Super Meat Boy dev slams mobile tactics

Edmund McMillen says too many companies show lack of respect for users with manipulative designs, in-app item purchases.

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The mobile gaming scene is fraught with anti-gamer business practices, according to Super Meat Boy developer Edmund McMillen. Writing on the Team Meat blog recently, McMillen offered a scathing analysis of the current state of the mobile game business.

McMillen isn't too pleased with the current state of mobile gaming.

"As many of you may have noticed, there is a whole sh*t load of wrong out there these days, from abusive and manipulative money making tactics, to flat out stealing," he said. "To us, the core of what is wrong with the mobile platform is the lack of respect for players. It really seems like a large number of these companies out there view their audience as dumb cattle who they round up, milk, and then send them on their way feeling empty or at times violated."

McMillen clarified his claim by lambasting mobile games that force their users to slog away at repetitive actions or use real-world money to acquire in-game items.

"There is an ongoing theme these days to use a very basic video game shell and hang a 'power up carrot' in front of the player. The player sees this carrot, and wants it! All the player needs to do is a few very rudimentary repetitious actions to attain it; once they get to it, another drops down and asks them to do more… but then the catch… instead of achieving these 'goals' by running on the treadmill, you can instead just pay a single dollar and you instantly get to your goal! Better yet, pay 10 and unlock all your goals without even having to ever play the game!"

McMillen then offered a damning take on this particular design choice. He said, "Words cannot express how f***ing wrong and horrible this is, for games, for gamers, and for the platform as a whole. This business tactic is a slap in the face to actual game design and embodies everything that is wrong with the mobile/casual video game scene."

Despite his disdain for the business practices of the mobile game sector, McMillen and Team Meat are currently working on Super Meat Boy: The Game for iOS devices. The developer concluded his update by saying that Team Meat is approaching development on that project with "very open eyes" and that his goal is to make Super Meat Boy: The Game a title that respects players.

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