Gwent, the standalone version of the trading card game first introduced in CD Projekt Red's renowned RPG The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, will finally be coming to Android devices this year, about a year following its debut on Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, assuming its development goes according to plan the Polish studio announced.
While the mobile port of the game is now scheduled for a fall release and the first stable version hit consoles and desktops last October, it's actually been nearly two years already since the game became available to a large subset of its target audience in the form of a beta.
What's worrying for Android gamers is that the iOS port of the game will be taking precedence over the Android one and it's only the former that's been officially announced for a 2019 release. Even though numerous industry sources previously reported Gwent should be hitting the Google Play Store by fall, CDPR's lack of urgency is as concerning as it is puzzling; the Witcher 3 will be celebrating its fourth anniversary next month and it's been nearly three years since the game was officially concluded with the release of the Blood and Wine expansion.
Even though Gwent stood the test of time on its own among a small subset of gamers, it's long past its peak and while mobile re-releases are bound to help it regain some traction, it does appear to be extremely late to the market, especially since CDPR still can't even attach an actual launch date to either smartphone port.
While the Witcher 3 version of the game was envisioned as a traditional TCG, with players being able to trade cards with non-playable characters, CDPR redesigned the standalone experience as a CCG more akin to Hearthstone. The issue with that strategy is that Gwent lacks the complexity of CCGs, having already proven it has issues with customer retention. None of that bodes well for the game's monetization potential and while CDPR's latest financial report suggests the Witcher 3 is still selling well (it generated $26.2 million along with Thronebreaker in 2018), it's unlikely a mobile release of one of its mini-games will significantly boost that performance four years following the game's original debut.
For added context, it's been so long since the Gwent was first introduced that the game already went on to inspire many other titles, some of which ended up doing reasonably well on both Android and iOS. CDPR says the reason the mobile port took so long largely comes down to its desire to commit itself to new technologies and ensure Gwent is as good as it can possibly be, citing features such as an in-house multiplayer framework powered by the GOG Galaxy client.
None of that will matter to most players in the end as Gwent for mobile appears to be a sign of CDPR stretching itself too thin. Whether the Android game's development picks up over the course of this year remains to be seen but there's some promise on that front seeing how the company just secured offices near its HQ in Warsaw that should allow it to hire up to 300 new developers.