From the very first primitive games of Pong back in the 1970s to the brand new generation of Xbox and PlayStation titles released this year, video games have always relied on specialist equipment like consoles or home computers in order to function. However, since the invention of cell phones, and especially with the recent development of smartphones, gaming has gone mobile. In a big way.
Figures show that mobile gaming now accounts for almost half of all global gaming revenue (that’s over $75 billion!), and there are now over 2 billion active mobile gamers across the world. So, what do you have to do to get your own slice of this fun-filled pie? Read on to find out.
First of all, you’ll need to decide which genre of games you’re interested in. Popular categories include RPG, MMO, strategy, time management, casino, puzzles and racing. There are even a few favourite console titles – such as Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto – that are now available in app stores.
If you’re used to playing proper card classics or Scrabble at home, then you’ll be pleased to learn that the mobile versions of these games are just as much fun and, what’s more, they’re available on the go, against opponents from anywhere in the world, day or night.
However, you might be looking for something a little bit more exciting, a little more exclusive, so why not look to innovative new titles like Fortnite Battle Royale or Pokémon GO? Fortnite drops you into a 100-player strong free-for-all, whereas Pokémon GO incorporates your own immediate environment into the gameplay, encouraging you to walk around your local area, catching Pokémon and battling gyms.
Once you’ve chosen which games you’re likely to be playing, you’ll have a better idea of the equipment that you’ll need. It’s not necessary to upgrade to a full spec gaming phone just to play Candy Crush every once in a while, but you’ll want to keep an eye on your mobile data capacity and battery health whatever you end up playing.
Any new-ish smartphone will be able to handle the majority of mobile games without breaking a sweat, but some titles are easier to play when using specially formulated handsets. Popular models include the ROG Phone 2 and the Black Shark 3, which vie with purpose-built handheld consoles like the Nintendo Switch for ultimate playability.
Certain games will require the use of add-on equipment, such as a VR headset or mobile gamepad, whereas others will simply deliver a higher quality experience when used with decent gaming headphones or a second screen. You should also consider investing in a power pack if you intend to be gaming on the move for hours at a time; whilst the battery life of smartphones is steadily improving across the board, most of them simply aren’t built to sustain this high level of use for long periods.
Internet & Memberships
Even with free and so-called ‘freemium’ games, it may be necessary to sign up to a membership model to reap the true benefits of a particular title. Players can sometimes be caught out by extra in-game purchases, so keep an eye out for those. Many are worth paying the money for as they will only improve an already enjoyable game, but some are not worth the effort and should be avoided.
At the very least, you should have access to a decent WiFi connection for home gaming sessions and a solid mobile data plan for when you’re on the move. If you’re not careful, you could end up eating through your monthly allowance in one day, perfecting your farm on Stardew Valley.
Play with Friends
One of the biggest benefits of mobile gaming is being able to play against your friends. Because most people now keep their phones on them the majority of the time, your friend will likely see any game-related notifications as soon as they’re sent. With titles such as Words with Friends, it’s then up to them to log in and make the next move in your friendly contest.
Mobile gaming can be a great way to maintain a fun and playful relationship with friends, partners and families across big distances. Whereas you might always have the energy for a long phone call or a chat using FaceTime, those little nudges to encourage gameplay between you keep the human connection open.
Stay in the Loop
Of course, if you’re looking to dive into the mobile gaming world properly, then you should think about keeping yourself informed on all up-to-date developments in the technology and Esports worlds. As mentioned previously, mobile gaming is becoming very big business and it is not restricted to the casual player. Huge amounts of money are being invested in professional video gaming at the moment, and that extends into the mobile market too.