Mobile games have come a long way since the introduction of simple and clunky games like Snake and Pong, which were available on the first Nokia phones. Mobile graphics and processors are as powerful now as desktop computers were a few years ago. Older generations still remember lugging around a Game Boy or gaming gear and begging their parents for another game. The new generations have access to literally hundreds of thousands of games on their mobile device.
In short, mobile gaming has exploded in just a few years. In July 2016, 63.1 million arcade games were downloaded and games in the “strategy” category generated revenue of $ 195 million. In a recent study, more than 37% of mobile app users with 30 minutes of free time choose to play rather than any other activity. We’ve all seen it and done it ourselves, whether it’s waiting for a date or sitting at the airport, we grab our mobile device and jump into a quick game to kill time.
So what does all this mean for the future of Android gaming? For starters, huge amounts of revenue and user interest in Android games have fueled continuous innovation and fierce competition in the global marketplace. For example, just 12 months ago, top executives said they didn’t see any major benefits in augmented reality. With the launch of Pokemon Go and estimates citing up to $ 500 million in revenue in just 60 days, I think we can all agree that augmented reality is here to stay.
Virtual reality is another area that has been gaining momentum in recent months. Now you can buy virtual reality headsets at local gas stations for just $ 30. Or if you’re on a budget, you can buy Google Cardboard for as little as $ 7.00. There are still a limited number of VR-enabled games, but that number is increasing daily. Not only that, as more and more people experience virtual reality, we are confident that we will see a hugely successful launch sooner or later.
Let’s take a look at some real life examples from recent game releases. Dawn of Titans, which recently launched on Google Play, was in development for over 2 years. This is similar to the development cycle for a mid-level PC game release on Steam. The game features mass-controlled troops, world-building elements, and stunning graphics. A few years ago, this would be considered a major release for the Android platform. These days, this is just another drop in the huge pond. With more than 2.4 million apps and games currently listed on Google Play, it is becoming increasingly difficult to stand out. Actually, this is good news for gamers as developers are working faster and faster to create innovative new titles to attract users.
I strongly believe that both Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) titles will gain more traction in 2017. Top developers who can release triple-A content cannot stay in the dust while independent developers release AR and Enabled Games virtual reality. They will be forced to port existing titles and find new and exciting ways to interact with mobile devices.
There are many sophisticated games available that use your phone’s microphone, gyroscope, camera, and accelerometer. However, these sensors combined with AR and VR could bring a completely new experience to gamers. Imagine walking through a recreated 3D world representing your neighborhood, immersed in full virtual reality, and using your phone as a targeting device to defend against waves of zombies. This is already possible with the technology that is available, it just needs to be packaged in a user-friendly way that people can enjoy.
Combining meticulous graphics with well thought out VR experiences would be truly impressive. If you’re familiar with PC-based VR demos, you already know how immersive the experience can be. It’s only a matter of time before these same experiences hit our mobile devices in droves. And to think that only 30 years ago we played Mario on our beloved Nintendo consoles. Let’s not even mention the Virtual Boy who burned your eyes after 2 minutes of playing tennis. Android games and mobile games in general have come a long way since then and will continue to push the barriers even further in the near future.