.0 Stars – Something is wrong with the game
- 4-4.7 Stars – ????
- Over 4.7 Stars – Good
There are too many users that leave 5 star ratings without thinking, leave 1 star ratings after a single technical issue, leave ratings that don’t match their written review (“This game is garbage, it crashes all the time” 5/5 stars), or leave a rating before they’ve scratched the surface of a game. In the end this winds up making finding quality games more difficult than it needs to be.