We live in an era where smartphones are nearly owned by everyone. According to a research conducted, 80 percent of the world owns a smartphone whereas 89 percent of those individuals use their smartphones and smart features throughout the day. Smartphones are evolving by year, a high-end smartphone of today is twice as powerful as the consoles and handhelds released in the ’00s. With mobile gaming quickly reaching new heights with powerful games targeted for the device such as Modern Combat 4, Asphalt 8: Airborne, Dead Trigger along with many more.
Many of the developers have stated that mobile gaming will replace consoles within five years. The statement is, of course, subject to a lot of concerns regarding the scenario. Square Enix has been releasing its previous Final Fantasy titles on mobile, the recent title, Final Fantasy V is now available for iOS and Android devices. With micro-transactions, multiplayer (local and online) options and other features present on mobile devices, it is quickly dominating gaming market with games ranging from casual to hardcore.
But that’s not all, we’ve recently seen how smartphones can serve and interact as a purpose with console games as well. Recently the highly anticipated and successful title Grand Theft Auto V was released on current-gen consoles, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Along with the release of the title, Rockstar also announced and released a smartphone app for GTAV dubbed as iFruit Companion app. The app is currently available for iOS devices only and Rockstar mentions that they are working hard to release an Android version of the app as well. Basically the app consists of two modes for GTAV players, Los Santos Customs and Chop The Dog.
Los Santos Customs allows you to create your dream vehicle in GTAV without the need to actually run GTAV on your console. You can get inspired from the outside world and you can just whip out your phone, launch the app and create a piece. With a lot of customization items you can build your dream car.
Chop The Dog features Chop, Franklin’s canine sidekick in GTAV. Chop is a virtual pet for your phone, and you can feed him, take him out for walks, basically do everything you would do with a virtual pet within the limits defined. Spending too little or too much activity can make Chop unhappy.
What’s the use of a separate app if it doesn’t connect and lets you use the stuff you’ve been working hard on? Of course you are able to play some side missions of your favourite game and pass the time but that’s not all it should be. The iFruit Companion app links directly with GTAV and makes your experience better. You can take your custom made car out for a spin in the GTA world, keeping Chop happy has its benefits in-game.
Recently, David Cage, head of Quantic Dream studios, also announced a new level of immersion for their new game, Beyond: Two Souls. The app, Beyond Touch, is available for iOS and Android devices and can also let you play Beyond: Two Souls in co-op.
“Not everybody was born with a DualShock controller in their hands” says David Cage. He received a lot of feedback from gamers who experienced Heavy Rain and wanted to play the game with a significant other or a friend. David Cage and his team then brainstormed on how this can be achieved when finally coming out with a smartphone app that connects via WiFi to your PlayStation 3 system and can give control to the other person simply by using the touch commands shown on the screen of the smartphone.
Such a tactic and strategy greatly enhances the experience of a game. Not many individuals own a dedicated portable gaming device and those who do, chances are their handheld gaming device might not be compatible with the console they own. Using smartphones in such cases is the best option to intensify one’s experience of the game.
Many developers who make racing games can use a smartphone to output rearview mirror’s view on the device and thus freeing up the space on the screen while giving a big enough screen for a rear view. Other developers can also use it to display a bit of the info of HUDs or some other form of integration to make the experience better like a virtual pet which needs your attention and is with you on the go. Wii U has a 6inch screen for its gamepad to serve as a secondary screen for info while many of the smartphones range from 3.5inches to 5inches in screen size, they can still output enough of the info on the screen to be visible.
But why only consoles? Why not PC? Many of the new consoles already come built-in with wireless technology including Bluetooth and WiFi whereas on PCs, every individual’s PC differs from one another. There are motherboards that come built-in with wireless technology and laptops almost always come built-in with such features but on consoles, everyone has the same thing, same hardware, same technology. So the integration with consoles does make sense at this point.
Such practices can definitely make one’s experience worthwhile and I, for one, am in full support of using the technology this way.
What are your thoughts on the scenario? Is it a bad idea or a good one? Why not let us know in the comments below.