Mobile: The Future of Online Gaming

‘A mobile phone? You don’t need one of those; you’ve got a phone right here on the wall!’

I can still remember the day my mother said that to me. She was right to say it, too. At the time mobile phones were just starting to become popular; people were texting at the back of class, and calling each other from the library just to show the rest of us that they could. But even way back then, back when I finally convinced my mother that all the other kids were getting them and that I needed one too, the clearest memory I have of my own first mobile experience was playing a video game.

Snake. That was the game everyone was talking about. Even the girls at school were playing it, and having the highest score meant something in every social group on campus. I played Snake night and day. I didn’t even care about my PlayStation anymore. I knew that playing games on my mobile phone was the future, and that one day, I’d be playing the best games in the world on a tiny little brick that I kept in my pocket. I wanted a head start.

But after a while, I gave up hope. I went back to my consoles, and when the MMORPG was born, I switched to PC gaming almost exclusively. For a while, I thought mobile gaming was over. 

I was wrong.

Today, mobile gaming is one of the fastest growing industries in the world. With the introduction of the smart phone and mobile tablets, it clear that the potential for playing high-quality video games, and more importantly, high-quality online video games (MMOs), has finally been achieved.
To bring you up to speed: 84% of tablet owners play games, 70-80% of all mobile downloads are games, Angry Birds has been downloaded 140 million times, Android is soon to overtake Apple in number of total available apps, developers made $87 million in ad revenue in 2010, and will grow 10 fold by 2015, In-Game purchases are expected to overtake pay-per-downloads by 2013, and most interestingly, the mobile gaming industry is predicted to reach $54 billion by 2015.

Mobile Game Statistics Retrieved From:

From Snake to $54 billion, an impressive journey to say the least, but how much of that growth has been contributed by online gaming? It a question I’ve been pondering for a while now; I don’t care much for Angry Birds, and I’m not so interested in Fruit Ninja, either.
It Order and Chaos Online that caught my interest. And Celtic Heroes, too. I’m a pretty big fan of Pocket Legends as well. These games are actual MMORPGs, and I can play them on my PHONE. Oder and Chaos is particularly interesting, as from what I’ve seen in the first 10 levels, it almost indistinguishable from World of Warcraft back when it was first released in 2004.

We’re talking about visually high quality MMORPGs with innovative controls that you can play while you’re sitting on the train, or in the back of your Textiles class. You can chat with friends, topple group-based dungeons — you can do it all, and you don’t even need to be at home. The world evolving, fast, and it becoming a genuine struggle just to keep up.

And that just today. What of the future? Where will we be in 2 years from now, or 5, or 10? We know that the mobile games industry is going to be making a lot of money, but what about the games? Me, I see developers getting creative with these devices.

Image sitting at home playing your favourite new MMORPG; in front of you is a keyboard, mouse and giant LCD monitor that you’ve been using for years. On your left: a tablet; this is your map. It always there; you don’t need to leave your character to see it, to draw on it, to make notes and plan your journey. On your right: your phone. It has a much smaller screen, so there not much point in using it to display your map, but it perfect for watching your Auctions in real-time and keeping an eye on your raid group slots.

Crap! It time to go to work. No problem; disconnect your mobile devices and continue on the train. Sure, you don’t have the complete experience, but you can play, and you can micro-manage everything from your inventory to your upcoming castle sieges, and you’ll never miss a beat. With pop-notification, you’ll know when you’re being attacked and by who; you’ll never be offline.

I know it sounds crazy, perhaps even scary, but that probably how I sounded when I asked my mum for a mobile phone a decade ago. And though this may not ever be a reality, the possibilities are endless. These are all the ideas I could think up in an afternoon; how many have you got? Or more importantly, how many developers like Hideo Kojima are out there, right now, coming up with new ways for us to get our game on in the future? Exciting stuff.

For now, we wait. To help pass the time, we’ve set up a new games page for all of you out there that already have a smart phone and/or tablet: our Android/iOS section. Right now, we’ve selected our Top 6 games, reviewed them, and set up links for you to download and play right now. And we have bigger plans in store for the future. Stay tuned.

Cody ‘NerA’ Hargreaves

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