The Growth of Mobile Gaming

“The screen is just too small”, “Control systems are poor”, and “There is little to none quality control” – these comments are what we normally heimage fortnight gaear from gamer with respect to mobile game. However, there is a fact none of us can deny: we have all played mobile games, whether frequently or not. People choose to play mobile game for a variety of reasons, including its portability which means you can play on the go. And for those reasons that mobile game, introduced to the large world audience long after PC game, has gained the most popularity over any other gaming mediums. In order to understand more about this ever-growing field of mobile gaming, we have to take a brief look at the history of it.

The $47 billion worth mobile gaming industry with roughly 180 million users took off in 1994 with the first mobile game ever Tetris, launched aboard the Hagenuk MT-2000, a phone designed and manufactured in Denmark by the Hagenuk Corporation. At that Tetrismoment, Tetris was already 10 years old and had conquered the world of gaming, coming right from the Soviet Union. The tile-matching puzzle video games requires players to stack tetrominoes (geometric shapes of four square blocks each) while making sure the figures don’t stack to the top of the playing field.

If Snake and Tetris are the first generation of mobile game, the second generation is WAP games. Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) is a standard given to technology to enable mobile device to connect to the internet and by the late 1990’s there was a micro-browser that could run on mobile phones together with a version of the web called UP Link. Nokia, Motorola and Ericsson joined together and with the WAP Forum now called the Open Mobile Alliance, a partnership began which ensured standardization in Europe. When mobile phones and WAP combined together, the basic ecosystem was created that allowed developers to make games and sell them to the willing public.

Technology kept improving to provide better quality games on mobiles; however, it wasn’t until 2007 that the newly introduced iPhone marked the beginning of a new era for mobile gaming.apple-iphone-game This excellent piece of technology worked well and with the launch of the App Store in July 2008, the mobile games industry had a platform that enabled consumers to buy their favorite games directly to their phones via iTunes. This new platform also enabled the developers to sell their games directly to consumers without the hassle of dealing with operators or publishers. With the App Store accepting over 1,000 new apps per day you can download anything that interests you, and gaming titles kept growing exponentially.

With the introduction of the Google Play store with Android games, alongside the success of Apple Store, tens of thousands of new games were published every year, with Angry Birds reaching 17000 daily installation, Candy Crush Saga receiving more than $1.5 million dollars every day. Moreover, you can now play a lot of classics games on mobile version such as Portal, Paper Please, Sonic the HedgeHog, Pac-man.. The ability of mobile technology to simulate games on PC makes the industry even more appealing to a larger audience.

Let’s take a look at the mobile gaming industry in relation to other gaming industries. The mobile gaming industry is an absolute record breaker. With an ever-growing number of smartphone users expected to go over 5 billion in 2018 (considering the world’s population is 7.6 billion), it is no wonder social and casual mobile games win wider audiences. This steady growth is partially stimulated by the influence of the Asian countries, China, South Korea, and Japan. GTAIn contrast to Europe, Asian gamers are more likely to adopt smartphone games, not PCs or consoles. In the past few years, mobile devices have undergone notable changes. Their processors have become more powerful, and RAM sizes have increased at warp speed. This has brought them close to being competitive with PCs, especially when mobiles devices began using the cloud. With the plethora of devices developed, a gamer simply plugs his mobile phone into the docking station connected to a large screen and enjoys the game as if it was launched on a PC. Mobile screens have increased in size and resolution. It has become possible to play games only available on computers a few years ago, for example Grand Theft Auto Vice City.

2012-2021-global-games-market-1200x743The figure above shows that mobile game is on its way to dominate the gaming industry. There are trends on mobile gaming now that make the industry even more friendly towards users. With cutting-edge advancements like Google Daydream and Samsung Gear VR, we can say we will sure see new improvements in the in the space of virtual reality experiences. Due to thrills of live events and activities, today’s mobile games offer much more than just fun and entertainment. Developers nowadays leverage certain live elements of the mobile games to create interest, retention, and loyalty.

Multi-player game development has begun to flourish even more and integration of social activities has become an integral part of modern mobile games. On the left is a picture of me playing Pubg mobile with my friends.PIC Pubg Another trend is offline games that allow players to continue their game sessions even when internet connectivity falters especially during traveling. Below is the image of one of my games playing World Conqueror 2 offline.

game choi vs banOffline game Fruit Ninja has earned the reputation of the most downloaded offline game in Apple store and made $1 million per month. In conclusion, mobile gaming is gaining much wider reach and impact than PC and console games. And all the credit goes to affordable prices, creative graphics, technology-enabled improvements and user-friendly themes.

