Gaming itself is a medium that has only existed in relatively recent history, with the 1970s classic title ‘Pong’ being the one to really kick it off. However, even within that niche, there are sub-categories that differentiate themselves from the overarching umbrella term and split off into their own category. Such is true for the sub-category of mobile gaming.
Mobile gaming is an even more recent emergence due to smartphones themselves being a recent addition to the way that people live their lives. However, the mobile gaming market is huge and has seen a meteoric rise alongside, and even at times surpassing, the blockbuster titles of home console gaming. This has divided the entire medium in the eyes of some, but it’s difficult to narrow down just what caused this shift.
More Convenient and Accessible
It almost goes without saying that being able to play games on a device that you carry with you everywhere in your pocket is more convenient than having to sit down and set up a home console. It’s also cheaper when you consider that most people already have a phone and don’t get one specifically to play games. Due to this, these games are also more accessible, as people who aren’t usually interested in games now have the option to quickly and easily see what they’re all about on a device that they already own.
Many games that are available on mobile devices are also much simpler than games you would find on home consoles in terms of gameplay, often due to hardware limitations or the restrictions that the developers faced in terms of budget or other issues. However, the variety of games offered on mobile devices can be huge, potentially even rivaling the kind of spectrum of genres seen on console gaming. Even the most historically popular mobile games such as ‘Angry Birds’, ‘Fruit Ninja’, and ‘Candy Crush’ are comprised of different genres. Furthermore, you have ports of older titles found on PC and consoles and games you would find on an online casino.
The Simultaneous Rise of Microtransactions
Alongside the rise of mobile gaming, another trend found in the medium has also been rising – that of microtransactions. Microtransactions are small purchases found available within games that give the player access to items, be it cosmetic or gameplay-focused. Their regular inclusion in full-priced console games has been the subject of much debate and controversy in recent years, but it might be worth examining their similarities to how many ‘free’ mobile games function.
Several mobile games that you come across in the app store will advertise themselves as being free (though some now contain the disclaimer that they include ‘in-app purchases’), despite large chunks of their content being blocked off and only accessible through microtransaction-like purchases. Another method often seen in these games is one that presents a situation to the player in which they must wait a certain amount of time for something to happen but are given an option to skip this wait entirely by paying a small price.
The success of these types of games could have been attributed greatly to the financial success of mobile games as a whole.