The Trajectory of Mobile Gaming, from Past to Future

Gaming today is a far cry from the at-home or arcade experience which many of our older readers grew up with. As it exists today, the sheer number of mobile devices and the power contained within far exceeds any potential of just a few short years ago and, with this, the entire landscape of modern gaming is shifting. While our world becomes more interconnected and the infrastructure within continues to evolve, we have to ask –what could this mean for the future of mobile gaming?

Taking a Look at the Roots

When we look at the enormous mobile gaming market of today, we can draw both lines of inspiration and direct parallels to the handheld systems popularized by Nintendo and their Gameboy line of devices. While, today, they cut their market between the ageing 3DS variants and the also mobile Switch, it was this basis and their original sheer market domination which inspired the handheld market, and many of the mobile games which followed.

Remember when we used to play snake on m” (CC BY 2.0) by kamirao

Of course, the mobile market was fundamentally dissimilar, owing to a different primary use and market infrastructure. So, while the Gameboy helped bring the idea to the mainstream and lay out some ideas, the evolution from this point was entirely new. Starting from the early mobile history of games like Snake, the biggest steps were from those who saw a new market on which to capitalize. Especially key in this regard were third-party services like App game stores or the likes of Leo Vegas, which developed into what they accurately call the King of Mobile Casino, offering a huge range of games and without difficult or frustrating install processes. While many of the bigger gaming developers were initially hesitant, these successes from other companies helped open the doors which would, in turn, become the floodgates.

Moving Forward

With some of the current biggest games in the world such as Fortnite and PUBG moving into remarkably accurate mobile interpretations of their base games, mobile gaming has finally crossed the threshold into mainstream integration. Mobile devices are already absurdly powerful and growing more so by the year, even outstripping many traditional gaming handhelds. Combined with the now developed market, this means that the gaming industry as a whole has taken notice, and will no doubt increase efforts to target mobile as a primary gaming device for major IPs in the future.

Fortnite Screenshot 2018.06.05 – 19.14.4” (CC BY 2.0) by Whelsko

The question then becomes what will this market eventually look like? Should we expect third and even first-party controllers to be carried around by many gaming enthusiasts, or will docking stations like the Switch uses become more standard in creating a sort of mobile console system?

One to Watch

While there are always going to be companies like EA who abuse the goodwill towards their properties to generate games that are controversial in their goals, there will always be room for those developers and publishers more interested in crafting a genuine and engaging experience. Mobile gaming is already a fundamental part of the lives of the gaming youth, just as console gaming was for many of us, and current trends show this is only on the rise. We can’t say for sure what the future of mobile gaming will look like, but we anticipate one where the gap between this and the traditional PC market is one of blurred lines, and of shared properties.


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