Mobiles are replacing gaming consoles

Special to Times of Oman

The flight had taken off almost half an hour ago. The passengers were making themselves comfortable for the long journey ahead.

Unfastening safety belts, some of them started browsing in-flight magazines, some delved into world of work with their laptops and tablets, some even were trying to figure out if any worthwhile movie could be watched on the monitor attached to the back of seats in front of them and some simply got lost themselves in the five-inch screen of their mobiles.

Zooming in on the last segment, it was revealed that putting the flight mode on, these passengers were either busy in building castles in the Age of Empire or helping Max Payne to exact his revenge from his opponent.  

In other words, the passengers were into mobile gaming.

And if anybody perceives this as just one of a kind syndrome of apparently bored flight passengers, he is for a big surprise.

Approximately 1.2 billion people worldwide were using mobile applications in 2012. By 2017 it would be 4.4 billion and majority of them would be gamers.

The situation is such that already traditional console gaming has started fast losing ground to mobile gaming. Industry statistics of US market in 2012 October revealed that game console market had dipped from $1 billion to $755.5 million.

Now the billion dollar question is why are people migrating from console to mobile for gaming pleasure? Industry experts have pinpointed several reasons behind this trend.

Firstly, nowadays due to abundance of five-inch screen size and touch screen technology on cellular handsets, playing games on mobile has become much more enjoyable than in the past.  

Handsets with screen size of seven inches and 10 inches were introduced with generic name of Tablet. Then came the phablet which had screen size between mobile and tablet.

Needless to say that almost console type gaming pleasure could be derived from the mobile handset. From 100 million units in 2012 the tablets sales could be almost four times bigger by 2016.

Secondly, the engine of the handset, i.e. the processor has undergone a sea change and as a result the processor speed is much faster now compared to what it used to be on the earlier versions.

And most important fact is that these chips are in great demand as cellular set no longer confines to voice and text solely.

Multitasking has enabled these devices as virtual mobile computer and these new age processors are their vehicles. As a result gaming is now child's play for 1.5 billion smartphone and feature phone users.

The figure could touch more than 2 billion by 2016.

Thirdly, as gaming is being developed into more realistic look and content wise, the audience of gaming is also gets broadened. Not only kids but young and young at hearts have taken gaming to outdoors amidst of rush of everyday life.

Therefore this segment would long for one multipurpose device to have business as well as entertainment and mobile handset would perfectly fit itself into that ever growing slot.

In fact, technology also strongly bats for mobile gaming. High speed technologies like third Generation (3G) and Long Term Evolution (LTE) aptly support mobile gaming.  

Industry forecasts say that by 2018 there would be seven billion mobile broadband and 500 million LTE subscribers worldwide.   The writing on the wall clearly says that the time of mobile gaming has arrived.

The author is a senior journalist specialised in technology. All the views and opinions expressed in the article are solely his and not of Times of Oman.


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