It wasn’t that long ago that Nintendo’s Game Boy and Sega’s Game Gear were teenager’s favorites. Portable video gaming on tiny screens become even more popular as Sony introduced PlayStation Portable. Then along came the mobile phone. Geekaphone has taken an in depth look at the numbers and statistics behind the industry and have put together this informative infographic.
Android and iOS games now generate more revenue than all of Nintendo and Sony’s portable games combined; and games are the most popular mobile app category in the U.S now. As mobile phones get ever more powerful, the games become more attractive in terms of complexity and graphics. Some phones even have dedicated gaming keys and even look like portable mini gaming consoles, such as Sony Ericsson Xperia Play. Some of the latest phones, for example iPhone, have a built-in accelerometer sensor, which can be utilized by games to provide more interactive gameplay. In those so-called motion-based games, you can steer, for instance, by tilting your phone in the respective direction.
Usually for mobile games, some are preinstalled. More often they can be downloaded over the air using the phone's built-in web browser. Or they can be downloaded onto a desktop computer and then transferred to the mobile phone via a data cable. Several different technologies are available for downloadable games for feature phones, including Java, BREW, Mophun, and WGE. The technologies are incompatible between each other, although some phones support more than one of them. In addition, native mobile games for smartphones with their respective mobile Operating Systems also represent a large share of the mobile game market.
In the charts provided, Flurry shows how the age and gender demographics are divided up between the various platforms. On mobile phones, the average gamer age is 28, compared with 34 on consoles. Mobile gamers are also more heavily female (53%) than traditional gamers (only 40% female). More important fact is that there's a greater density in the 18-49 demographic on mobile than on traditional platforms.
Mobile gaming is big and getting bigger. According to the New York Times, quoting Gartner, game-related spending is on pace to reach $112 billion by 2015, and mobile gaming is expected to increase to a 20 percent share of gaming platforms by 2015. Mobile is expected to hold the largest growth of all platforms over that time.
"Serious games," or games that are meant for purposes outside of pure entertainment, can cover areas from military simulators to education about climate change. These games are often found on the PC. Mobile platforms, with their wide adoption and increasingly powerful technology, also offer a viable opportunity for serious games. Mobile phones are mobile sensor platforms embedded with various sensors. Accelerometers and gyroscopes are already seeing wide adoption in mobile phone for game design. Mobile game designers also recognize the potential of global positioning systems and compasses as good design tools. Building serious games for mobile is the art of creating an application that takes advantage of the mobility of a platform. Educational games may work better on mobile devices than stationary hardware. Education that seamlessly integrates with students' existing familiarity with mobile devices can be very effective. Mobile learning isn't a heightened, amazing new form of pedagogy that's been invented, but is a form of behavior change applied to learning. The potential for mobile devices to support serious games for very young children specifically is interesting to explore.