Mobile gaming has quickly become a leading part of the industry. It has been suggested that over 54% of all gamers are playing on their mobile device – this extends to a change in demographic too as gaming is no longer primarily targeted and young teenage males as a growing audience outside of this has started to occur – in fact a similar suggestion has been made that the majority of gamers are now women over the age of 34. But how did mobile gaming get to the point it’s at now?
Accessibility – The biggest thing going for the platform is in the accessibility it offers. No longer do users have to pay the cost of a new console or upgrading their PC, they just use the current device they already have. In a similar vein, there is little to distinguish most flagship devices – the hardware inside is all very similar, and because of this the games that are played on mobile devices all behave in a very similar manner to. This means game developers aren’t required to do anything too special to make performance uniform across these devices.
Nature and genre – Another important factor is within the nature and genre of the games that are being played. Mobile gaming typically lends itself to a more casual player base, users are more likely to play for shorter amounts of time but regularly throughout the day. This can be easily seen in popular genres such as puzzle, which require little time investment, the smaller strategy games which require a little monitoring throughout the day but little interaction, or even online gambling as card games and free slots enable players to jump in and out at will.
Connectivity – This is what allowed millions of new users to join gaming with little restriction – connectivity to various application marketplaces allowed the games to gather exposure just by being displayed. Social media connectivity has opened the door for games to be shared and enjoyed amongst friends, and general internet connectivity improvements have allowed an always-on connection keeping progress updated and measured with little effort. This is also something that has given mobile the benefit over other platforms, where data needs to be saved constantly to not hinder progress. Mobile devices have done so seamlessly and to a point where many players aren’t even aware that it is being done.
There are big changes on the way for other platforms. This holiday season sees the release of the next generation of consoles from both Sony and Microsoft, with movement also being seen in the PC enthusiast space as Nvidia are set to launch the 3000 series of GPU. But this does little to sway the mind of many mobile gamers who will remain unaware of the larger gaming market around them, in favour of the rapidly growing library of available mobile games. The potential next generation for mobile gaming in either augmented or virtual reality – for all audiences involved however, it certainly is an exciting time for gaming as a whole.