Regardless of one's opinion on mobile games and the smartphone revolution, it is hard to deny that franchises like GTA have plenty to gain on mobile. In the past five years or so, the mobile gaming market has grown exponentially to the point where it now dwarfs both console and PC, which is absolutely staggering.
Rockstar Games and Take-Two Interactive saw potential in this promising market and brought over several games from their catalog to Android and iOS. Games like GTA Vice City, 3, San Andreas, and Chinatown Wars saw plenty of success on the mobile platform.
Soon, games like Max Payne were also brought into the fold. This begs the question, why hasn't Rockstar ported HD era games like GTA 4 and 5 yet? While there has been no comment from Rockstar, here we take a look at a few potential reasons.
Note: This article is subjective and solely reflects the opinion of the writer.
Probable issues with bringing GTA 4 and 5 to Android and iOS devices
1) Technological limitations
The clearest issue that swims up to the surface upon the first inspection is the clear disadvantage Rockstar will have when it comes to technology. Even with the most advanced tech available on smartphones today, they are going to have a tough time running GTA 4 or 5.
Certain concessions, compromises, and optimizations can be made, but that is likely to be a more intense project that Rockstar might not want to take up currently.
2) Focus on other bigger projects
In tandem with the previous point, publishers and studios have to allocate resources across multiple projects, often ones that are being worked on simultaneously. This usually leads to some projects getting precedence over others, which is exactly where mobile versions of GTA fall.
As of now, Rockstar is firing on all thrusters with GTA Online and Red Dead Online. At the same time, the publisher is gearing up for a massive release on November 11, 2021, for GTA 5's Expanded and Enhanced Edition.
Given all the high-profile projects the company is working on, mobile games are likely to get sidelined.
3) A mobile version could be inferior to the standard GTA experience
In order to successfully provide players with a competent GTA experience on mobile, Rockstar will have to toe a rather precarious line. The game will need to make concessions in order to run efficiently on the platform while also ensuring that the game isn't inferior in any way to the console/PC version.
While mobile games are usually much smaller in scale and size, quality is not something mobile gaming enthusiasts are willing to sacrifice. For instance, mobile versions of games like Fortnite and PUBG are just as competent as their PC and Console counterparts.
4) Pricing on mobile
This issue is likely to be a major one for Rockstar as mobile games are simply not as highly-priced as Console and PC. In 2021, games like GTA Vice City and San Andreas could be purchased for way less than the amount they were initially priced at upon release.
That is not the case for GTA 5, as it is quite often on sale, but it is still very much a standard $60 AAA game most of the time. Bringing it over to mobile will likely force Rockstar to price it less. A $60 or even $40 price mark for mobile games is still unheard of.
5) Controls don't translate well
At this point, the older GTA games feel somewhat natural to play on mobile, with touchscreen controls doing a decent enough job. However, with the advancement in games on Console and PC, both GTA 4 and 5 require quite a bit of advanced controls.
For instance, the Interaction Menu from GTA 5 is a pretty substantial part of the experience and might be a little challenging to bring to mobile. Similarly, other aspects of the game might not translate all that well to touchscreen controls.
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