If I challenged everyone who reads this article to come up with a list of developers who were absolutely instrumental in elevating the platform of touch-based mobile gaming from its meager roots of simple puzzle games and bad ports to what it is today, I'd expect to see Simogo on a vast majority of those lists. Simon Flesser and Gordon Gardebäck were without a doubt on the ground floor of proving to the world that the App Store (and Google Play) could be home to fantastic titles that even the most stodgy Real Gamer types would reluctantly acknowledge as must-play experiences. However, per a today's blog post it seems that Simogo sadly is the latest developer to find themselves walking away from mobile, the platform that they helped define- At least for the time being.

Their story begins like so many indie iOS developers we've heard from this year: The advent of iOS 11 and Apple officially dropping support for 32-bit apps required developers of ancient (in App Store terms, anyway) to make a choice of either rendering all those games eternally broken or invest loads of time updating them. In Simogo's case, they put "months of work" into this, and "had [they] known back in 2010 that [they] would be updating our games seven years later, we would have shook our heads in disbelief." Time that Simogo would have spent developing new games instead was sunk into updates, as Apple seemingly has zero interest in preserving software compatibility on their platform. Simogo mentions that being mad about this likely will do nothing to change this direction, "So, instead, we’re thinking a lot about how we can find ways to preserve our games, and our own history, because it is inevitable that our mobile games will be gone sometime in a distant, or not so distant future, as iOS and the app store keeps on changing and evolving."

They acknowledge that the iPhone literally changed their lives, but the passage from the blog post that's being endlessly highlighted and tweeted today by many indie developers I follow from the blog post is this one:

The ease of mobile game development drew us to making iPhone games back in 2010. But, it’s getting increasingly financially unviable, tiring and unenjoyable for us to keep on making substantial alterations for new resolutions, guidelines, and what have you, as they seem to never end. The appeal of the mobile platform is less evident today than it was a few years back. Before we started Simogo, we had made console games, and had grown really tired of the clunky processes, politics, certifications and primitive development environments that was involved in making a console game. Today, a lot of that clunkiness is gone, and sadly, for a small developer like us, mobile has become more difficult to support than consoles. Releasing a mobile game means supporting it perpetually, and justifying that is tough for us, at the moment.

The end result of this is that while Simogo isn't saying farewell to mobile development forever, their upcoming title, Project Night Road, will be released on consoles. This trend we've seen of more and more top-tier indie developers electing to pull away from mobile development has been heartbreaking, and it has been happening at a pace that I'm really not even sure what to say about it anymore. I really just want to spend some time in the alternate universe where Apple cares about these sorts of things.

  • hitmantb

    They are a small indie developer, drowning in 40 billion a year ocean. I don't know if "top tier" is the right word to describe them when they have never released a successful title.

    If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen now.

    • Groo Gadgets

      Never released a successful title? Have a read of their wiki and please tell me how you you think none of their titles are successful: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simogo

      I don't blame them for leaving mobile development, F2P has just about destroyed the premium mobile game ecosystem. Rovio and Half Brick made their fortunes selling games for 99c, those days are long gone...

      • Misuteri

        I was beginning to hope that games like GRID™ Autosport would start to show that full priced games were profitable to do. I hope that’s the case.

        First thing I look for in any download is “In app purchases”.

        I refuse to support all resource/timer games with $99 buy options. Not even with a trial download.

        F2P and freemium isn’t going to die soon but I wish it would.

      • Craig Grannell

        Grid will certainly show whether or not this kind of thing works. Apple should be pushing it much harder. If Grid doesn't make much money – and Nintendo already moaned about how poorly Mario fared – that's it. Freemium all the way.

      • 7ape

        super mario looked awful though.

      • Jinxtah

        Mario was a disaster though. It was a simple always running game that could have been done by a first time developer 1 man studio. It was not fitting for a huge company like Nintendo to put that abomination out, and expect it to sell microtransactions like hotcakes.

  • lezrock

    Apple really should care about that screwed situation. The never ending crippling of apps by annual system updates is a desaster for every developer and user. Keep it compatible!

    • http://www.unexpect3rd.com unexpect3rd

      I don't know about this, not all game engines' games are "annually crippled" by iOS updates. Most company chose to go with the most popular / "effective" engine, this is probably the real price they pay.

      • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

        Eh, it's sort of a damned if you do damned if you don't situation where there's no clear "best" path. I'm not sure being 110% reliant on a company like Unity is any better.

