There is a host of major gaming releases this year, but few have been quite as anticipated as Mass Effect: Andromeda. Gamers have had to wait five years for the fourth entry in BioWare’s much-loved series, but the excitement has meant that the mixed reviews for the new game have been a bit of a disappointment.
It is worth remembering though that a pretty high bar has been set by previous Mass Effect titles released on platforms as wide-ranging as the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Wii U, as well as spin-off games launched for iOS and Android. Regardless of what critics may think, this new game is still likely to be among the biggest selling of the year across the three formats it is launching on – PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
With the gaming world now arguably being more sprawling than ever before (and bringing in $36.9 billion last year, according to Newzoo), it’s important to note that Mass Effect is among only one of a handful of gaming titles which tend to have what it takes to become successful across a range of platforms and in a number of different markets. The reasons are often fairly obvious, with developers usually choosing to create a game with the functionality or specifications of a certain platform, like PC, in mind. However, ever so often the industry hits the jackpot with a title or character that has the wide appeal to move beyond the confines of the area it was built for and become a true gaming icon across a range of platforms and markets.
One of the biggest names to achieve cross-platform ubiquity is the 58-million-unit-selling franchise Tomb Raider. Originally developed primarily with consoles such as the PlayStation and Sega Saturn in mind, Lara Croft has become a pop culture icon and gone on to pop up in games on PC, Android, iOS and even feature in big screen outings starring Angelina Jolie. Tomb Raider is also one of only a handful of major gaming titles to go even further and be adapted for the online slot market. 32Red casino features both the Lara Croft: Tomb Raider online slot and its sequel Tomb Raider: Secret of the Sword, which can be played on PC or via the 32Red casino mobile app. As well as using recognizable imagery and sounds, they incorporate elements like Lara shooting medallions away to reveal bonus money to create a faithful adaptation of the much-loved series. There is even the opportunity to do battle with the adventurer’s archenemy Amanda.
While Lara Croft is not the only classic gaming character to get this treatment – a slot game based on Hitman is available on Euro Palace, while fans of Game of Thrones can play a slot based on the TV show on 777SpinSlot – the move into the online slot market is certainly a another strong way for major gaming series to show their popularity and add their presence to yet another part of the gaming market.
Other huge gaming franchises have gone in a different direction entirely in order to achieve ubiquity. Minecraft, which can be played on PC, mobile and consoles, recently hit the milestones of a huge 122 million copies sold and 55 million people playing every month. Not bad for a game which is simply about building with blocks. However, as well as conquering gaming – Minecraft is thought to be the second most successful game of all time behind only Tetris – the franchise is also a heavyweight in the book world too. Fans can buy a number of handbooks to help them get the most of the game, whether they are looking to build or do combat with others. While a number of games have companion walkthrough books, not many get this level of treatment.
It is clear from all of the above that a game becoming a cross-platform success opens up huge potential. But, following the release of Mass Effect: Andromeda, are there any other games which could go on to dominate a number of platforms or head into other markets in the coming months?
Rime, the much-anticipated puzzle and adventure platform game due for release in May, could well have what it takes. Originally debuted as purely an exclusive for the PlayStation 4, the game is now set to also be released across PC, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch after the developer Tequila Works acquired the rights to the game from Sony. Considering the decision to push it as far and wide as possible, the hype and expectation surrounding the game means it is not outlandish to think it could even appear on iOS and Android in the near future.
Whether or not Rime does have what it takes to hit big, the desire of developers to push major games releases to as many platforms as possible is only likely to continue for many years to come. Many will be hoping that, by doing so, they are able to follow the likes of Lara Croft and others and create enduring icons which go on to the dominate the gaming industry.