2014 Mobile Gaming Predictions

Posted by Lisa Galarneau on June 23, 2014 in Game News -- Share:

The new year is an excellent time to ponder the future, and mobile devices are one of the most exciting areas of developing technology.  In this article, I take a look at a variety of predictions for 2014 with a focus on the mobile space and what it might mean for mobile gaming.  For one thing, it was recently reported that smart phones now outnumber PCs.  What will this massive migration to mobile devices mean for the future of gaming?

“I think we’ll see mobile go from massive to super-massive”.- John Earner, CEO, Space Ape Games

Mobile Device Innovations

Curved Displays

These innovative new devices might just be the most hotly anticipated improvement to the mobile platform.  Samsung just revealed the GalaxyRound, a smart phone with a 5.7 inch curved screen.  What difference does a curved screen make?  The manufacturers say that the curvature helps reduce reflections and glossiness, which can make a big difference if you use your device in direct sunlight quite a lot.

It is rumored that even the iPhone 6 is getting a curved display update. But it’s Korean manufacturer  LG that wins with an even more exciting innovation: the LG G Flex.  The phone itself is somewhat bendable, and it has a large 6-inch display perfect for gaming and media viewing.

Performance Improvements

The latest crop of mobile devices cram even more processing power into ever-smaller (and cheaper!) designs.  Manufacturers are reporting improvements to graphics processing and power consumption, as well.

Display Improvements

Displays are getting bigger and thinner, and there are also many improvements to fidelity, including higher resolutions (1080p).

New Tablets, Table PCs and HUGE Tablet Displays

From a gaming perspective, the giant tablets and table PCs could be real game changers.  There are several new tablets that now run multiple operating systems, like Windows 8 and Android.  There is even a new curved (and bendable!) TV from Samsung, just unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

Software and Apps

A new version of Android is on the horizon.  It features a newly designed user interface that mimics the Windows 8/Windows Phone dynamic tiles.


 

Device Connectivity

The notion of an ‘Internet of things‘ has been around for a while, but it looks like device convergence is finally on its way, and that opens up a lot of new options for games that span multiple devices.  For one thing, it’s likely that game developers will continue to work on concepts for using smaller devices as ‘third screens’ that augment game play on other platforms.

“I see 2014 as the year where the cross-platform experience delivers as more than a marketing exercise, where teams will provide genuinely complementary experiences across multiple platforms, where the games work together to give a meta experience on top of them all. But it needs somebody to be brave and take the risk!”Nick Button-Brown, studio head, Improbable

“We are due a raft of new connectivity between mobile, TV, consoles, tablets and other devices” – Harvey Elliott, CEO, Marmalade

Wearables and VR

Oculus Rift

This virtual reality helmet has everyone abuzz, and the new demo revealed at CES really shows off its potential.



 

Google Glass

This wearable is an exciting bit of progress in mashing up the virtual with the physical, but its $1500 price tag has left a lot of people lacking motivation.  One rumor is that the price is likely to drop to $499 this year, making it more widely accessible.

Sixth Sense

Another entry in the virtual reality/wearable space is from Sixth Sense.

Smart Watches

It seems like just about everyone has a version of a smart watch coming out this year.  The big question is whether the tiny screens could be suitable for game play, even if they are just combined with other platforms as the ‘third screen’ I mentioned.

Game-specific Devices

GameStick is an affordable console that runs Android and connects with a Bluetooth controller (similar the the Ouya, which I covered in a previous article).


 

Written by

Dr. Lisa Galarneau is a socio-cultural anthropologist, futurist and games researcher. She's been playing video games since 1981 (Pong!) and loves adventure-style games, RPGs, online games, simulations and anything novel. Her love for games has been passed onto her gamer kid, and she spends a lot of time observing and pondering the future of games.

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