Talking with friends at work or school about doing a raid but need to change your loadout? Want to have your K/D on hand at all times? Companion apps might be just what you need. Or in some cases might not be.
If you’ve played games within the past 5 years chances are you’ve heard of a companion app. A second screen for a game that will show you stats, clan news, patch news, or just a few other useful and non-useful things. Some developers take time to make a good companion app, others just tack it on to either distract you from a mediocre game or to jump on the trend. And when it is done right, it can be a great and fun tool. This is not a top 10 list, just a small rant about the ups and downs, and the need or want for companion apps.
Games such as Destiny, Assassins Creed, and Fallout 4 have well made and easy to use apps. Destiny letting you change your gear, find other people who want to play and complete difficult missions, and tell you what the in game vendors have. Where Assassins Creed, primarily Black Flag, let you control your in game crew/fleet. So you can improve your game without actually playing. So when you get back to play you will have a stockpile of useful resources. And for any open world game, one of the most useful and needed tools is the map. Fallout 4, as well as many other open world game apps, have a map that you can use while you are playing. And of course you can check your character stats and quest. All of these are handy to have on your mobile device.
Don’t get me wrong, there are some absolutely pointless apps, or apps that developers game up on or forgot. For example the apps for Ghost Recon Wildlands, a game I recently reviewed, was very lackluster. Yes, it had a mad and small mini game but that was about it. I know we all love GTAV, and the app was interesting but it didn’t bring much other than a potty time passer. With vehicle garage and the Chop mini game, there was so much potential for a GTA second screen app. It’s not the worst app, but I’d rather have them focus on GTA Online than the iFruit app. And from a game that is near and dear to my heart, the Titanfall app. Definitely the one I hate the most. The lore aspect was the only enjoyable part. I mean it was the only extra story we were getting. And the online map feature was… pointless. It might have been just me having issues but it rarely loaded, and when it did the match was half over.
Not all companion apps are for games tho. Every console has their own app as well as Steam, Ubisoft, and other game launchers. But Playstation and Xbox reign over that spectrum. With Playstation being able to purchase on the app and have it download to your console without turning it on. And Xbox pretty much becoming its own social media page with clubs, news feeds, and trending sections. There are really no bad console/launcher companion apps, just more detailed ones. And the developers show no sign of slowing down on keeping the apps updated with fixes and new features.
With all of that being said, I feel like companion apps should be continued. But only to be done well. They are incredibly helpful for single player and multiplayer games. Everyone I’ve talked to has at least 2-3 on their phone or tablet. Usually 1 or 2 console apps, and 1 or 2 game apps. Almost all of them had different game apps, from Destiny and Battlefield to Mass Effect and Battleborn. Some will call it fan service, but I find them an incredibly useful tool. Not every game needs one, and not every gamer wants one. But most of us want, need, and use them. Hopefully the quality improves, and they don’t become just marketing tools and slapped on messes.