Mobilizing Gameplay

Posted by Lisa Galarneau on May 5, 2014 in Mobile Gaming -- Share:

It’s a bit hard for an old school gamer like me to believe that so much gaming now occurs on mobile devices. People are enthusiastically squeezing in their gaming whenever they can (I just hope no one is playing while driving!). Wired Magazine reports that mobile is rapidly overtaking consoles in sales and reach. Seems like people really want to take their gaming options with them.

The state of mobile gaming

Here are some fun facts regarding mobile gaming that may surprise you:

  • The age group 20 to 30 spend maximum time while playing games
  • Mobile gamers make up 22% of all US gamers
  • The mobile gaming industry is predicted to reach $54 billion by 2015 (that’s five times the revenue of the movie theater business)
  • 69% of US mobile gamers play games on a smartphone, 21% tablet, and 18% iPod touch
  • Over 100 million people play games on social networks (61% on Facebook); over 500 million play social games globally
  • Angry Birds Makes $6 Million per month purely from ads
  • Over the course of 50 days, Draw Something was downloaded 50 million times; players of Draw Something create 3,000 drawings per second.
  • 51% of the top 25 grossing games in the iTunes App Store are free
  • 93% purchased applications are games
  • 64% gamers play almost every day on their mobile devices
  • In 2012 there are reportedly 800 million mobile/portable gaming devices and by 2014 that number will grow to 1.2 billion

Future directions in mobile gaming

An E3 panel on mobile gaming spent some time pondering the future and made the following predictions:

  • Device convergence will be a bigger and bigger deal with third screen additions to gaming, remote play between devices, and cloud based gaming
  • You’ll be able to play the same game on multiple devices and pick up where you left off
  • Personalization will be a bigger part of game development

My predictions are more games that utilize the best of each platform (say, console plus mobile) and offer a unique gaming experience on each.  So, for example, you can play a big online game at home, then grind for experience points via mini-games/quests on your mobile. The mobile device can also be used as a 3rd screen when you’re playing at home. This could also enable some interesting co-op play, as one person can play on the device while the other plays on PC or console.

I also think geo-location games and alternate reality games will be big in the next few years.  Geo-caching already has an enthusiastic following, and there is precedent in Japan for location-based mobile games that allow you to play in a virtual overlay of a big city like Tokyo.  Alternate Reality Games (ARGs) spin a web of intrigue around you with reality-based triggers for play.  It won’t be long before people are taking calls from non-player characters (NPCs) giving them info about how to progress in a game.

In the meantime, Apple’s iBeacon is already providing tools to gamify experiences in physical reality.  Major League Baseball is developing apps using the beacons to turn baseball stadiums into interactive playgrounds.  There’s no question we’ll be seeing a lot more of this kind of thing in the future.

In the meantime, upcoming games for mobile

Revolution 60
A mobile adventure role-playing game.

 
Backyard Monsters Unleashed
Mobile strategy in your virtual yard.

 
Stealth Bastard
A puzzle platformer with stealth elements.

 
Oddworld Stranger’s Wrath

The beloved Oddworld series now takes on mobile in this 3rd person action title.

 
Phantasy Star Online 2

This classic gets a cool looking reboot especially for mobile.

 
Sticky Bees

Kickstarter funded mobile game – might be a bit freaky if you’re allergic to bees, but good fun otherwise.

 
Are you an avid mobile gamer?  Tell us about your favorite games!

Stats Sources:

  • http://skillz.com/corporate/2013/03/05/65-mobile-gaming-stats-to-impress-your-friends
  • http://www.wired.com/opinion/2013/01/how-mobile-kills-the-console-but-advances-the-gaming-industry/
  • http://www.intexsoft.com/blog/item/179-statistics-of-the-mobile-game-development-market.html
  • http://www.moweble.com/amazing-facts-and-stats-of-mobile-games.html
  • http://www.gamingenthusiast.net/e3-panel-the-future-of-mobile-and-portable-gaming/
  • http://www.newzoo.com/news/mobile-games-data-report-us-western-europe/
    • 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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