Source: https://dzone.com/articles/9-trends-that-will-define-2018s-mobile-gaming-outl-1

https://www.mobvista.com/en/blog/mobile-gaming-now-bigger-console-pc-gaming-combined-still-growing-always-changing/

https://www.innovecs.com/ideas-portfolio/mobile-gaming-vs-pc-gaming-tendencies-in-game-industry-development/

An Mai

 

Women And The Gaming World, also #Gamersgate

I’m not going to lie, I approached the whole gaming world with many pre-conceived notions and stereotypes of gaming culture and the very people that played these games. I pictured the overweight, late-twenties male in a stained and dirty t-shirt hidden in his parents’ basement playing games alone for hours, with the reflective glow of a screen illuminating his pasty white skin providing the only light and the quick twitch of his hands on the console being the only sign of life. My perception of the gaming world mostly came from its negative (or at least off-color and sensationalized) portrayal in the media, and specifically Brian from the film The Sisterhood of The Traveling Pants (pictured below), which was one of my first introductions to gamers. One of the bloggers on here has already mentioned that the gaming world really seems like a boys-only club akin to something out of a 90s movie, and before I approached the world of gaming, I would say that I agreed 100% with that statement.

from fanpop.com
from fanpop.com

Before I started gaming, I thought my entrance into the culture would be a bombardment of ostracization in the online community. I thought the people playing games would be jerks because I wasn’t a guy; I have to say though, I have been very pleasantly surprised. Please keep in mind that my experience is limited to only a few games, but I have found that people for the most part have been very welcoming and helpful. I guess there isn’t really any way to tell outright that I am a woman, but I think that this gender neutrality is a plus of gaming. In the game, one assumes the identity of his or her avatar, and thus the gender of the gamer is kind of a moot point. Video gaming provides a unique and cool situation in which men and women can compete against each other and be on teams together in a completely equal way, which is more than one can say for most organized sports. So basically video gaming is the utopia of gender equality, right? Right?

Well… not so fast.

The gaming world, especially now, has been getting a lot of flack for a lack of diversity, ESPECIALLY with how the gaming world regards women. I’m spoiled that in LOTRO, I have the option of completely customizing my character to be whichever gender or race I want it to be, but in most games, this is far from the case. In the vast majority of games, one assigned an avatar/ protagonist character from the beginning, which would be okay if men and women characters were generally equally spread as protagonists throughout games, but that isn’t what happens. The majority of games have a male protagonist, and women characters are highly sexualized. Geek Feminism made a list of games and how women are portrayed in them, and the protagonist section is woefully low. It’s missing a few, but considering how many games there are, the message is overwhelming.

You can read their info here: http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/List_of_Women_Characters_in_Video_Games

Sadly, this misogamy is carrying over to the real-life world. While female playership is increasing greatly, some male players seem to be pretty mad that the “boy’s club” aspect of gaming is on the decline. You may be familiar with the “#Gamergate” situation that is currently going on, and if not, the gist is that a female game maker, Zoe Quinn, and another female game critic, Anita Sarkeesian, have been harassed and threatened by members of the gaming community to the point where they have had to flee their homes. You can read more on the situation here: http://www.npr.org/blogs/alltechconsidered/2014/09/24/349835297/-gamergate-controversy-fuels-debate-on-women-and-video-games

This behavior is unacceptable. Gaming is not a man’s world, it’s everyone’s world, equally. I think the fact that we play using avatars speaks to this. While the characters display sexism, which needs to change, the games themselves are gender blind. The age of the damsel in distress and femme fatale is over. It is time for the gaming community at large to welcome and respect the influx of women that is helping to make it so hugely successful, both online and in the real world.

-Sparling Wilson

Enjoy this satire:

from geeksaresexy.net
from geeksaresexy.net

True Life: I’m a LOTRO Addict

I am very proud of myself… I’ve made excellent strides in the gaming world. For those of you that don’t remember, I am the newbiest of newbs (the writer who basically had only played iphone games), so when I downloaded LOTRO and was told that it would be a part of my grade for the course, I was wary at first. Initially, I struggled with the controls of the game, not realizing that the arrow keys could be used in place of the “a” “s” “d” and “w” keys for movement; not being able to move with ease was frustrating and really put a damper on my enjoyment of the game. Another issue I had at first was navigation through the game with the quests. I did not realize that one merely had to follow the glowing ring on the map to find the next part of the quest, and because of this, the going was excruciatingly slow. A silver lining the this issue was that I learned how to move before I learned how to navigate, and so I spent a long time fighting wolves in Thorin’s realm and reached a higher level by the end of the intro period that most. On the issue of navigation, I wish that staying on the epic quest line would be more self-explanatory because I’ve spent a lot of time doing side quests that I would in some cases prefer to avoid.

With that being said, these were just issues I had at the beginning of my journey. Since I’ve managed to get over these problems, I have become completely enamored with the game. If I’m waiting around, I play the game. If I’m bored, I’ll play the game. Not feeling like going out on the town? I’ll visit the Prancing Pony in Bree. I am seriously getting addicted to LOTRO!

