With news that the next Grand Theft Auto console title’s release has been delayed to September, this leads to speculation around when the next mobile version of the games series will be released.
Unfortunately, for those of us who work in the mobile world, games console is king in terms of priorities.
It comes down to simple economics. For mobile apps £4.99 is a premium price point, in consoles it’s more like £39.99 and with a franchise as successful as GTA, the multiples and potential profits are huge.
Hence, mobile apps currently follow consoles. There are also a number of arguments about how rich the experience can be on a mobile device compared to console, again making mobile something of a second class citizen when it comes to releases.
Economics will perhaps tip the balance in mobile’s favour in the future. With the huge growth in Smartphone ownership and the increasing graphics and storage capabilities of new devices, the experience is slowly narrowing on mobile devices. As gaming shifts to mobile and to Smartphones, the publishers will follow the money, but it’s still a way off for many publishers.
So, which title is likely to be next and when?
Unfortunately, given the reasons above and past experience, it’s unlikely to be GTA V.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas would be the next likely candidate in order of release, although this is a huge, sprawling game, even by GTA standards. The storage alone would be a concern, not even taking into consideration the memory demands of such a huge game.
Then there are existing titles in the franchise, GTA IV and its series of downloads – the Lost and the Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony.
Perhaps the smart money would be on Rockstar concentrating on extending GTA Vice City through Vice City Stories, although by focusing on GTA IV this could cover not only a new title to mobile, but also the potential to release its downloads.
As for when, you could assume that with GTA V delayed, all of Rockstar’s attention is focused on getting this out on time in September. This is only partly true, as the ports to mobile are done by a separate company, War Drum Studios, but either way Rockstar will want to keep a close eye on any release of its title to get the quality and timing right for their business.
Our prediction is that the next port will be out for Christmas 2013 and that it will be GTA IV.
Let us know your predictions in the comments below.