Mobile Games Need a Way to be Kept Alive

Nintendo just announced the shutdown of its mobile exclusive game, Dragalia Lost. While new mobile games come and go every day, it is not an easy time for a fan base when one shuts down. Mobile games, more so than console games, so easily become a part of one’s routine— it takes minimal effort to pick up a cell phone and play for ten minutes every day. Forcefully having to break this habit is the hardest part of a game like Dragalia Lost going offline.


End-of-life mobile games have differing stances on this issue. Some opt for not releasing any new content, instead cycling through previously released events ad nauseam. Others shut their servers fully, usually removing any paywalls before doing so, just to give fans one last chance to play through all the content. In any case, mobile gaming is getting larger by the day, and is revered to nearly the same extent as gaming on PC or console. A life span of just a few years does not cut it for some mobile games — there has to be a way to better preserve them.

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Dragalia Lost: Nintendo’s Original Mobile IP


In 2016, Nintendo expressed interest in expanding their mobile games department. This was an exciting time for Nintendo fans, as it is allowed for official, free-to-play games based on the fan-favorite series, all within the convenience of a smartphone. Some of the first games were Super Mario Run, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, and fire Emblem Heroes, which all stem from massively popular IPs. Dragalia Lost, On the other hand, is interesting in that it is Nintendo-developed and completely original.

Dragalia Lost first released in September of 2018. The game is a gacha game, meaning players must spend in-game currency to summon for new characters, complete with voice acting and original music. It has strategic, action-packed gameplay, co-op, collabs with games like Persona 5 – it is clear that Nintendo put a ton of effort into Dragalia Lost. This instantly drew players in, making it all the more upsetting now that the game is shutting down.

Fan sites, like Dragalia Lost’s Reddit page, are full of sad tributes to the game. It is clear that this game became a habit for many players, something to look forward to checking in on every day. The game will receive its final update in July 2022 and shut down soon after, but players wish it could stick around longer. This is unfortunately inevitable for all mobile games, no matter the size.

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How Mobile Games Deal With the End Differently

Dr.  Mario World Has Shut Down

Dragalia Lost is not the first Nintendo mobile game to shut down, as Dr. Mario World went offline last year and Miitomo did a few years prior. While this way of handling the end seems most common, some mobile games have different approaches to it. pokemon shuffle, for instance, released on 3DS and smartphones in 2015 and received its final content update in 2018. Despite this, the puzzle game is set to cycle through all of its previously released content weekly, up until the year 2037. That is a crazy long time to give fans the chance to play.

This inevitable end date only applies to mobile games that strictly run online, though. Other mobile games, like the once popular 2048, or the adorable cat collector, Neko Atsume, require an online connection to receive ads, but the games are still fully playable today. Of course, there are outliers, like how Flappy Bird was pulled from digital stores, but this large hurdle mainly applies to online-only mobile games. This type of gaming is still relatively new, so it is interesting to see how different developers will approach the end of life updates for mobile games.

The Future of Mobile Gaming

pokemon go oricorio forms

Dragalia Lost’s shutdown shows that any mobile game, regardless of size, will eventually reach the end of its life cycle. As an example, even though it is a mobile gaming giant, Pokemon GO is surrounded by controversy. That, in conjunction with the fact that its nearly six years old, mean that problems can arise if some major changes are not made. The Pokemon franchise in particular will have to potentially deal with many upset groups of fans in the future.

Pokemon GO is more than a habit for many long-time players— it’s a part of their life. Going outside and capturing every Pokemon is something kids who grew up on the show only dreamed of years ago, so the fact that it will eventually come to an end is scary. This application to Pokemon’s many other mobile games as well, like Masters EX and the aforementioned Shuffle. Some mobile titles have already been discontinued, even, like Pokemon Rumble Rush. Having to deal with the shutdown of all of these games in a way that respects the long-time supporters will certainly be a taller task.

The daunting tasks that await the developers of mobile Pokemon games is indicative of the mobile gaming industry as a whole. Mobile gaming is more casual and much newer than console gaming, but the games have fans that are just as dedicated. It is unfortunate that Dragalia Lost is the most recent of many mobile games that have come and gone. Hopefully, developers will eventually see that this trend is not positive, and that mobile game preservation is just as important as console game preservation.

Dragalia Lost is available now on Android and iOS.

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