      • http://www.unexpect3rd.com unexpect3rd

        yes, almost the entire industry is obsess with Unity (at least my country's game industry is, non-Unity coders are all out of jobs)

        I'm just a hipster using a hipster china game engine.


    We have to start looking in the Upside Down I think for good games he he, sad to see Simogo go for now loved their work, specially Bumby Road and Beat Sneak Bandit.

  • Hiraether

    Most companies could of produced another game in the time it took to update their games. In Kemco terms that's like 3 more jrpgs. Apple only hurt itself.

    Computing will hit 1 EFLOPS this year.

    Soon through hyper-thread technology we will have games broadcast to phones from our home computers or servers. By then all games will be mostly windows or Linux.

    Steam is the big winner here. Soon our PC libraries will be available on our phones. They will run faster than seemingly possible. Casting to our living rooms was just the beginning.

    I prolly did alpha / beta test for Square Enix's engines in GameGlobe and Shinra before they were shut down. 😉 I can't say much as they're tied up in litigation, however...
    The super computers there made my HP mini laptop preform like a PS4. It's basically the same as Netflix streaming HD; the smaller computer doesn't have to process the graphics and delivers higher quality in exchange for bandwidth. Look up Shinra and Gameglobe and you'll see gorgeous graphics running on minimal systems.
    It was incredible! The stuff coming down the pipeline is going to let you play parts of MMORPGs on phones and watches. The emulation just has to balance with internet speeds, the control synchronized to game play, talking to the super computer in Japan.

    They are basically making big Cloud spaces for online game emulation broadcasting. Phones won't have to have as much hardware as most of the graphics will be handled by the super computers. No more updates. Just think of it!

    This online revolution is one all devs need to be wary of. Games are about to get a steroid boost from internet super computing. Cloud gaming is looming ahead in the not so distant future.

  • http://admin.support.journurl.com/ rogerben

    I wish Simogo well, but I’ll be thankful not to hear about them for a long, long time.

  • curtneedsaride

    Disappointing, but understandable. If I take the time to play a game on my Mac, I may try their new one.

  • vectorarchitekt

    This is very sad. As I often find myself playing mobile games more than console

  • MikeAK

    So so sad, but very understandable. Device 6 is actually the first IOS game that TRULY made me see how much fun I could have gaming on my iPhone. Enjoyed their work a great amount and while I wish them all the luck in their future endeavors, it’s very hard to see them go. Maybe one day things will change and we will see their return but I unfortunately somewhat doubt it :/

  • chfuji

    Among the virtual piles of games on my phone I think I have the most paid games from Simogo. I wish them the best and maybe this’ll get me to buy a console again.

  • korossyl

    So it's bleeding from both sides, then? I've spent more money and more time on iOS gaming than I have on every other console put together. iOS 11 demolished my library of favorites, and I realized it's been several weeks since I've bought any title at all, even some little $0.99 thing. I'm effectively not an iOS gamer anymore. But I figured that that was just me. Now devs are getting in on it, too? I'm so confounded, and bitter, about what happened to iOS, seemingly overnight.

    • triwolf

      Apple only cares about money, period. The fact that the average quality of games on the AppStore is at its lowest ever doesn’t bother them at all, as long as they make money. The income they get from selling premium games is insignificant relatively speaking, so opinions like ours are unimportant. People who are iOS users, but not gamers (i.e. people who own a smart device but don’t use it to play games) have no clue of this situation. I’ve had a few unreal conversations with coworkers that went: “But why would I PAY for a game when there are so many that are FREE??” And me trying to explain my point, only for them to conclude that whatever I might say they’ll never spend a buck on a mobile game....

  • brianj22

    This is sad to see. I for one have mostly abandoned the platform. I still have about 400 games on my phone and still try to stay current and download good original or App store only titles. At this point though, I prefer playing it on Switch.

  • Morgan Leecy

    I don’t understand the wave of contempt for Apple for daring to upgrade their OS to 64bit in these comments and in comments on similar articles. This is no different than windows upgrades that killed win 95 / 98 games.. ps3 games not working on PS4, etc etc. Apple do not own some monopoly on killing software through upgrades. It happens. Developers patch their games or they don’t, Apple should not have to make concessions for our fond memories and favourites when they move forwards. This will be an unpopular opinion, but it’s been going on since consoles and home computers came about.. and as someone who started gaming on an Atari 2800, and owned a zx81 on release day, software not working on new hardware / os is the price of progression.

  • Ovo de Coruja

    ... and welcome to the world of "adapt or die".