It’s not news anymore that the mobile gaming industry is huge, and has been for some time. It comprises tons of genres, stretched across all kinds of different devices, and ropes in tens of millions of players around the world. For a lot of people, it’s a main method of entertainment. And it’s changing—fast.
This industry is almost designed to remain fluid and advance quickly. There are so many developers working on new mobile experiences that the competition is constant Throw in changing technology and you get a perpetual cycle of innovation. With that said, let’s look at some of the biggest and most interesting changes we’re seeing and will continue to see moving forward.
AR is Here
Though we’d already seen some exciting products in the field of virtual reality, Augmented reality burst onto the gaming scene in a big and unexpected way last year. That was thanks to the release of Pokémon GO, a mobile game so popular that some speculated it could change mobile gaming forever. So far it hasn’t done that, but it’s probably just a matter of time. Most gamers had begun to think of virtual reality as a new form of gaming involving a special headset or pair of goggles, but augmented reality only requires a camera and works great. The effectiveness of AR is what we all learned first hand with Pokémon GO. There haven’t been too many games yet that have built on its success, but they’re almost certainly on the way.
Casinos Are Making Their Move
There have been simple, playful casino games available in mobile stores for about as long as modern mobile gaming has existed. Likewise, there have been online gaming sites in this genre for a few decades now. Lately we’ve started to see the sophistication of the online platforms seeping into the mobile market, which could have a major impact.
Mobile casino options now mirror their website-based counterparts almost exactly, which means the games are more professional, more competitive, and better. Expect this genre to expand significantly on mobile platforms in the coming years.
Narratives Are Center Stage
One of the coolest things that’s happened in the mobile arena is that indie developers have gotten a share of the spotlight. Without the financial resources to create massive games that revolve around depth of content or in-game money-making opportunities, these developers often turn to other things to attract players. As a result, narrative gaming seems to be in something of a golden era.
It’s not just coming from indie developers, either. Telltale Games is one of the hottest names in the business these days, and has differentiated itself through games that are heavy on storytelling. But in mobile stores, you can find a lot of smaller games that succeed because of intriguing narrative cores.
Celebrities Are Seizing The Opportunity
We’ve seen plenty of films and fictional characters used as subjects for mobile games for years. But we’re also starting to see a trend toward celebrities partnering with developers to build games around their own public images. There’s an interesting article about how Glu Games and Kim Kardashian started the trend of these titles, which largely exist to help fans simulate lifestyle decisions that a favorite celebrity goes through on a day-to-day basis. It’s like a form of role-playing, but with singers and actors as subjects.
VR Is Improving Fast
This post would be incomplete without a mention of VR, which has already merged with mobile gaming, and is improving fast. Throughout 2016, as the major headsets on the market were released, it seemed as if people didn’t quite know what to make of the new hardware (other than to be vaguely impressed). Now we’re starting to see the devices becoming more familiar, and the games and other experiences getting better. With some of the better headsets available specifically tied to mobile devices, this is a particularly big development for the market that more portable titles will be looking to take advantage of.