We live in a world where mobile phones and tablets have become the default medium for a myriad of activities. In fact, such is the influence of smart devices on our lives that data from GSMA has shown that two-thirds of the world are now connected by mobiles. What’s more, this figure is only going to increase. By 2020, the stats suggest that 75% of the global population will connected. With this being the case, the obvious question is: how is this increased connectivity going to change the mobile game? Well, with gaming having one of the largest shares in the mobile arena, it seems as though this is the obvious place to look.

Games Go in a New Direction

Today, when you scroll through the major app stores, there are millions of gaming apps that are a far cry from Nokia’s classic Snake. According to the Newzoo Global Games Market Report, smartphone and tablet gaming generated $46.1 billion (£34.1 million) in 2017, which was more than PC and console gaming. With the market glowing white hot, developers have been able to push the boundaries of what we thought we possible. The most obvious example from recent times is Pokémon Go. Released for Android and iOS in July 2016, the game took early augmented reality technology and created a game that captivated the world. By giving players the ability to enjoy a gaming experience that goes beyond the screen, Pokémon Go became one of the most downloaded apps of all times.

However, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Madfinger Games’ Shadowgun Legends is perhaps one of the most visually impressive mobile games in recent times. Taking the first-person shooter to levels of depth and quality we previously only thought possible on high-powered PCs, Shadowgun Legends is a wonder to behold. As impressive as HD graphics are, they’re no match for live action. Elsewhere, in today’s casino gaming apps, live streaming technology has been used to create a new type of game. Inside the Mr Green app, players can access 42 different live games. Powered by HD webcams, RFID readers and digital overlays, these games fuse the best parts of gaming in real life with the speed and efficiency of the internet – players are connected via live stream to studios where real people deal their cards and spin the roulette wheel instead of using a virtual interface.

Greater Connectivity Will Lead to Greater Realism

Essentially, what all these innovations are pointing to is a more vivid, more realistic gaming experience. While the next frontier will see a continued push for better graphics and a blurring of the lines between reality and non-reality, the real innovation will be connectivity. Finding a way to connect remote players in real time in a single, communal environment will be the key that unlocks a more realistic experience. Of course, we’re already seeing this in the desktop and console world with products such as Oculus Rift’s Toybox. However, there could soon be a time when we go beyond this with our mobiles.

What would that world look like? That’s up for debate. However, when you consider that mobiles can already track our movements, read our fingerprints and respond to voice commands, the possibilities are almost endless. What about a setting where your everyday movements, both from GPS data and video images, are fed into a game? The ways you move and the places you visit could be used to dictate your standing among a network of peers. While this might seem a little out of the box, it’s not beyond the realms of possibility. What’s not in doubt is that portable gaming has evolved massively in the last two decades and all the signs suggest this will continue as more of the world connects via their mobiles. 

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