Tony Hawk broke the news about the new Tony Hawk pro-skater game just last week. It didn't take long for people to start rummaging through the list of potential possibilities for the new extreme sports title, but the one thing you probably didn't bet on was that it would be a cash-in mobile title.
Last week there was speculation and hints that it could be a mobile game, with comments from Hawk hinting that he would be interested in exploring a pro-boarder game on the new mobile devices circulating around out there.
Well, as the video above notes, Tony Hawk's latest game – in collaboration with Activision, of course – is all about shredding on mobile tablets and smartphones, telling Larry King on Larry King Now...
“We're working on a game for mobile devices; for phones and tablets.” … “It'll be coming this year”.
“I already got in trouble for saying that it's coming at all” [laughs] “now I have to backtrack”.
“It's basically for mobile devices, and we have a swipe control system so that you utilize the actual touchscreens.”
Hawk didn't get much further into pimping the new mobile-based pro-skater game before Larry King rudely interrupted by asking how far away the game is, to which Hawk coyly evaded the question by saying “this year”. With a little more pressure, Larry was able to get Hawk to admit that the game would be arriving “earlier than later”.
Unfortunately, there aren't many more details revealed other than that. We do know that you can control a character on the phone (or tablet) that's riding a skateboard. So at least we know that you won't be playing an invisible character with just a skateboard and a world to goof around in. Though it would be interesting to see a game where all you play is a skateboard... I mean, how would it get momentum? Or would you use your fingers as surrogate legs to grab acceleration? Meh, it doesn't matter.
I can't say that I'm surprised at the revelation of this game being relegated to mobile devices. I'm more surprised that this exclusive was outed on Larry King Now.
Publishers have been long seeking that sweet, sweet, mobile gaming money for a while, and some of them have even found a sweet spot for their financial adventures, even at the expense of credibility and reputation. The only problem is that mobile gaming is volatile and – as reported by GameZone, courtesy of a Swrve research report – only 0.15% of mobile gamers actually put any sort of revenue back into the market.
The report indicated that only 10% of app users account for more than 50% of the total mobile gaming revenue. We refer to these players as “whales”.
The report also indicated that 49% of all players only a make a single purchase in each calendar month. Ouch.
Swrve further stated that...
"This means that the vast majority of players deliver no revenue and reiterates the importance of acquiring and retaining users that fall into the "high spender" category,"
In other words: Tony Hawk will be facing an uphill battle to attract and retain only the most die-hard of skateboarding fans looking to engage in the extreme sport on their handheld. Despite some publishers saying otherwise, the market has chewed up and spit out a lot of developers in the mobile games space.
I can't say for sure if this is a safer bet than going with another rehashed outing on the home consoles (where expectations and expenses are a lot higher, but then, so is the pay-off), but Activision is definitely eying an opportunity to cash-in fast and hard on a tried and formerly trustworthy brand.
Tony Hawk: Pro Skater is set for release sometime in this first half of 2014 for smartphones and tablets.