Back in 2003, the world of Jurassic Park received a handsome boost when Operation Genesis was released on the Xbox, as well as for PC and the PlayStation 2, allowing strategy-building gaming enthusiasts and T-Rex fans alike the chance to not only show that they could improve upon the concepts and ideas of the original builders of the parks (especially those who thought it was a great idea to introduce a T-Rex to mainland USA!) but also to make Dr Hammond's dream a (virtual) reality.
Since then, many gamers and fans of the franchise have been hoping that another game would come along and build on the good but not great promise of the original, reinventing its gaming presence in the same vein that the new Jurassic World development enhanced the overall franchise.
While this particular movie reinvention has been largely successful, the world of gaming and Jurassic Park haven't always been a winning combination, as anyone who has ever played Jurassic Park: The Game will testify. Indeed, Telltale Games have probably rarely seen their name dragged through the mud in such an extreme manner as this game achieved; the company must have been left cursing the fact that they didn't manage to earn the same success that was achieved with the excellent LEGO Jurassic World game, and its choice of 20 dinos to play with, which really helped to get casual gamers interested in the franchise, especially those who had already enjoyed LEGO games focusing on the Star Wars franchise.
So, Where is Jurassic Park Evolution Heading?
Given this mixed history of gaming, the question has to be asked as to whether Jurassic Park Evolution will go down the positive or negative route. Will it turn out to be a flight of fancy in the same way that turning Jurassic Park into a 3D movie was (albeit an enjoyable flight of fancy!)? So far, the signs look good, with many critics suggesting this could be the best game for some time in the Jurassic franchise, and may help to boost interest in the upcoming Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom movie that comes out in 2018. The release of Jurassic Park Evolution should help the franchise stay relevant until the film comes out at the very least, but its maker will hope it ends up being a seriously game-changing development for the franchise.
Despite this, there is always a worry that a game has come at the wrong time for the wrong platform and it is possible that despite the potential enjoyment and interest that some will get out of the game, it is going to enter the gaming world at a time when the facts highlight that gamers are spending more and more money on mobile gaming rather than on their consoles or PCs, with mobile games expected to account for 42% of the global gaming revenue in 2017.
A Path Too Familiar?
It is, after all, mobile gaming that is the serious gaming winner at the moment. Brands like EA are starting to take this area very seriously with titles like Sims Mobile or FIFA Mobile, and the likes of Plarium, who have a mobile focus with their games, are being snapped up for $500 million. In the iGaming sector, online casinos such as Betway are already looking to focus on the development and promotion of pick-up-and-play slot games made primarily for consumers’ mobile devices, including the Jurassic World slot. The question has to be asked, therefore, as to why the Jurassic franchise needs to add to Ludia's Jurassic Park Builder game. Having already shown that the game is popular as a freemium app that enables players to buy bucks to improve their park or just wait for features to be upgraded more slowly over time, Ludia's game has already reached version 4.9.0, meaning that it certainly isn't about to be abandoned by its players any time soon. This suggests that by sticking to console and PC availability, the creators of the game are failing to really comprehend where the target demographic is heading and could be caught out by a declining market.
With many gamers starting to view PC and console gaming as the realm of the professional, a trend shown by the increase in popularity of eSports, where companies like Playstation and even the BBC are getting involved in various ways, the creators of the game may find themselves in a position where they are taking a risk by not adopting the widely popular freemium model, which even in 2014 made up 98% of the worldwide Google play revenue.
Where Next for The Jurassic World?
Should this latest addition to the Jurassic World franchise fail to get serious lift-off, this isn't going to be the death knell in a franchise that is clearly packed full of energy at the moment. With the next film ready to come out in 2018 and the movie already looking much more likely to pull off far more success than the sad ending of the original Jurassic Park franchise, which saw Jurassic Park 3 only taking $365 million at the worldwide box office despite a production budget of $93 million, the era of watching dinosaurs walk again on the big screen is seriously on. Of course, if the game does bomb, it will be used as part of the unfair but inevitable attacks on a “tired” franchise, but achieve success and it could yet be seen as one of the triggers in getting the PC and games console market back towards its glory days.