21st Jun2014

Gaming old and new on the mobile

by Guest


With so many different gaming options at our disposal today, we almost have too many options to choose from. But recent research has shown that many of us are choosing to play on our mobiles more than on any other device and this is the area where there will really be significant growth in the next five years.

According to a 2013 report by market research company comScore there are already 20 million people who play games on their mobiles in the UK and over a quarter of them (6.2 million) play mobile games on a daily basis.  In fact, gaming was only just behind other popular mobile-based activities that included social networking (22 million) and checking on the news and weather or doing an internet search (21 million).

It’s easy to see why gaming is such a popular thing to do on the mobile. The games that are accessible through mobile apps are instantly ready to play whenever you’re in the mood to do so. You can be playing within a couple of taps and with the increased memory size that most new phones have, you can keep a range of different games at your disposal all on one pocket-sized device. The choice of mobile games is vast, ranging from Scrabble-like word games where games with other players can go on for days and weeks at a time at a considered pace, through to the games of hand-eye coordination like Candy Crush and Bake Shop Drop (which has more of a Tetris-like quality to it) that are great for zoning out to.

Although mobile gaming gives players the convenience of being able to play wherever they are, whatever the time is, it seems that much of our mobile playing isn’t really that mobile. The comScore report included a breakdown of where British gamers play on their mobiles. You’d imagine that the commuter journey would be a popular choice as it’s a great way of passing the time on what would otherwise be a boring journey. But only 33% of mobile gamers played while travelling to and from work. In contrast, more than two-thirds of mobile gamers in Britain (64%) are actually playing on their mobiles in the living room. Nearly half of gamers played in bed (45%) and almost a quarter (23%) played in the bathroom (although we probably didn’t want to know that!)

While the majority of mobile gamers are playing games that have been designed for use with touch screens, there has also been an increase in mobile accessories which make it possible to play what are now considered retro computer games, like Donkey Kong, Super Mario Bros. or Sonic the Hedgehog. Although these can be played using the touch controls you get on a mobile, they lose some of the magic in the process and players who want the authentic gaming experience that they remember from these games the first time around don’t always want to switch to a different device to get it.

The G-pad is a silicone rubber cover that converts your smartphone into a Gameboy. You get the tactile rubber buttons which mean that playing Donkey Kong on your phone feels like it should! Another example of a retro mobile gaming accessory is the Joystick-IT tablet arcade stick. This is a mini arcade joystick that you attach it to the screen with a sucker and then move it on top of the on-screen controls. It’s a bit fiddly at first, but it does give that old-fashioned arcade gaming sensation. Although gadgets like these are probably not what you’d choose to use all the time, they certainly broaden the appeal of playing certain games on your mobile.

With the multitude of gaming options we now have on our mobile devices, it seems certain that the rise in mobile gaming is nowhere near coming to an end.

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