Excuse me…so adult gamers don't play handhelds?

A couple of days ago we learned that Level-5, a company that I always had high esteem for because of their quality in games, had some surprising moves up their sleeve. And I’m talking about their decision to bring Layton 7 to mobile app gaming too, and to announce that Fantasy Life 2 will even be app-game only material. A lot of gamers where shocked. Akihiro Hino – CEO of Level-5 – was asked about this decision this week in a brief interview with Famitsu. Hino-san’s response was this:
I’d say Fantasy Life has elements and mechanisms which adults find soothing. Although children play games on dedicated game systems, recently many adults have been playing on smartphones … The supported hardware for this game was decided based on thinking of an environment where more adults play.

Excuse me?  “Adults find the game soothing”?  I don’t know about you, but I find that comment to be a bit condescending. As if adults who game only want games to while away the time in the train or waiting at the doctors office! I am no doubt prejudiced, as I started gaming late in life, and have been a part of gaming groups since then. Most groups had an emphasis on adult gamers, lots of lady gamers especially. From my perspective I would say that there are many more adults console and handheld gamers then people think. So why does this mister Hino states it like an adult can’t be bothered to play a wonderfully well rounded RPG with fantasy elements, like we played Fantasy Life?

And the next one, “children play games on dedicated game systems”? So that’s saying adults don’t? I guess it’s true that app games like Candy Crush and HayDay reach a lot more people. Nowadays almost everyone has a smart phone at their side. And those games are indeed excellent for a quick peek at the next level or to get your boat supplied. But I think it’s unwise for a company to exclude people who want to play the game on a dedicated handheld. Maybe they forget that while gamers are happy to spend € 39 or $ 39 on a good game, most people don’t want to spend a lot of money on app games. True, the most popular app games make loads of money by offering the game for free and then charge micro transactions. But then you’d have to score a very popular game first. I guess we only hear the success stories while there are many, many app games out there struggling to exist.

Last week in my blog with all the Level-5 news I said that I was a bit disturbed by this news. But this statement has gotten me more then disturbed. This is just so wrong!


  1. Most app games cannot be played without the internet. Handheld system games are more fun. and even the downloads from the E-shop can be played without being connected to the internet.

  2. I agree! Not even thinking of the fact that Window Phone users hardly get any apps the other phones get, but to assume we only play on our phones is just wrong. Also, I for one still prefer to be able to hold something physical if i pay for it. Buying downloads is being pushed more and more, but if i can buy a physical copy, i will. There were even games i refused to buy, because we in Europe only got teh downloadable games.
    Fantasy Life or Professor Layton are not games you play to waste a minute or 5 waiting for the bus. They are games you sit down with on the sofa, with a glass of wine or tea and enjoy for an hour or more!

  3. This idea that handhelds are only for kids irritates me to no end, and is indeed completely unfounded. This is the reason why it took me so many years to purchase a Nintendo DS: the system used to be marketed as a kid’s toy in my country, with tons of licensed games and no RPG to be found in stores. Only when I discovered the joys of import did I realize that the DS’ library contained a lot a excellent games and that it was much more than a kid-oriented console. Things have fortunately gotten a little bit better with the 3ds, but this kind of comments from developers make me think that the gaming industry may disappoint us in the years to come… I so hope I’m wrong!

    1. I’m guessing it irritates quite a lot of people, I’ve had a lot of reactions to this article. I only bought a DS years ago to play my own game of animal crossing. I couldn’t have imagined how many other games I like on it. It’s one of my best purchases I ever made, it’s become such a constant part of my life!

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