The Evolution of Mobile Gaming

Smartphone games keep dominating global gaming revenues as smartphone technologies improve at a tremendously fast rate. Konami, the legendary Japanese game developer, even announced that its main platform will be dedicated to mobile games. Although desktop still brings in the larger portion of retail sales compared to mobile devices, tablets and smartphones dominate the time spent browsing products.

Nickelodeon conducted research that found that 34% of children under 11 have a tablet and they tend to get their first smartphone by the time they enter secondary school. Although online games on a mobile phone are increasingly popular and are played by children and adults alike, mobile gaming and console/desktop gaming tend to serve different markets. Hardcore gamers would argue that smartphones lack some technologies that make the experience of playing a game great, such as gesture detection and motion sensing, but this could all be improved with the advance of VR glasses.

Since the emergence of the first mobile phone game run on the CPU - Snake - things have evolved at an incredible speed. In 2007 the very first Mali-based phone was released with an early iteration of 3D graphics and the then-novel stylus controls. From there, the Mali-400 became the multi-core GPU that brought the mobile gaming revolution and the first in a long line of ever advancing graphics technology from ARM.

Various types of games are now available as apps. From the classic games of Sudoku and Crossword Puzzle that can be downloaded straight into a smartphone to MMO games that have gained a lot of popularity due to the advanced hardware now present in modern phones and tablets. A game such as Lineage 2 allows up to 200 players to fight in real-time on a single screen, while there are also 20vs20 and 50vs50 competitive gaming modes. Moreover, even casino games, such as mobile slots, can be found as apps and downloaded on all mobile devices. According to this article, game manufacturers have poured in millions of dollars and working hours to developing HTML5 to make the games work on all devices.

Although mobile gaming is generating more revenue than all other types of gaming, it also has the highest abandonment rate among all the app categories, according to Adobe. A good example is the Pokemon Go phenomenon. This augmented reality game allows players to aim the device’s camera at a location and through the screen to see the area captured, as well as computer-generated graphics atop it. But its rapid growth soon turned into a rapid decline: from having nearly 45 million players in the first few weeks of its release, it had closer to 30 million a month later.

There is the question of whether mobile games will replace PC games in the future, but that is something not very likely to happen. The real player of the future is the IoT and the focus should be on adopting more of its technology. A huge boom for game developers could be the use of virtual reality applications, which will see those eager to make a profit are crowding in on this sector.


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