As a child, I was one fortunate enough to have parents who indulged me; in what I assume they thought was a frivolous pursuit. As the years went on and the 90’s turned into the 00’s, I’m sure my mum noticed the problem; games consoles were getting progressively better, making a splendid alternative to TV and Books.
Like the majority of children growing up in the 90’s, I became obsessed with Pokemon. The anime, trading cards, Gameboy game; you name it, I had it. The marks of which are etched into my core even now. It doesn’t take a genius to see that the landscape is changing. Those who claim to be the most hardcore; have been screaming about it since the iPhone 4… Mobile is taking the video game world by storm.
Only this year the corporation most opposed to mobile (Nintendo) announced its partnership with DeNA, which will encompass their first venture into the mobile market. Then Nintendo side by side with Pokemon Company and their new buddy Niantic Labs drop another bombshell… Pokemon GO! bringing the little pocket monsters not just to mobile; using the magic of augmented reality, Pokemon is now in the real world. Now many people are wondering around towns and cities obsessed with catching them all. And for Nintendo, this has meant bigger profit margins and revitalised the interest for 3DS.
Yet there are more far-reaching implications, mobile is the home of indie developers whether iOS or Android, tablet or smartphone. Big developers emerging on these platforms is the very definition of stepping on the little guy’s toes. The face of the game industry is changing and this rapid transformation is right in our midst.
Shuhei Yoshida came out recently and in a consolatory way announced the death of the PS Vita; killing of Sony’s dedicated gaming handheld. Nintendo bringing games to mobile and merging their hardware development teams can have far reaching consequences for their own handheld market. Then we see publishers especially in Japan moving towards mobile development; big names such as Level 5, Konami and Square Enix. This move is more drastic when thinking about Level 5, where see games like Fantasy Life being moved to mobile and then new releases such as Snack World with a heavy emphasis on the mobile market.
When we consider Level 5 moving predominately towards mobile platforms, as well as genres of games typically developed for PC being created for these smart devices. It’s clear there is a change in the tide; playing MOBA’s, Point & Click adventures and CCG’s on my tablet has introduced me to the types of games that I would never usually be interested in.
Whether or not mobile is the future of gaming… isn’t the question; there are bigger questions to be asked of the platform. How is it changing the landscape of our culture? We’re slowly becoming accustomed to consuming our: anime, books, cartoons, comics, magazines and tv shows, all from the plan of our hands. It doesn’t matter whether your display is 4.7 or 9.7, the world is mobile and fast with the potential to redefine the way we play games.