The Game Awards could very well be equivalent to the Oscars for a true-blue gamer. It happens every year and gamers wait to see if their favorite game scores big. While there were several categories of awards distributed to different games, one category took us by surprise: Best Mobile Game.
As far as mobile gaming is concerned, the year 2018 witnessed unmatched dominance of Battle Royale games such as PUBG and Fortnite. Both the games were nominated for the “Best Mobile Game” at The Game Awards 2018. Among other nominees were Donut County, Florence and Reigns: Game of Thrones. While we assumed PUBG Mobile and Fortnite are likely to compete for the Best Mobile Game title, in a remarkable twist of fate, a story-telling game Florence won the Best Mobile Game title at The Game Awards 2018.
While we don’t know for sure whether it’s a shocking defeat for PUBG Mobile and Fortnite or a surprising victory for Florence, what we know for sure is the fact that Florence has won the Best Mobile Game title at The Game Awards this year. Florence is a surprisingly lesser-known game. Most of the mobile gamers we talked to had not even heard about it before. So, of course, there are a couple of questions arise, what is Florence all about and how exactly did it mark such an astonishing victory over two of the biggest gaming sensations this year? We try to understand.
As per the Google Play Store listing, Florence is published under the moniker of Annapurna Interactive, a California-based video game publisher. From its description, Florence appears to be a puzzle game with a unique, storyline style. However, Florence charges users Rs 190, unlike PUBG and Fortnite. Although PUBG and Fortnite have in-app purchases, they don’t charge anything upfront. We reached out to developers of Florence for their reaction on this victory but they were not immediately available to respond.
Co-founder of New Delhi-based eSports gaming company GamingMonk, Abhay Sharma explains how mobile games like PUBG and Fortnite differ from Florence in terms of their overall concept and target audience. While PUBG and Fortnite target the mass audience with up to 100 users from all over the places participating in a single game, Florence is more about a unique storyline and mini-games to have users hooked onto it.
“PUBG and Fortnite are games made for engagement with the masses. They are built on one genre of gaming i.e. Battle Royale and are simple multiplayer games where you play with 100 other players for survival and that famed “Chicken Dinner”. Whereas, Florence is a game developed on a unique storyline, intuitive presentation, with some mini-games to keep you interested,” said Sharma.
Founder of Indian Games Expo (IGX), Sameer Desai finds Florence a really fantastic game. Although Desai acknowledged that due to the game’s nature, it’s unlikely to find as many gamers playing Florence, he said he was glad to see Florence won the title. Similar to Sharma, Desai also explained how Florence stands out in terms of the competition with PUBG and Fortnite:
“Florence is more like a graphic novel of sorts and offers a different experience altogether. You play it till the story is done and then you move on. So users don’t generally keep playing Florence again and again, unlike online multiplayer games such as PUBG or Fortnite. But that doesn’t make Florence less deserving. It’s just that games like PUBG and Fortnite are more popular,” said Desai.
Aayush Panikkar is an engineering student who describes himself as an average PUBG player. Aayush says that he regularly plays Fortnite and PUBG. But Aayush, like many casual and hardcore gamers we talked to, didn’t know about Florence before our interaction. Some of them were even shocked that Florence won the Best Mobile Game title.
“I’d have hoped for Fortnite to win even though I consider PUBG as a better game (than Fortnite). But worldwide, Fortnite is more accepted because it’s free to play and it’s cross-platform as well,” says Aayush.
However, ‘Best Mobile Game’ was not the only category awards to see Florence’s nomination. Florence was nominated under two more categories: ‘Games for Impact’ and ‘Best Debut Indie Game.’ Meanwhile, Fortnite was nominated under four categories in total: ‘Best Ongoing Game,’ ‘Best Mobile Game,’ ‘Best Multiplayer Game’ and ‘Best Esports Game.’ Fortnite won two titles: ‘Best Ongoing Game’ and ‘Best Multiplayer Game.’ PUBG, on the other hand, was nominated under no other category apart from ‘Best Mobile Game.’
According to The Game Awards, winners of the awards are determined between the jury (90%) and public fan votes (10%). Commenting on PUBG and Fortnite losing to Florence, GamingMonk’s Abhay Sharma said:
"The Game Awards recognizes creative and technical excellence in the video game industry and is not a people’s choice awards. This award has been conferred for the game and is not based on its player base or popularity.”
Whatever be the case may be, the game community is ostensibly divided over PUBG and Fortnite not winning ‘Best Mobile Game’ title. How do you feel about it? Let us know in the comments below.