I wonder, if it were possible for people of centuries past to catch a glimpse of the future, would they be surprised with how things have turned out? Would they have wondered what we were all doing with our heads buried for hours at a time in these shiny rectangles? They might well have. But until they gave smartphones a go themselves, they wouldn’t be able to comprehend just how much fun they really are. Especially when it comes to gaming. Smartphone gaming is huge, and it doesn’t look to be slowing down any time soon. For a gaming medium as young as smartphone gaming, this type of growth is unprecedented. The Norwegian website NorskeNyheter.com tried to answer this question in their article (in the Norwegian language). We found it quite interesting, therefore decided to reproduce it in English. So how exactly has the ascent occurred? Let us count the ways.
2015 was a big, big year for smartphone gaming. Anybody who was tuned into the Super Bowl earlier this year inadvertently witnessed video game history being made. Supermodel Kate Upton waltzed through a virtual battlefield for Game of War, then none other then Liam Neeson lent his voice to the boys at Clash of Clans. What made this event historic was the fact that neither of these games are available on Nintendo’s, Sony’s or Microsoft’s flagship consoles; they are exclusively for smartphones. Do you know how much it costs to put an ad in the Super Bowl? Millions. And yet, these companies, thought it was not only worth their cash to buy a prime spot, but it was also worth their cash to pay Neeson and Upton the inevitable bucket-loads they no doubt charged to appear and flog their wares.
So how did mobile gaming get into this position? One factor is undoubtedly accessibility. Unlike the Playstation or the Xbox which cost a pretty penny and are used exclusively to play games which also in turn cost a pretty penny, smartphones are versatile little tools, that don’t have to cost very much at all. Almost everyone over the age of, say, fourteen in the Western world has a phone; in 2015, the majority of these are smartphones. Factor in that the games themselves are cheap as chips or even free, and you have a recipe for mass distribution.
Another factor is almost certainly the mobility of the games. Whenever people are bored or waiting for something, be it a bus or a late friend, they’ll inevitably turn to their smartphone. Having games that provide short bursts of entertainment that you can dip in and out of is gold-dust for the smartphone gaming industry. The closest thing the traditional game industry can offer is the Nintendo 3DS, which doesn’t come anywhere near the smartphone in terms of distribution or ease of use.
Also, smartphone gaming appeals to all sorts of gamers. There’s passive games for the casual gamer, or more in depth challenges for the hardcore gamer. Look at it this way; if you’re a casual gamer, you’re probably going to own a smartphone, so you’ll dip in and out for a game or two on the commute to work. If you’re a hardcore gamer, you’re going to want to play all sorts of games, especially ones that can be provided from your phone. Add in to the mix the ability to instantly play online with people all over the world, and it should be clear why smartphone gaming just keeps getting bigger and bigger. 2015 was huge for the industry; and it’s not slowing down any time soon.