The advent and slow rise to tremendous popularity that smart phones have seen has changed a lot about our consumption habits. From checking out dining and nightlife venue reviews to in-store price checks to bill payment, it seems that smart phones have managed to up-end that famous ‘rule of the Internet’. The new buzz word is that if it exists, there’s an app for it – and to a large extent, that holds true. Beyond apps for anything imaginable, from fitness to personal finance management, there are, of course, mobile games. Their appealing blend of lightweight development, combined with affordable pricing and engaging gameplay mechanics on the users’ end has managed to render the mobile gaming industry one of the most profitable yet, almost in spite of the global financial crisis. According to recent survey results, mobile games have become the most important activity that smart phones are being used for at the moment. That being said, sources in the industry are heralding more bright times ahead for gaming on mobile devices, to the downfall of gaming consoles. But is it really plausible to assume that consoles are just going to drop off the face of the earth?
Skeptics will rush to say that video gaming is an activity as old as information technology itself. After all, we’ve been playing for ages now, on desktop PCs, consoles, handheld devices, and, more recently, on tablets too. Not once, though, has gaming ever been as popular a pastime as it is now. According to a poll recently issued by the Pew Research Center, Flurry Analytics, App Annie, and Kabam, well over 60 per cent of all smart phone and tablet owners would give games a go – just as many as those who would (or do) check their email. 67 per cent of all the time spent using mobile devices is spent playing games, either via dedicated apps or on websites such as SpongyBob. That’s an impressive rate, even when compared to the mere 10 per cent of their time that people will spend on social networks such as Facebook. More importantly, the money is coming in from gaming, as 76 of the 100 top selling iOS apps are games; of the $10 billion app industry, 80 per cent is being generated by game sales.
The Future of the Console
For the first time ever, the console industry is expecting a new generation of devices that will fail to outperform their predecessors in terms of sales. Sure, everyone is looking forward to see what Nintendo has in store with the Wii U and what Sony means to do with the PlayStation 4. However, Nintendo has recently announced that its projected sales figure for the upcoming Wii U has been slashed by 17 per cent. Of course, this doesn’t automatically mean that consoles are just going to disappear overnight. However, since tablets can perform just as well as them from the point of view of graphics and also come with the added bonus of mobility, it’s expected that the new generation of gamers is going to prefer them over consoles.