The idea that consoles will always outpace smartphones and tablets in the mobile gaming sphere seems logical since consoles aren’t restricted by battery, size and graphics limitations. But that idea doesn’t take into account how people actually play games or the breakneck pace of mobile technology development. Today the mobile gaming industry is holding its own, growing by the billion year by year. A new report from Juniper Research even predicts that the market will skyrocket to a whopping $28.9 billion by 2016. Portable devices like the Nintendo DS and the Sony PSP were marginalized practically overnight thanks to thousands of games and apps that made full use of every new upgrade to Android and iOs and the devices they’re on. Of course, the DS may no longer command backpack space but our consoles are still in the living room. The PS4, Xbox One and Wii U still have legions of vocal fans. Whether we’ll see this generation of console’s grandchildren is anyone’s guess, though. Here’s why:
The Democratization of Game Design
There are more indie titles on consoles than there were once upon a time but the barrier to entry for game designers in the console world is still discouragingly high. The innovators are flocking to mobile – whether from inside development companies like Simogo or out of the minds of individuals like Nguyễn Hà Đông, creator of Flappy Bird, the next big title could come from anyone and from anywhere. New ideas are being realized on mobile first because the barrier to entry isn’t low, it’s non-existent.
It’s a Platform Already in Hand
On the go gaming? Hardly. Nearly half of all mobile gaming happens at home according to EA with only 12% happening during commuting hours. That could be because our phones and tablets are already in our hands as we check email or scroll through our Facebook feeds – it’s no effort to fire up a game once liking and sharing starts to bore us, even if we’re standing in the kitchen.
The Tech Has Caught Up
Mobile-gaming technology is advancing exponentially, so that today’s mobile games look more like what you’d find on a sixth gen console or even better and less like Super Nintendo titles. Incredible mobile GPUs mean no more choosing between graphics, length of play and speed – with the Qualcomm Snapdragon being the best mobile GPU to hit the market in a long while. Titles like the RPG Chaos Rings look so good that phones and tablets are becoming some people’s go-to device for gaming.
Game Play that Can’t Be Replicated
Mobile devices are changing the way we interact with games thanks to audio input, touch screens, GPS, proximity sensors and accelerometer input, among other things. Ingress is one title that makes full use of location and physical surroundings in a multi-player augmented reality experience. More games that use the sensors in phones and tablets in new and innovative ways are being released every month.
The name of the game when it comes to mobile is innovation, and that holds true whether you’re talking about shrinking components or the available entertainment. Right now we’re in a golden age of mobile gaming and experts like Michael Pachter, an analyst with Wedbush Securities, are already predicting the eventual death of the console. Whether we’ll hear the bell toll remains to be seen but analysts agree that the mobile market is only going to keep growing. For now, we may as well enjoy the ride!