Technology advancements have changed our lives and recent events have provided a reminder of how dependent we are on modern technology and the advantages that come with it. Almost every industry has benefited from the growth of technology, perhaps none more than the gaming sector where the landscape looks completely different.
Gaming is much more approachable today, which is why the number of people who are games has dramatically increased. New device types, along with App Stores, have not only made gaming simpler, but they have also made it a lot more fun. With mobile gaming technology being one of the biggest industry drivers, we look at some of the ways in which technology has impacted the industry as a whole.
Smartphone technology and gaming apps
First came consoles, then came the PC and online gaming, but it is the advent of smartphones that has put the industry where it is today. Gaming with a device in our pocket is just more convenient than consoles or PCs, and the total addressable market for a developer, is a lot larger.
At the end of 2019, mobile gaming accounted for close to 80% of online gaming, making it the biggest revenue drawer for the industry by far.
Games today a lot for the casual gamer, that only has a few minutes to spare, like when you’re waiting in line for a coffee. While fun has always been a focus for games, the widest possible audience will naturally gravitate to games that are easy and fun to play.
Initially, games didn’t have the complex features, storylines or graphical quality and effects we have today. Thanks to the relentless development of new, more realistic experiences, high-quality graphics keep driving billions of dollars of R&D spend on improving GPUs in your PC and in your mobile.
Thanks to these hardware upgrades, gaming experiences are often limited only by the developer’s imagination (and budget) and not the hardware. We now have the hardware and really advanced game engines like Unity, that allow for truly amazing visual experiences and overall game quality.
Perhaps the most important development in recent times is the inclusion of real-time ray-tracing. This offers a more accurate representation of real-world lighting than we’ve ever seen before. A ray-traced lit 3D scene used to take minutes to render a few frames, but to have it real-time is a reflection of how far our graphics hardware has come.
The arrival of online gaming opened more opportunities for a larger audience. Connecting gamers across the world created a community of like-minded people and many lifelong friendships and relationships have spawned as a result.
2020 really feels like Esports accelerated in popularity and watching other people play online, was really popularised by Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG), like World of Warcraft, back in 2004.
When gaming became a spectator sport, it’s not difficult to imagine yourself playing games and that really helped prime the world for a time where online gaming reached a mainstream audience.
While there are new consoles on the way from Xbox and Playstation this year, there’s no doubt, the world is switching to mobile gaming. With your smartphone, it’s basically a miniature console in your pocket.
People say the best camera is the one you have with you and the same can be said for gaming. Smartphones allow gaming to be highly available, accessible virtually at any time of the day, from anywhere in the world.
Of course, most gaming in 2020 isn’t done in isolation, it’s done with friends, family, colleagues, and acquaintances. With the easy mobility, you won’t need to be around a TV and consoles for you to engage your friend in a game. This means mobile has a massive advantage over titles that require you to be on the couch or in the home office.
Gaming has really grown up when it comes to payment. Thanks to the advent of App Stores, in-app purchases are handled through the mobile platform, meaning the developer gets paid, but doesn’t get your banking details.
These microtransactions, usually a few dollars, are also the key to driving massive success in free games. The barrier to entry is really low, just download and start playing, but get hooked on a game and you may want to start paying to unlock new levels or character personalisations.
Some people enjoy casino-type games, but the environments were often not inviting. With bad lighting, cigarette smoke-filled carpet, expensive drinks, and really noisy environments, it’s not surprising that many are turning to play casino games online.
Another real issue with traditional casinos is the volume of money flowing around makes them a prime target for fraud. Thankfully digital security technologies help ensure digital transactions are limited and cases of fraud and money laundering have all but been eliminated.
One thing is for sure, the world of gaming has a long way to play out. People loved to be entertained, experience a story and games allow that experience to be an engaging interactive one.
The mobile casual gaming experience will only get better over time and with technology like smart glasses, AR/VR, it may be that soon we won’t even have to pull our phones out to participate.
As autonomous vehicles arrive on our roads over the next decade, I believe the car represents a massive new opportunity for vehicle-to-vehicle gaming experiences. With the task of safely getting to our destination taken care of with by the technology, it enables the passengers more time for work, or play.