7 years ago, If i told you that i like ‘gaming’ on my mobile (if that word was even acceptable for mobiles that time or not, it’s a different story), you would probably laugh at me until you were out of your breath. Fast forward to now, and the landscape has truly changed. Now “Mobile Gaming” is not only a recognized term, but rather a business. Now it begs to question if mobile gaming can rival its console counterparts.
According to a recent Google Admob survey (listed here) shows that almost 84% of tablet owners main use is gaming so mobile gaming is certainly gaining momentum. Besides that, a pre-conference survey conducted on GDC 2013 showed some rather alarming figures that almost 58% of the companies planned to release a game on a tablet or a smartphone. This kind of data certainly shows that there might be some challenge posed by mobile gaming to consoles/PC in the future.
Here I will take a look at some of the major factors (in my opinion atleast) Why mobile gaming will not replace consoles/PC
Games for a “Gamer”??
Generally speaking, the smartphones and tablets of today easily surpass the average specs of a 6-7 year old PC but these are not enough to satisfy a “Gamer”. The important thing to note here is, who exactly is a “Gamer”? How do you define this word? A person who plays Pinball or Hearts, is he considered a gamer? Or a person who sits in front of his monitor/TV all day and plays AAA games, is he considered a gamer? Or a person who plays candy crush on his phone/tablet considered a gamer?
There is no black or white answer to this question as it is purely subjective. But typically, I am sure you will all agree with me on this, that the word “Gamer” represents a “Hardcore Gamer” who plays a variety of leading games on his PC/Console. You will not find a person who plays Angry Birds on his phone saying that he considers himself a gamer and similarly, a person playing Battlefield, FIFA, Need for Speed, Witcher etc will without a doubt, consider himself a (proud) gamer
This definition of a “Gamer” is exactly why mobile gaming cannot replace the consoles or PC and to answer “Why?”, let’s take a look at some factors.
No matter what the companies do, due to technological limitations, they just cannot put the amount of power a console/PC has into a handheld device. For a gamer, the performance of his machine is what defines him and handhelds just do not provide enough juice to satisfy him. The performance of your machine is directly related to the output (graphics) of your game and graphics are the eye-candy a gamer desires.
Now, the graphics quality of handhelds has, no doubt, increased a lot but it still falls short of what its console/PC counterparts have to offer and unless some technological breakthrough allows the companies to cram as much power as a full blown console into a mobile/tablet, it will forever stay in the shadows of consoles
Compared to full HD, big-ass TV screen, the tablets screen estate feels like a joke to game on. This problem is however overcome by mirroring your mobile screen on a TV using different methods but it still falls short of what the consoles offer in terms of graphics quality, which depends upon the power of the device as compared above. Games deserve to be played on a big screen and if you feel that playing on a 7-inch screen is better than a 70 inch TV, there is something wrong with you
Look at any website and see the list of top games for consoles/PC. You will find games like GTA, COD, and Assassin’s Creed etc somewhere in the list, albeit in a different order
Now, see the top games for mobiles/tablets on any site and you will see games such as Angry Birds, Plants vs Zombies, and Cut the rope etc. These are games which are good to kill some time, but they are not what a real gamer needs. These do not provide the heart-thumping, adrenaline filled action which any high end game provides. Some mobile games fulfills this gap such as the Modern Combat and Infinity Blade series, but the variety is limited.
It is important to note that some publishers are porting their famous games to smartphones/tablets, but these are not enough to gratify a true gamer. For example, Rockstar have ported the GTA series (GTA III, Vice City and now San Andreas) to mobile. These are no doubt a great achievements and any person would gladly add these games to his mobile collection, but the truth is that these games do not match the quality on non-mobile platforms and honestly, now-a-days, everyone would rather play GTA V instead of a 10 year old GTA port.
Most of the consoles/PC games are high budget games sponsored by big publishers who mostly bear the cost of marketing and some other factors. The investment in development usually costs millions for a company and usually, this translates to a better quality game.
Mostly, the mobile games are made by individual coders but even if a mobile game is made by a gaming company, the level of investment in mobile games does not even come close to the amount invested in Console/PC games. This may be because the developers know that no matter how good a game is on mobile, it will never receive the acclaim its console equivalent would get.
Casual vs Hardcore Gaming:
Finally, I feel that mobile gaming can never replace consoles because the games on consoles are for a different market altogether. Mobile gaming can provide you a way to kill some time while you are bored in class, but it can never provide the immerse gameplay which a true gamer longs for. It can provide you great graphics for your 5 inch screen, but it can never provide the level of details a console game can provide. It can provide you with some fun to play with your friends but it can never throw an uncalled for party at your place, with your friends swearing at you as they watch themselves die in a kill-cam
So to bring to end to this discussion, I feel that mobile gaming can only get better from now on, but I think it’s a long road down until we see our consoles/PC being replaced by Smartphones or tablets. Mobile gaming is providing something entirely different than the consoles and after-all, it’s not necessary that for mobile gaming to win, Consoles/PC have to lose.
What do you think about this? Let us know in the comments.
The views expressed in this article are of the author’s alone.