Mobile gaming has grown considerably in the past years, what was once just something phone companies felt the need to add as an additional detail, which wasn’t substantial to the phones’ success, has climbed up the ladder of developer focus. I still remember the first phone games on my Nokia 3210, weird how far we traveled over time, right?
(Pretty much everyone remembers this indestructible piece of art)
There have been attempts in the past to focus on the gaming aspect of phones meticulously, but they mostly failed, because of, well, a few reasons; the hardware wasn’t good enough, the games that were made weren’t really killer and the controls made you want to throw the phone away in unbridled rage. One of the most notable examples of failure to cash in on the gaming market by a phone company was Nokia N-Gage.
(Can’t believe I used to own one of these)
Nobody really thought of a phone as much more than a communication device; sure you would take an occasional photo of something interesting or take a video of your dog that you never opened again, but not much else. That’s when Apple came into play with the iPhone.
The iPhone changed the game completely, the expectations of what a phone needs were changed forever, and so did the games on them.
A new wave of software developers who only focused on mobile games started to appear, they didn’t need as big of a budget as Console and PC developers, nor did their games need to be as complex, the focus was mainly on incentivizing the user to spend as much money as possible for some, others went for a buy once approach, and some found a middle ground.
The landscape isn’t much different than it used to be, you can still make a game that is simplistic at its core but extremely fun and gain massive success, but it seems that the market has grown exponentially, your competitors are multi-million dollar companies within the ranks of Activision Blizzard, Electronic Arts, even some mobile-only companies like Supercell and King, that didn’t start big but became titans of the mobile gaming industry over time.
Now the question arises, are there chances of mobile gaming completely overtaking the gaming market?
To answer that, we must first look at where mobile gaming is at the moment, according to the research firm newzoo, mobile gaming revenue has passed both the PC and Console markets combined with 51% revenue share of the entire gaming market.
Although that isn’t a big surprise to most of us, knowing many people that never even thought about touching a pc or a console game, but love playing casual games like candy crush and angry birds, that isn’t all that mobile gaming is. Lately, some developers started testing out more competitive games that are focused on the aspect of battle between players and are encompassed with strategy as their main focus. Some of the more notable examples of that are Clash royale, which at the Crown Championship World Finals 2017 cup had a viewer peak of over 230k, and Vainglory which at the last World Championship had a $140,000 prize pool, not too shabby for a mobile game tournament.
But even with all these positives, the idea of mobile games completely overtaking gaming still doesn’t seem like something we realistically think of, there still is a need for a mouse and a keyboard for first-person shooters at the highest level, and there still is a need for a controller or an arcade stick for fighting games, could you even imagine playing Dark souls with phone controls?
As hardware keeps getting better the future of mobile gaming seems to be brighter than ever, but it doesn’t seem like the market for PC and console games is going away anywhere in the near future.