While mobile gaming may have once been viewed as a poor relative to the experiences available on consoles and PCs, it is fair to say that the times have well and truly changed. The news in recent weeks that both a new mobile Street Fighter game and a title based on Warcraft may be on the way are just the latest indications that some of gaming’s biggest names are increasingly keen to make a splash in the area.
So what has changed in the past decade to make mobile gaming such an attractive proposition to gamers and, more importantly, developers?
Looking at the former first, the evolution of mobile technology has meant that times have moved on significantly from simply playing Snake on your ancient Nokia 3310. The quality and rendering of graphics have transformed a huge number of games, while touchscreen and other innovative control features have made playing a host of different games on mobile exciting.
Take iGaming for example, where many gambling businesses have created apps and mobile versions of websites to ensure people can access and play their casino games wherever they want. This has generated massive appeal and, as this infographic from Casinoquest.ca shows, it has encouraged a huge number of people – especially women – to set aside their laptops and play on a smartphone or tablet.
This public appetite for mobile games is reflected in the huge revenues that such titles generate. According to SuperData Research, such games generated more than $40 billion worldwide last year, which marked an 18 percent increase from 12 months earlier. It is now thought that mobile games account for half of the global gaming market.
Such figures are a key reason why many of gaming’s biggest names are keen to get to grips with mobile gaming and ultimately get a slice of that sizable pie for themselves. While Street Fighter and Warcraft may be the latest major console and PC titles expected to move to mobile, they are not the first by a long way.
Perhaps the most notable example was the launch of Pokémon GO last year. Its incredible use of Augmented Reality (AR) technology – another impressive innovation to emerge in mobile tech – made it undoubtedly the biggest game of 2016 and led it to being downloaded a reported 500 million times globally in just a couple of months.
The success of Pokémon GO has highlighted the huge potential and reach that the right kind of game with an exciting, unique selling point can have. With Virtual Reality (VR) technology also now evolving at a major rate and sales of headsets expected to reach 14 million this year, there is a real opportunity for ambitious games developers to create an original and truly exhilarating experience for gamers.
It may well have once just been a poor relative, but it is safe to say that the future is looking brighter than ever for the mobile gaming industry and it is truly exciting to think about just where it could go next.