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Friday, 6 September 2013

Bring In More: Why are mobile gamers good for consoles?

Mobile gaming is on the rise. There is no doubt about it. I read recent news that the number of new shipments of smartphones is going to touch the coveted 1 billion mark for 2013. The same news pointed out that in all probability, by the end of 2017, almost the whole world would be using smartphones with near 100% penetration. What does it mean for the gaming industry? With gaming segment being the highest revenue generator unanimously for all the app stores, I think it is pretty evident, that the graph is going to go only up.

Mobile gaming is only going to grow in the coming years. With more and more phones being delivered in the hands of the people, more and more people are going to download apps, particularly games and a lot of them are going to turn into gamers. This would have only one effect on the mobile gaming industry. It would rise, both in terms of revenue and user base.

The dynamics of the industry is going to change. Consoles, who have been the big daddy for a long long time now may not command the same leading position. That position may soon be occupied by mobile gaming, just on the basis of its sheer size of user base. But is the advent of mobile gaming really bad news for console gaming. Yes, in all probability, console gaming may not the top honcho. Yes, it may not be the one calling the shots in the industry. But is this change really something that the console gaming would mind.

I believe that they should be more than happy with this change. I believe that the more the number of mobile gamers, the more it would benefit consoles. Lets look closer to understand my reasons. But before we do that, lets define what I truly mean by console gaming and mobile gaming. Gaming for me is just about the kind of experience they are giving to the player. Consoles present complex world where the player has multiple choices with varying decisions to make. On the other hand, mobile gaming provides the player with a window to escape the boredom by providing him with gameplay experience, which is fun but doesn’t involve a lot of complexity. The experience offered by mobile gaming is basically a diluted version of the console games. If this comparison doesn’t seem right, just compare the games released on consoles and mobile simultaneously like Battlefield or Street Fighter 4.

If we understand that both consoles and mobile offer the player different kinds of experiences, we can understand that sooner than later a person would want to graduate from something which is simplistic to something with is more challenging (which may equate to more fun in gaming) and hence offers the same experience on a larger scale. If that’s the case, sooner than later people are going to graduate from their mobile games to consoles in search of much better experiences. Isn’t that how humans have gradually evolved over the years? Seeking to better their experience. Look at the quality of your everyday appliances like the TV or the mobile phone. Wasn’t CRT TVs the norm 10 years ago? Is that not the reason why automobiles took place of horse carriages, because they can do so much more? Humans are always in search of better experiences.

In case of gaming, it would be the other way around. Consoles came earlier offering great experiences but somehow they were not adopted by the masses, primarily because they were so complex to understand. Now mobile has entered the fray, simplifying the experience, which has drawn in the crowd. People are getting exposed to a simpler experience and once they would get used to it, they are bound to seek out for grander experiences just like most humans do. That’s when they would migrate to consoles. I believe that it doesn’t matter who is number one, mobile or consoles, till the time the whole pie gets bigger. And the fact that PS4 and Xbox One have attracted the biggest pre order in the history of console gaming may just mean that the pie is not only getting bigger, but also tastier.

Siddharth has been playing games since forever and loves it so much so he decided to make a profession out of it. After completing his MBA, he decided to join EA to learn the ropes of the industry. A Game Producer and Game Designer by profession, while not playing games, he loves to read about them, watch movies and spend quality time with his family. His passion for writing led to the creation of this blog.
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