One aspect I really love is the role playing. I love the fact that I can customize my character’s wardrobe and appearance, as well as the specific skills I can gain as an Elf Champion. I think one reason why this part of the game is so appealing is due to the fact that I am an English major and avid reader. When I am reading (especially in the Lord Of The Rings series) I can imagine myself in the protagonist’s position and wish I were apart of the action. By playing LOTRO, I am able to engage with the narrative in a way that has never been open to me before, and that helps to fulfill this desire.

Additionally, the quests provide just enough challenge to be fun and engaging, but are not difficult to the point that I want to abandon them as a lost cause. Even if my character dies, I feel like I can evaluate my performance and improve enough to give the challenge another go and ultimately be successful. While this game isn’t as strongly based on learning as the game Braid was, I still think it is an important factor here. In playing this game, you learn new strategies to help you play more efficiently and creatively.

One thing that I have learned since starting this game is that apparently Lore Masters get to have animal pets. Since I have been enjoying playing so much, I think it is time for me to create a new character of the Lore Master variety so I can acquire some of the cute and friendly creatures I’ve spotted along the way!

-Sparling Wilson

Kill Me Later

By A.A. BENJAMIN

 

Braid seems like it was made by some guy who was slighted by love and needed a place to vent.

BraidSpeechBubble

And…I like that. The idea of a forgiving game creates a zone of warmth and comfort that propels game exploration. Braid is an escape and an innovative game style that has the potential to inspire other games to step out of the stoic guns-bared emotionless realm and into the hearts and minds of our everyday life. After all, game making is art. Just as the writer can lament in her journal, and the painter can brood in an attic and let his heart bleed paint, so should a game maker be able to get his heart broken and then construct a platform game that makes him feel good.

Aside from my judgmental assumptions, there is more magic in this game than the narrative. The creators not only say, “to hell with un-forgiveness” but take it a step further to say “you must make mistakes to win this game.” The gamer must take the stick out of their butt and do it again, and again, and again until they figure it out, or until they so-called “cheat,” snatching that magic key and rewinding themselves to victory. This piece of fictional media opens up our minds to the different realities of life, just as every good piece of fiction should. I read an article once that challenged the idea of multiple lives and checkpoints in video games. The writer wanted to know what would happen if games became more realistic and eliminated the multiple lives syndrome that desensitized us to death.

 Well, Braid does that by going in the complete opposite direction (pun intended). Because like humans the main character continues to live only because he never died. He escapes death and failure only because, like humans, he is able to adapt and learn from mistakes.

My favorite part about this game is the integration of this method into actual gameplay, rather than just a cool “perk” of the game. I was delighted every time I faced a boss and found out that I could not manipulate him in my time-turning shenanigans. It forced me to dissect the pieces of my in-game reality and use what I could manipulate to win (maybe that sounds a little bit scarier than I intended, but, maybe I’m manipulative?) I did not, in fact, beat the game. However, challenges such as these make me feel that I can go back and play again at least a couple more times without the experience being one-noted. I can make different mistakes if I choose, I can accelerate the success of my strategies, and, I can make Tim dance back and forth and remix the music if I so well please.

Me? I’m a Gamer.

As far as words go, “play” and “game” seem pretty similar, right? Almost interchangeable? I mean, they’re nowhere near as different as, say, “giraffe” and “asparagus”. Now those are two words with very different definitions.

However, all giraffes aside, are “play” and “game” really as similar as they seem? Let’s try changing it up a bit. What about comparing “playing” versus “gaming”? “Player” versus “gamer”? Maybe you can’t pinpoint exactly why, but saying “I’ve been playing all day” doesn’t quite sound the same as “I’ve been gaming all day”. However close the words may seem, the connotations have their differences.

The word “play”, for instance, implies fun and entertainment. The word itself seems lighthearted and joyous, the very opposite of serious work requiring focus and effort. Play should be silly and fun- it’s riding your bike with friends, running around the jungle gym, or rolling the dice on your favorite board game. You play because you want to have fun, and that’s that.

How, then, does gaming differ? One can certainly “play a game”, which implies using any game, electronic or otherwise, for a source of pleasure and entertainment. However, actual “gaming” is not quite the same. As any gamer knows, games are not always purely fun. While they can certainly be used for amusement alone, when one begins “gaming”, he or she becomes immersed not just in the entertainment, but in the challenge. And the challenge…well, it’s not always fun.

You see, “to game” is to transcend the realm of play, to desire more than simple entertainment. In a way, one could compare games to books (relax, anti-gamers, I said compare, not equate). A book can certainly be a form of entertainment, yet no one says “I’m going to go play with my book.” Why? Because books, while often entertaining, provide much more than just a smile and or a laugh. Likewise, gaming provides more than that- it proves engagement, encourages immersion in another world, and spurs on ambition for success.

