Techy Tuesday: How Mobile Technology Changed The Gaming Industry

by Caitlyn Williams

Photo courtesy of Johan Larsson via Flickr Creative Commons
Photo courtesy of Johan Larsson via Flickr Creative Commons

Carrying almost the same power as our personal computers (PCs), smartphones and tablets have shown a significant increase in performance to be able to run our favorite graphic-intensive and processor-hungry games. Today, we have smart devices that have the similar 64-bit performance as our laptops and PCs, thus some of the highly praised online, mobile app, and software game developers have chosen to make their titles responsive to fit the small screens of devices. In 2013, a study by Futuresource Consulting, as published by A List Day, reported that the mobile game market will reach a staggering $10 billion worldwide this year. “The accelerating uptake of smartphones has been the primary driver in apps growth, with high quality touchscreens, powerful programmable processors, improved graphics and cameras, increased storage, accelerometer and GPS all becoming standard and all making their contribution to an improved mobile gaming experience,” Futuresource’s Lead Mobile Analyst Patrik Pflander said.
Today, we see how developers and mobile platforms are trying their best to give the best gaming experience while people are on the go. This post will show you how smart devices have changed the way we play our favorite virtual games.

Online games to mobile technology
Another sign that smartphones have changed the way we play our virtual games is when our favorite online titles are now ported to our mobile devices. Today, we have the acclaimed Heartstone: Heroes of Warcraft for mobile. A monthly report from the National Electronic Sports League showed a continuous increase of registered players (from 4,060,471 to 4,548,091) and teams (from 899,315 to 982,463) from the day it was launched on April 2013 up to the present day. Previously only for PC, the game will soon be available for iOS and Android devices. Players only need to share their Stream account, so they can carry over all their unlocked stages and items from platform to platform (PC to mobile device and vice versa).
Online games, including poker websites, are now also available for smart devices, too. An example is the Partypoker application which was one of the first poker apps that came from an online website. Currently, its software is among the top rated poker games, as reported by the Official Poker Ranking’s list. Initially for Android devices only, the app is now downloadable for iOS devices where most of the new desktop features are available for your mobile. As featured on Partypoker’s blog, the company promised a faster way to search for games made for all players through the 1-Click Lobby feature. It also boasts a social interaction feature where you get to interact with your Facebook friends who are also playing the game.
But, apart from online titles, a massive number of console games also have a mobile version. Microsoft, who owns the Windows Phone (WP) and Xbox console line, has introduced Xbox titles that can be played on WP devices. One of which is the Halo: Spartan Assault with 30 action-packed missions available to accomplish. Last year, Metacritic gave it a 71/100 metascore, based on 16 reviews. Overall, they considered the application a worthwhile purchase for Windows Phone gamers, but not a killer app for the platform.

Where to start? Android or iOS
Mobile game developers are inconsistent when it comes to which platform they should launch their first mobile game app on. Perhaps, the question we should be asking is: What’s your initial goal upon the release of your app? If it’s to gain profit, there’s no doubt that the Apple Store can provide the sales success you’re looking for, as the previously mentioned Futuresource study revealed that the App Store generates $1.7 billion sales worldwide. But, if you’re aiming to gain traction and longer life in this competitive app development market, then you might want to consider releasing your app on the Google Play Store. Separate research by Canadian-based mobile analytics company Mobia, which was recently featured by Geek Wire, revealed that Android mobile games have more user traction. Since the App Store is saturated with the leading iOS applications, it becomes harder to get constant followers and engagement. “Android is still lagging behind iOS when it comes to the release cycle of big-ticket games and, as a consequence, the games that become global hits on the platform face less competition over users’ time and attention,” Mobia’s study noted.

Quality is everything
Overall, the most important element that developers have to consider before porting their titles to mobile is to ensure quality is there at all times. After all, who would want to use a game application that lags and freezes everytime you use it? Gameforge mobile CEO Andre Potgeter said in an interview with Phil Tottman of Mobile Entertainment that “quality is crucial for mobile games success.” He argued that keeping the game fun to play will make it far in this very competitive market. But, Potgeter predicted that mobile games with more in-depth gameplay will attract new players, although casual games will continue to prosper for now.

As technology continues to evolve, we should expect the game industry to keep changing their platforms to a faster and more convenient means. Who knows, we might start see holographic games soon– only the future holds the answer to that.