The video gaming trend is accelerating its pace leaving behind movies and television. As the Newzoo market report asserts, the global games earnings will climb to $137.9 billion in 2018 and reach $180 billion in 2021.
Following these report figures, 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. They generate the biggest revenues from mobile games and place first on the list of the global gaming market leaders. In contrast to Europe, Asian gamers are more likely to adopt smartphone games, not PCs or consoles.
Statista’s 2017 findings say Tencent Holdings, the Chinese entertainment giant, earned $15.6 billion from its online games, while Blizzard Entertainment, the US-based game development company, boasted only $2.13 billion in net profit.
Will this dominance lead to intense mobile gaming vs pc gaming competition? Or will PC and mobile games manage to hold their niches without crossing each other’s boundaries? Below we have shared some of our latest findings and thoughts.
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. Grand Theft Auto Vice City, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, and XCOM Enemy Within are among the most popular PC and console games ported to mobile platforms.
These breakthroughs, however, cannot fully replace PCs. The mobile games vs pc games resistance is meaningless when talking about triple-A games demanding supercharged hardware. The games as Battlefield, FIFA, Need for Speed, or Witcher require huge power and high-definition displays to run smoothly. Currently, handheld device makers cannot demonstrate as much power as PC or сonsole makers can.
The PC gaming industry keeps going mobile, while mobile and console games expand their reach through PCs. This cross platform approach seems to work well for increasing revenues. This is the case with Grand Theft Auto V. Released for consoles, it was a success until the hype settled down. Once that happened, the game developer released a PC version packed with updates.
One of the latest trends in video games is 4K technology. It allows gamers to have an incredibly vivid experience with the total number of pixels exceeding 8 million. In fact, all the latest monitors and laptops are equipped with 4K-ready displays. A great number of casual and pro gamers love to use these monitors showing crisper images and more details.
When it comes to the mobile gaming vs PC gaming battle, PCs seem to be in a better position. 4K displays have long been the norm for TV, laptops, and PCs. What is more, the latest updates are first adopted and tested via displays with big dimensions and multiple screen resolutions supported. 4K displays require enormous processing capacity from graphics cards, which can be achieved on PCs but rarely on mobile phones.
One of the first phones having this feature was the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium. Its battery went low two times faster when a 4K video was running. To support this technology, a mobile device needs high processing power otherwise there might be uneven screen backlighting due to its inability to handle millions of pixels at a time. Furthermore, mobile phones powered by 4K technology have not become popular yet; mobile gaming development does not include this feature on their roadmap. Simple as that.
Advancements made in the mobile gaming development drive changes in PCs and consoles. Pokemon Go has made AR and VR technologies incredibly popular. The industry revenues are expected to make $2.2 billion in 2018. According to VentureBeat, Sony has single-handedly shipped 3 million PlayStation VR headsets. VR headsets for mobile devices are even more sought-after. Samsung had sold about 5 million Gear VR headsets by the end of 2017. But, VR has not matured enough to provide an immersive gaming experience. The headsets are too cumbersome to “cut a gamer from the real world.”
Bold, yet possible predictions were made by Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot. He foresees games will soon be streamed from the cloud servers; hardware may not be needed in the long run. This will boost AAA games, as ant screen with an internet connection would be able to run high-end games. However, this change will hardly be implemented in the near future.
What awaits us in the computer and mobile games industry’s future? Employing the latest trends, as 4K and AR/VR, it becomes possible to create another whole level of gaming experience. The development of cross-platform frameworks and apps make it possible to play mobile games on PC. In fact, great technologies and software for PC gamers and for mobile game fans are set to arrive in the nearest future.
Researchers say the idea of indie game development, extremely popular at first, is losing momentum these days. Month by month, producing high-tech games becomes easier and less costly. Nevertheless, indie games do not lose their position as they, more often than not, are quite original and captivating.
Due to mobile game development outsourcing, the latest indie games produced by small studios or individual programmers get lots of attention and positive feedback from both players and journalists. With the help of software outsourcing companies, each person, with appropriate knowledge, can create and promote gaming apps without any obstacles.
Mobile game development outsourcing companies provide game studios with needed support. It applies to the ones producing simple games. Flappy Bird is a great example of this handiwork.
More and more game publishers work with both desktop and mobile technologies. That means we can expect some of our favorite games from the past to land on various mobile platforms.
Some popular console and desktop games have undergone successful mobile porting: Carmageddon, X-COM: UFO Defence, Tomb Raider, Dragon’s Lair, Baldur’s Gate, Heroes of Might and Magic III, and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. This list is growing daily.
Other titles have gotten special mobile versions, refreshes or games set in the original universes: Grim Fandango Remastered, XCOM: Enemy Unknown, Titan Souls, Raiden Legacy, Minecraft: Pocket Edition, Pokemon GO, Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath, Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes, Hitman GO, Need for Speed: No Limits, Rayman Jungle Run, Pacman 256, Bioshock 2D, and many others. Last, but not least: recently one of the most successful MMORPGs of all times – Lineage 2 – has seen a mobile remake to Lineage 2 Revolution.
Modern mobile devices have a high performance whole genres like point and click adventures are now suitable for this transfer, as are the legendary hits of 1990’s (like classic Pokemon games, Fallout or Legend of Monkey Island) when the top PCs had lower storage, memory and computing power than the average Android smartphone in 2017.
The near future promises a bunch of new opportunities for PC and mobile games. It means we will enjoy high quality gaming content no matter what device is used.