Let's Talk Games: Is Mobile the Future of Gaming?
There's no doubt that the iOS and Android have both become highly successful systems that redefined mobile technology as we know it. These changed our way of computing and communicating, not to mention that these paved the way for many useful apps fit for almost any daily task.
But the rise of smartphones has brought one more thing closer to the general public: gaming.
Back in 1989, people mashed buttons on clunky Gameboys. Soon after, Nokia's "Snake," "Space Impact," and "Bantumi" took over. The rest - such as the other versions of Gameboy, the arrival of PSP and DS, et al - is, as they say, history.Still, no other phenomenon has come close to how the popularity of mobile gaming skyrocketed when smartphones were put under the limelight.
The Hard Figures
Since 2012, the mobile gaming industry has seen remarkable increases in profits - and the figures have only gone up since then.
Predictions also put a lot of weight on the contributions of the mobile market in the entire video gaming industry. This year, experts foresee an $11.4-billion profit in mobile gaming alone. Moreover, reports show that mobile will drive the sector past the $100 billion revenue mark come 2017.
The Misnomer on PC/Console Decline
The undeniable popularity of smartphones gave birth to one ridiculous notion: PCs and consoles are dying. Not really. There are several things that prove this point. For one, there's GTA V, which is a solid - and downright awesome - testament to how game developers still put focus on PC and console games. The rise of indie titles in big events like the E3 is also a strong proof that PC/console gaming isn't heading south just yet.
If you're still unconvinced, you should know that the ongoing Dota 2 The International 4 tournament has a crowdsourced - yes, gamers pooled the money together - grand prize of over $10 million.
The Issues with Mobile Hardware
Now, let's look at another aspect of the mobile market: hardware. Today's latest smartphones may feature quad to octa-core processors, but current titles don't capitalize on these resources just yet. You will have to wait for newer releases to make sure that you truly use the four or eight cores you have on your phone.
Contrast this to the power of consoles and high-end PCs, machines that sport massive computing power - from its processor to its GPU - that allow nearly realistic graphics and gameplay.
Of course, mobile phones will become more powerful in the next few years, but these handheld devices will never ever catch up with the beef inside game consoles and gaming PCs. This is just similar to the case of laptops and tablets not being able to catch up with the latest, most powerful specs desktops have. And let's not even discuss the issue with smartphone batteries. We all know that you already charge your phone way too often.
The Big Devs' Views
Looking at it from the perspective of big game developers is also a good way to shed light on this matter.
Now, most devs have published games for mobile devices, but let's take a look at the genres of these releases. Almost all - if not all - mobile games have a casual element to them. Some genres, such as tower defense and puzzle games fit perfectly for smartphones, for people who want to kill boredom on their commute to work. But at the moment, mobile isn't ready to embrace console superstar genres, such as RPGs and first-person shooter titles.
It's also evident how Nintendo continues to snub the mobile industry, although it would be awesome if it did give mobile a try. Pokemon on Android, anyone?
The Real Future of Gaming
Mobile technology will definitely play an important role in the future of gaming, but it will not be alone in paving the way for more awesome titles in the future. With the many other projects out there, different technologies will collectively herald a new era for all gamers.
For starters, we have all seen motion technology in action, especially with the Nintendo Wii. There's also the crowdfunded virtual-reality headset Oculus Rift and its competitor Project Morpheus. Although Facebook acquired the Oculus Rift recently (much to the dismay of A LOT of people), the technology will still deliver something new to the table later on.
PC and console gaming will always have their charm - that unique home experience and long hours of gameplay no mobile device can ever match. And both of these areas will continue to thrive, albeit not at its pace during its prime.
The gaming industry is in the middle of a generational shift, a period of transitions. We see more powerful machines and mobile devices, not to mention new technologies that redefine our experience in playing games.
And while we cannot predict the exact events that will unfold in the gaming sector's future, one thing's for certain: from this point forward, things will only get better.