Video gaming has continued to increase in popularity over the last few decades. Its growth has led to experts in traditional home entertainment voicing concerns that it could severely limit the growth of television, radio and print media.
Before the turn of the millennium, video games revenue was estimated at $2.6 billion in the UK. By 2014 the revenue in the sector alone was worth $24billion. The revenue dwarves what was recorded in other home UK entertainment sectors with the movies industry for example posting revenue of $10 billion in 2014.
One of the main factors pushing the rise of video gaming is the technical advancements that have been established in the mobile sector.
The dramatic improvements in the mobile sector mean we are no longer constrained to playing games on consoles or left with simplistic games like puzzle games when on the move. Changes in technology have played a huge role. Devices now come with higher speeds, processing power, HD displays and larger screens. Add improved touch screen capabilities and it is easy to see why mobile gaming is more player friendly than it has ever been.
The evolution in the type of hardware available has led to a radical shift in the number of games available, the demographic makeup of players and the social impact of gaming.
In the past, gamers were often characterised as young adults, normally men, sitting in a closet surrounded by a gaming console, a big screen TV and lots of snack boxes. Today, all of that has changed. More than half of the populace have smartphones. This has given game developers a large demographic to target; and they have embraced it in recent years. Today, more adults are playing games than ever, with more women and baby boomers playing games on their smartphones too.
Mobile phones have made it easy for just about anyone to play a game whenever they have the time. This means people no longer have to wait till they get back home to their consoles to enjoy a great gaming session.
Advancements in mobile technology also mean that the days of solitary gaming are long gone. The different kinds of games playable on mobile can be enjoyed with friends and family and progress can be monitored on social media. Parents no longer see gaming as an exclusively negative influence, but rather play games with their kids from time to time.
While the increase in quantity and quality of mobile devices is a good reason for the growth in video gaming, the gaming companies have contributed to the rise in mobile gaming with their adaptation to the new world order. In the past, the only option for gamers was to purchase the software of their preferred game. Today, game makers are churning out free-to-play games. Many of them have embraced the freemium model, which allows them to offer games for free with in-app purchases embedded. Their adaptation to the mobile era has led to more gamers, with people routinely stocking a reasonable collection of games on their smartphones and tablets.
Apart from the financial benefits of mobile gaming, which has brought in more publishers into the sector and raised GDP, the gaming public have also enjoyed the many benefits from gaming. Studies have demonstrated how some games help individuals relax and improve their general mental health. Some of these games are designed to increase cognitive and reasoning abilities. Others encourage healthy lifestyles by converting healthy activities and choices into games.
Games can now be used as teaching tools too. There are many Math and English-based games that have become popular in education circles. There are other games that have made it easy for gamers to memorize poetry, increase comprehension, increase reading speed or learn a new language. There is a game to learn about just about anything these days.
With augmented and virtual reality coming to the fray soon, the influence of mobiles on gaming may have only just started.