Mobile Gaming – A Corporate Curse or Consumer Gift?

Since the iPhone was launched and the App store was released upon the world, we’ve seen thousands upon thousands of new apps and games flood the market from creative individuals and developers. This made mobile gaming a true platform to be enjoyed by literally everyone with access to a Smartphone, iPod touch or other compatible device. Specifically I’m talking mobiles/Smartphones/Tablets and not PS Vita or Nintendo DS/3DS.

From the age old classic of ‘Snake’ a decade or so ago in black and white, where having any game on your phone was a novelty in even the most basic of forms, to now almost PlayStation 2 level graphical quality with games such as N.O.V.A or Real Racing series by EA – mobile gaming has come a very long way indeed. Making calls and shooting zombies all on the same device has never been so rewarding or time consuming. From a good business standpoint it’s opened up the gaming market to the widest audience possible – a recent report found that 79% of 18-44 year olds have their Smartphones near them 22 hours a day. Giving consumers something fun to do while they are waiting or commuting whilst being engaged with a brand/mobile advertising is the best of both worlds one may think, but can this be destructive?

Games come in many varieties. Free, paid for or a disconcerting mixture called ‘Freemium’. Free games are generally supported by advertising (as are Freemium) whereas paid games generally speaking contain few or no advertisements. The paid or free games I take no issue with. Freemium however are cleverly disguised as ‘Free’ but soon either halt your game progress or constantly bombard you with slightly misleading options which make you unsure whether you have to pay or not. The aim is to get you so hooked with an addictive business model that you feel enamoured to spend money to continue. Granted, the issues arising from this are aimed at the younger audiences entering their Apple id and not realising there is a charge yet it’s an unsavoury practice. It’s much like a game demo but a very restrictive one that is rarely representative of a decent gaming experience. As a result this has caused untold grief for many people mistakenly making payments which were unclear and generally creating a bad taste in consumer’s mouth.

There is a fear in my mind that a Smartphone culture has made us all both less aware of what is going on around us, but also turning our brains on autopilot to an extent. On the train this morning out of 6 seats (split into 2 sets of 3 facing each other) every single person was deep into their Smartphone swiping and tapping. We’re in a digital age so naturally assume this to be pretty normal and there is almost a stigma attached to you if you don’t have a Smartphone, however I can’t help feeling a little jaded that most would spend all day with screens in offices and the natural instinct is to look at another screen on the way home. People miss train stops, lose track of time or even have been close to having an accident walking across the road due to playing on their Smartphone. Make no mistake, Smartphones will only get more advanced and more time sappingly engaging addictive games will arrive

Largely due to the complexity of mobile games we can now tweet, share and socially integrate ourselves with our digital counterparts. Perhaps cynically it’s a way to boost brands’ digital footprint under the guise of competing with your friends for a high score. In previous times the computer opponent was the only top score that mattered and now you’re up against the world – a daunting task if ever there was one, but empowering nonetheless.

Shady DLC practices and social monitoring aside, mobile gaming will simply continue to drain both time and money from many consumers but ultimately levitating any notion of boredom that ever existed when your train breaks down, your girlfriend is late or you’ve had that dodgy Indian curry and are ‘otherwise engaged’.

Mobile Gaming Explodes!

The online gaming industry is nothing new. Players have been enjoying some of the most popular and best games of all time on the internet and if you are one of the millions of players of Everquest or World of Warcraft, then you know exactly what I am talking about. However, the next wave of online games are not on the PC, PlayStation or even the Xbox 360, they are on your mobile phone. Mobile gaming is now becoming even more popular than console gaming. This is no surprise to those who own a smart phone that offers a big screen with touch sensitive surface. These mobile phones are the perfect platform for game developers who want to take advantage of these new devices and offer gamers a more immersive experience than ever before.

If you want to see what the latest and greatest games are for your device you can usually just a take a look in the app store for your device. The Android App Store and the Apple App Store are two of the largest in the industry and they have hundreds if not thousands of professional quality games available to the owners of these devices. The best part is that many of these games are totally free to download and play. In the past game developers have tried to make their fortune off of the sales of their games. However, there is a new monetization method being used. Now the games are free, but if you want to get a head start on other players there are in game upgrades or funny money that you can purchase to give yourself the upper hand in a game. This is proving to be a very profitable method and has been well accepted by the player community.

Mobile gaming will only become more popular and continue to grow as the mobile devices players are using to access these games continue to get faster and offer better quality screens. The mobile phone market is growing at a rate that the sales for mobile devices will pass those of PC’s and consoles pretty soon. This is one reason that the companies with huge development teams are already shifting gears to mobile game development. Angry Birds is one of the most popular games of all times on mobile devices and its simplicity is one reason. However, there are real time first person shooters and other crazy cool mobile games available. The developers that will become most successful in this space, will find new ways to make player interaction even more realistic and fun!

Three Top Mobile Games

With the rise of the smartphones and tablets, mobile games have evolved far past Snake and Tetris. Game developers continue to launch new games for iOS and Android platforms and at present, around 200 games launched everyday for the mobile devices. Countless of minutes have been lost with them and there is no escape from their ability to addict us. Let me introduce three top mobile games now.

Sticky Blocks: This is an Android block sliding game, where the objective is guiding a white block to a corner red square. This game is more challenging as it has blocks of different sizes and colors and a few blocks are really sticky and join together. However, Sticky Blocks allows users to move the blocks in any direction. This app has five levels – Novice, Easy, Medium, Hard and Difficult and there is also a Bonus level available. It offers medals at the end of each puzzle, but the developers have made it really hard to get the gold medal. Sticky Blocks Free needs Android 2.0 or up. There is also a paid version available with 600 levels.

Critter Rollers: This is also an Android game where the players need to guide the critter to a donut. After launching this app for the first time, users need to sign in or register to enter into the gaming area. They can also play as a guest. The cannons would launch the critter, while spikes and lava could spoil the progress. They can guide this creature just by tapping on the screen. No accelerometer controls means no need to tilt the device. Therefore, backward movements are not possible in Critter Rollers. Developers have included two new levels as Easter Eggs and there would be no donuts there. Critter Rollers is available for free and it requires Android 1.6 and up. There is also a Gold Edition available for USD 1.29.

Spy Fox in Dry Cereal: This is an animation puzzle for the iPhones. In this game, users have to play the part of a spy and guide a fox to stop the dairy destruction planned by William the Kid. This treacherous villain William looks to replace the cow milk with his goat milk. The hero is equipped with some slick gadgets like laser toothbrush and suction cuff links and has the support of friends like Monkey Penny and Quack who could provide handy clues to stop this disaster. This game costs USD 4.99. I think the developers should think about the price to increase the reach of the app. Spy Fox in Dry Cereal is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch and iPad and requires iOS 3.0 or later.

As I told, games apps are launched everyday and they are ruling the App Store and Google Play. These games are really fun, so look for the type of games that you like to play. This list may help you get some good games.