It's not uncommon to hear people forecasting the doom of modern gaming. Consoles, PCs, and handheld gaming devices are all going to be rendered obsolete as people move to tablets and play more games on their phones, they say. The arguments for iOS and Android gaming being the future, however, are so specious that they're hilarious; these mobile devices don't just provide a shallower game experience, but also come with serious trade-offs that will become more and more apparent down the road.
Mobile games are time bombs
First, one of the less-obvious problems: mobile games are time bombs. An update, either of the app or the device itself, can suddenly render a game you love completely unplayable, and you need only look at the iOS port of Crimson Gem Saga for an example. Crimsom Gem Saga was a good game with a few small issues, but after the iOS 5 update, the game simply refused to work. Not being able to roll back to an earlier iOS version ensured that this couldn't be fixed on the players' end, and this otherwise well-received game was subsequently barraged with one-star user reviews that can be summed up as "shame on you for not fixing this." Several iOS versions later, the game remains unfixed. This means that anyone who purchased the game on the app store has since lost their access to it because of an update, barring those who have refused to update since iOS 4. However, it's worth mentioning that those who refused to upgrade face different problems because many newer apps require at least iOS 5 in order to function properly.
As a contrast to all of this, note that those who have 20 year-old cartridges of Link's Awakening and a Game Boy can still play through that game without any problems whatsoever.
There are so many bad games
Yes, there are a few incredible iOS and Android games out there (Chaos Rings 2 springs immediately to mind), but actually finding these games is an exercise in frustration. Rather than finding complex strategy games and deep RPGs among the top-selling apps, the top games on mobile devices tend to be minecraft clones, match-3 clones, hidden object games, movie tie-ins, and games that are already well-established on the mobile platform like Angry Birds. There's nothing necessarily wrong with those games, but mobile gaming needs to grow up a little. That statement probably deserves a little explanation.
The original Game Boy was packaged with Tetris (and Tetris' immense popularity helped drive the handheld's sales), so there's certainly nothing wrong with puzzle games fueling the initial interest in a system. If Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja had just created interest in the gaming side of iOS and Android, then there would be absolutely nothing wrong with that. However, mobile games have since been stuck in a rut, with those types of shallow games absolutely dominating the system. Whereas the Game Boy moved on to strike a balance between several different types of games, app developers saw the success of games like Angry Birds and tried to copy that success rather than building off of it, choosing to do the same types of things over and over rather than branching out in different directions. Because of that, there are very few truly original games on either iOS or Android. Can you imagine if the developers of Pokemon Red and Blue had seen the success of Tetris and changed Pokemon to be a puzzle game?
This is the worst side of apps, hands-down. Now, microtransactions that exist for purely aesthetic reasons aren't a problem, but many games—even many games you have to initially pay for—are designed with difficulty spikes later on, with in-app purchases available to help combat those spikes. What this means is that the purpose of these games is to get you invested, then prey on that investment by cranking up the difficulty and ensuring that the only "out" aside from hours of grinding is to fork out some cash. This kind of thing sees a huge backlash on other platforms (Knights of Pen and Paper in particular had many people demanding refunds after purchase), but on mobile devices it goes completely unchecked. It could even be seen as the point; rather than creating memorable, fair games at a reasonable price, it's often more profitable to sell games for cheap (or offer them for free) and rely on microtransactions. Given how deeply microtransactions end up being intertwined with gameplay, this is not only a completely dishonest practice that reflects poorly on gaming as a whole, but something that's holding mobile games back.
Touch controls are awful
This doesn't require much explanation; if you've ever tried to play a fast-paced game on a phone or tablet, you probably already know just how bad touch controls can be. They're completely unreliable, and the games that have a virtual joystick and buttons manage to be even worse. Whatever the control scheme, it's easy for your finger to drift in the wrong direction, and without any physical feedback like an actual controller provides, you can easily wind up going in the wrong direction or pressing the wrong button.
That being said, a few games have done it right. The Chaos Rings series comes to mind again because of the way those games handle movement (it feels much more natural than most mobile games, though the puzzles in the first game showcase just how bad touch controls can be). Still, far too many mobile games feel like controlling a drunken bull in a china shop full of people with osteoporosis, and losing a game because the touch controls are unwieldy is incredibly frustrating.
You can't trust the reviews
This is one of the uglier sides of mobile gaming, and it's undeniably prevalent—you need only jump into a few apps to see just how common it is. Many games will give you in-game items in return for rating their game highly, and even those that don't will often beg the gamer to give it a five-star review (usually just minutes in, before the player even has a chance to form an informed opinion that would actually be helpful to others). The end result of this is that completely useless games often end up with 4 and a half stars out of 5, making it impossible to actually tell which games are good and which are simply bribing their player base.