The arrival of Elden Ring on mobile is the rumour shaking up the JV world this week. Is this an excellent idea to make Elden Ring accessible to as many people as possible, or an inevitable disaster? The storyline, micro-transaction system and release date are just some of the mysteries surrounding the mobile adaptation of Elden Ring.
According to Reuters journalist Josh Ye, Chinese video games giant Tencent is currently developing a mobile port of FromSoftware's GOTY, for which it is said to have acquired the rights as soon as the title is released in 2022.
Given the vast amount of content that needs to be adapted and the business model that needs to be found for a mobile version of Elden Ring to sell well, it would appear that development of this port is still in its early stages.
Despite this modest progress, the announcement of a port of Elden Ring has generated a real buzz, even though the hype surrounding the game is still very strong, particularly on Twitch, where the game still has a strong presence.
Given that development seems far from complete, we can legitimately wonder how long it will take Tencent to adapt all of Elden Ring's content, generally estimated at around 60 to 100 hours of gameplay. There are several possible scenarios for Elden Ring on mobile:
Tencent releases the game in waves: only a portion of the game will be available at first. This would be frustrating for seasoned gamers already familiar with the licence, who would find themselves stuck after ten or twenty hours of play.
Tencent is releasing the game in its entirety: what is the planned release date for the game? Late 2024? Sometime in 2025? Or even 2026?
Tencent is adapting FromSoftware's title into a 4X strategy game, as NetEase did with Lord of the Ring: Call to Arms. In this case, the open world imagined by Miyazaki would be a distant memory.
To make the game economically viable, the giant Tencent will have some choices to make, and it's a question the studio should be thinking about right now after abandoning a mobile port of the Nier licence, precisely because of these monetisation issues.
Elden Ring is a game where players challenge each other. Streamer and YouTube artist MissMikkaa, for example, completed Elden Ring using a dance mat as a controller. If that's the case, how can Tencent benefit if the game can be completed on PC without any build optimisation?
Gamers expecting the Elden Ring experience on mobile to be in line with that of the game on consoles and PC could be disappointed and turn their backs on the mobile port. Will it be necessary to spend a certain amount of time working your way past a mechanically unbeatable boss without having reached a certain level?
Some people imagine a free-to-play Elden Ring with a microtransaction system similar to that of successful HoYoverse games such as Honkai: Star Rail or Genshin Impact. In this case, the acquisition of weapons and characters through a gacha system would not be compulsory in order to complete the story.
But is this the kind of business model that players who want to play Elden Ring on mobile are expecting? Who will be the audience for this port of Elden Ring? Will the app version attract new targets, or will it bring back old players to the licence? At JeuMobi, we're waiting for more information on the game's gameplay and roadmap to find out whether this mobile adaptation of Elden Ring will win our hearts.
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