Think of it this way. In an MMO, if you’re merely completing the fun quests because they make you happy, then you’re playing. If you’ve been trying to defeat that one boss for an hour and you’re so frustrated and angry that you want to throw your laptop off a bridge, now you’re gaming. A gamer’s goal is not mere entertainment. A gamer desires challenge, immersion. A gamer strives for success, whether the path towards it is amusing or, at times, utterly frustrating.

So the next time you’re about to use “play” and “game” in a sentence, stop for a moment and think. Which are you, really? Are you a player?

Or are you a gamer?

 

-The Humblebug

It’s hard to pick just one…

When I began thinking about my favorite game, I couldn’t settle on a single one. There’s too many different, amazing types of games to choose from; from the nostalgia-inducing Super Mario 64, or the narrative wonder that is L.A. Noire, or even the game I probably play the most, Madden. I had to settle upon one game, the one that combined not only great and compelling gameplay, but a fantastic story as well. It’s a hard choice, but between my top two, I have to give the nod to Red Dead Redemption, with Mass Effect 2 coming in a close, close second. Not only does RDR bring a fast paced, open world laced with entertaining shoot em up gameplay, but it also ties together an unforgettable, heartbreaking story as well.

I was never a huge Western fan. In fact, the closest I got to experiencing the Western genre was watching “Wild Wild West”, and that movie is pretty damn bad. But a triple A title by Rockstar is usually too good to pass up, so I went over to my local Blockbuster and rented a copy of Red Dead Redemption. Needless to say that Blockbuster never saw that disk again. Besides the tragedy that was protagonist John Marston’s life, RDR hooked me on the competitve multiplayer as well. I didn’t see too many flaws with this game, and I spent my down time for a month after getting it playing it. Shooting bandits, riding horses, hunting animals, and even cheating at Liar’s Dice or Poker; this game has it all. After experiencing the 30 hour story of Red Dead Redemption, I went out and watched a bunch of Western movies, reread the Lonesome Dove book series, and did the best I could to further immerse myself into this lesser known genre.

It’s a hard choice for a gamer to pick his favorite game, but it comes down to a simple truth. To be honest it just got me, this game, and to this day another hasn’t as much as this one did.

 

-Spencer Smith

Coming out of the Closet

Over the past decade or so, society has become drastically more accepting.  Our community has taken huge strides towards eliminating the stigmas associated with being game.  In the Dark Ages, so to speak, it was not uncommon, and perhaps even expected, for openly game people to be beaten up and mercilessly teased just for their life style choices.  Now, however, there are gamers almost everywhere you look.  We are no longer afraid to wear clothing displaying our game pride or to discuss our culture in public.  Even the government is beginning to support us.  Long gone are the days where we gamers were forced to hide in our basements, to lie about our nature.  We have Game Pride now.  I myself am openly game.  I am or have been a member of many gamer community groups, such as LOTRO, WoW, COD, FIFA, etc.  I have gone to various gamer events.  I’m not hiding from myself, nor am I hiding from my peers.

Some people are GAME. Get over it.

However, there is one threshold I have yet to cross on my path to being completely out as a gamer.  I have yet to come fully out to my parents.  They have their suspicions.  The late nights locked up in my room, the suspicious muffled sounds, the scrambling to conceal whatever it was that I was doing moments before they walked in the door.  The truth is, my home is my favorite place to be a gamer.  Why go to all the trouble of going out when I can just bring that world into my bedroom?  This leads to some awkward confrontations with my parents, unfortunately.

“What were you just doing in there?  What was that voice I heard?”

“It was nothing, Dad.  I was just…watching YouTube.”

“Are you sure?  Because that sounded an awful lot like that Cole Phelps character.  You know how I feel about how much time you’re spending with that boy.”

“Daaaaddddd, come on.  I don’t spend that much time with him, it’s not like that.  I’m not…obsessed.  He’s just a good friend, someone I can go to when I’m feeling down or just plain bored.  He’s fun.”

A disappointed, all-too-knowing look, and he leaves me be.  To be honest, I doubt they would care that much if I told them.  They probably already know.  They’re just from a different era.  I do things outside the gamer world, I really do.  In fact, none of my friends are a part of the game life style.  But when I get some alone time, when the world slows down for an afternoon or so, there’s nowhere I’d rather be.  I love my friends, and I love the life I have on the “outside.”  There’s just something about the game community that draws me back time after time.  To be around that many like-minded people is liberating, and I wouldn’t trade the time I’ve spent there for anything.

So here goes.  Mom, Dad:  I game.  I live it, breathe it, love it.  I game, and I’m proud.  So the next time you see me shutting the shades in the family room on a sunny Saturday midmorning, don’t sigh and walk away.  Accept the fact that this is who I am.

I am a gamer.

-Deathly Hallowed