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The Rise Of Mobile Devices As The Primary Hardware For Gaming

With the increasing popularity of smartphones and tablets on the market, it has been predicted by analysts that mobile devices will be the primary hardware for gaming by 2016.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

With the increasing popularity of smartphones and tablets on the market, it has been predicted by analysts that mobile devices will be the primary hardware for gaming by 2016. Based on the 2013 data released by the State of the Industry Survey, 55% of the participants in last year’s Game Developers Conference are interested in porting their console and PC games for smartphones and tablets and 58% of these developers are planning on launching their next creations on mobile platforms – Android and iOS, specifically. On the other hand, traditional consoles fared relatively poor in the same survey, since only 13.2% of the participants are interested in developing titles for Microsoft’s Xbox 360, Sony PlayStation, and Nintendo. 

Given this scenario, what will happen to the PC and console-based mobile gaming systems in the future? What about online gaming? For this entry, we’ll discuss the possibility of mobile takeover in the gaming industry. We’ll also investigate the culprit behind this trend. 


The Advent Of Powerful Mobile Devices: The Main Culprit 
By going back to the days where we only have basic Nokia feature phones that can only play Snake and Space Impact, it’s hard to imagine that we are now experiencing a massive hardware and software leap forward in mobile devices. 
 
In 2013, Apple released first ever smartphone with a true 64-bit CPU -- the iPhone 5s. As reported by Jill Duffy of PC Mag, Apple also added a support for OpenGL ES version 3.0 in the handset, making it possible for game developers to write an application with incredibly rich interface and console-level graphics. 
 
Another exciting opportunity for both game developers and players is the wide array of Android handsets these days that are optimized for gaming. Samsung Galaxy S5 (Apple’s biggest competitor and now considered as Android’s major OEM) is equipped with either a quad-core (for international editions) or an octa-core (Asian markets) CPU, which is capable of delivering robust speed and superb gaming performance. It is also equipped with a full 1080p HD display, which is comparable to the configuration of HDTVs. 
 
The Rise Of Mobile Responsive Online Games And Mobile Applications 
Due to the increasing ownership of handheld devices, 2013 has been dubbed as the Year of Responsive Web Design. In the gaming industry, it is also the beginning of mobile responsive gaming. As pointed out by Smashinghub.com, it is the process where old websites are built to adjust to the visitors device regardless of the web browser and operating environment. It also involves the process of scaling game visuals across multiple devices with different screen sizes. 
 
One of the most popular online gaming titles that are now available for mobile devices is the Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft. Initially launched for iPad, its developers are already testing out its Android, iOS, and mobile web counterpart. Those who are veteran gamers of the online PC version need not to register as new players in the mobile responsive version. Their card collections can even be ported across all their devices in real-time, allowing long-time players to just continue their progress while on the go. 
 
Another example is the popular gaming website in the UK called Partypoker. According to Daily Revolution, apart from being one of the top poker games in Official Poker Ranking List, it is also the first of its kind to implement a mobile responsive online gaming experience. As highlighted by Danny Willis, the company’s social media specialist on the Partypoker blog, in September 2013, the online gaming portal was made available for Mac, PC, and mobile devices (Android and iOS) in both download (mobile and PC app) and no-download versions (HTML 5 web version). And despite the scaled down screen size of the iPhone and Android edition, all of the desktop features (1-click Lobby, Missions, Achievements, Friends and Profile Page, and Virtual Cashier) were still intact and available to the visitors. 
  
The Rise Of Mobile Consumers And Mobile Gamers 
Another factor which influences the shift towards mobile gaming is the increasing adoption of mobile devices among global consumers. Based on Business Insider’s 2013 statistics, the global per-capita rate of smartphone ownership now beats that of personal computers (22% versus 6%). This has influenced the decision of game developers to create, if not prioritize, mobile platforms as they develop commercial and indie games. By considering the smartphone and tablets market, they are given the opportunity to target over 1.4 billion smartphone (or two handsets for every nine people) users worldwide. 
  
Though mobile devices are on the rise based on these factors, we still believe that the traditional gaming experience will not cease to exist. There is still one thing that mobile devices lag behind as far as gaming is concerned --- full 3D visual experience, which is only available in selected consoles and high-end PCs. 

 

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