From Snake to Call of Duty in barely two decades, it’s fair to say that mobile gaming has improved considerably in recent times!
Once upon a time, guiding a pixelated reptile around your screen was considered the height of technological sophistication. Yet, we can now command armies, embark on death-defying missions, and – thanks to the latest iteration of FIFA – score the winning goal in a World Cup final all on a device that fits in the palm of your hand.
Quite where mobile gaming goes from here is anybody’s guess. Still, the cool thing is that thanks to the in-built tech that many smartphones offer these days, there is the possibility that virtual reality and augmented reality could be implemented into the latest releases to enhance your gaming world even further.
Here’s a look at how technology could shape the future of mobile gaming.
While it’s all relative, the truth is that Snake was highly unlikely to overwhelm the capabilities of any Nokia phone when it emerged in the late 1990s.
But it is true that games with 3D graphics and fast-scrolling action place an almighty strain on a mobile device’s inner workings, so some creative tech minds have been coming up with ways to solve that problem.
Qualcomm has innovated its Snapdragon mobile platform, which is designed to enable smartphones to run high-octane games with a minimum of fuss.
Features include next-level graphical rendering – meaning that there are no awkward glitches in your gaming, enhanced CPU capabilities, improved AI, and when combined with 5G connectivity, unrivaled speed of play.
Fitted with a cooling system to ensure your phone doesn’t implode, the latest round of gaming-specific mobile technology is turning smartphones into mini games consoles from which you can call people, etc.
An augmented reality
Can you remember that strange phenomenon a few years ago when people were staring at their phones while climbing trees and crawling into drains?
That was players trying to catch their quarry in Pokémon Go, a smartphone game that combined augmented reality and GPS tracking in an exciting glimpse into the present and future of mobile gaming.
The app plugged into your device’s GPS reveals the location of various creatures from the game using an AI overlay – one of the first instances where players could enjoy augmented reality for free on their handset.
AI is likely to become the main frontier for the future of mobile gaming, taking a high-resolution background and implanting cool graphics over the top.
Imagine the likes of GTA and Call of Duty with in-built AI? The possibilities are enormous, and you could even walk into a casino and feel like you are sitting at one of the gaming tables – online casinos are becoming increasingly popular thanks to super-cool graphics, widely available 4G and Wi-Fi, and free spins earned via PA online casino bonus codes.
One of the barriers stopping virtual reality from becoming more mainstream, aside from the price, is the headset: that huge, clanging helmet that nobody can wear with any style.
But there is, quite clearly, growing demand for full ‘immersion’ into the gaming experience, with the trends suggesting that gamers want to be active, rather than passive, when enjoying the latest releases.
While mobile VR is yet to take off, partly down to a lack of available hardware as opposed to an absence of demand – research has shown that only 9% of smartphones are compatible with virtual reality tech.
But as we know, demand tends to inform supply, and so as VR becomes more widespread in console gaming, you can bet your bottom dollar that smartphones will want to piggyback the trend.
So far, the Daydream and Gear VR products from Google and Oculus failed to reach a mainstream audience, but then Apple nearly went bankrupt 20 years ago – it’s funny how time moves in tech.
Don’t write off mobile VR – we’ve got a sneaky feeling you haven’t seen the last of it just yet.
Up in the cloud
These days, gamer streaming is huge business thanks initially to YouTube and now platforms like Twitch.
And thanks to the incredible innovations in cloud tech, mobile game streaming also looks set to be big business.
The development of 5G, and the speeds that it can reach, will improve the experience further, and the chance to create affordable streaming channels with low latency and superior encoding capabilities means that more and more of us will be able to stream our mobile gaming to the world with the minimum of fuss.