If you’ve been keeping an eye on the gaming industry over the last 12 months, you’ll know that mobile gaming is now the biggest player in town. With more than 2 billion people now carrying a smartphone, the opportunity for developers to tap into new demographics is at an all-time high.
Indeed, with industry experts like game developer Mike Rose calculating that 500 iOS and 250 Android games were launched per day in 2014, it’s easy to see why analysts were able to say that just two years later mobile gaming revenue had surpassed both PC and console earnings. According to Newzoo’s Global Games Market report, the mobile games market is now worth $36.9 billion compared to $31.9 billion for PC games and $29 billion in the console sector.
This rapid rate of growth since 2014 has not only given developers the means to launch a wealth of new products, it’s given consumers many more ways to play. Naturally, this means more games to download and enjoy, but it also means more innovations. The combination of industry growth and technological evolution has resulted in players gaining access to some impressive gaming options just in the last 12 months.
With this in mind, we’ve picked out three of the most impressive mobile gaming experiences you can now enjoy from smartphone or tablet:
Live Action Gaming
— bgo (@bgo_official) May 25, 2015
Gaming on the go used to be an all-virtual affair until the iGaming sector combined RFID chips and HD webcams with some online betting software. In the past it used to be the case that players would have to compete against a faceless random number generator. Whether that meant a turn on Mr Smith’s Monopoly-themed Roulette Tycoon or Winner Casino’s single-deck blackjack, players had to test their skills against a faceless computer program.
Today, players of all skill levels can enjoy the efficiency of gaming via their mobile but with all the realism of being in a bricks-and-mortar casino. For example, at bgo, players have the option to ante up at six different “live dealer” tables. What makes these games unique (aside from Verne Troyer being on the adverts) is the added extras you can get by playing. When you make a live casino deposit, the “bgo boss” will give you 50% on top. This combination of added value and increased interaction has made live action gaming hugely popular.
Step into an Augmented World
If you encountered a Dragonite in the wild, which Berry would you choose? pic.twitter.com/1DDGj6iZRx
— Pokémon GO (@PokemonGoApp) March 1, 2017
Another area of innovation that’s taken the mobile gaming world by storm in recent months is augmented reality. Although the concept of overlaying virtual environments on top of the real world has been around since 2012, Pokémon Go took it to a new level in 2016. The trend has faded in 2017, bur the game itself has grossed more than $1 billion and at least 20 million daily users in the US alone.
Part of the game’s appeal was the “get out and explore” dynamic it brought to the mobile gaming world. Up until now, mobile gaming hasn’t been very mobile. Yes, players could play console-quality games anytime, anywhere. However, the number of games actually pushing players to take their experience mobile was limited. Thanks to Pokémon Go all that looks set to change. Syncing a player’s movements to elements inside a game is not only possible thanks to augmented reality, but likely to be the trend moving through 2017 and beyond.
Learning New Skills Without Knowing It
— Tomorrow Corporation (@TomorrowCorp) October 15, 2015
For innovation in 2016, International Mobile Gaming Awards only had one winner in mind in 2016: Human Resource Machine. Despite looking fairly basic, the game won the award for the most ingenious app of the year because it taught users a relatively complex skill without them really knowing it. Games have long had the power to teach us something, but Human Resource Machine from the Tomorrow Corporation took things to a new level.
Originally a PC product released in 2015, the puzzle game hit Android devices a year later and started turning mere novices into accomplished programmers. Although players aren’t going to put down the game and instantly become leading computer programmers, the game does strip back the process to its fundamentals and turn it into a game. Each puzzle (set by “the boss”) is essentially a programming dilemma that the user has to solve. As players move up the levels, the problems become more complex until, eventually, they are thinking like a programmer without knowing it!
Mobile gaming has certainly changed the nature of the industry. With more people playing games than ever before and technology opening the doors to more opportunities, the innovations look set to continue. Indeed, although out three picks have broken with tradition, it’s likely we’ll see even more immersion, entertainment and ingenuity in the coming years.