Mobile gaming has overtaken traditional gaming platforms, at least in terms of consumer spending. It is one of the findings of App Annie’s Gaming Spotlight 2018 Review Report, which means consumers are spending more on mobile games, than consoles or PC. Last year, consumer spending on mobile games exceeded game spending on consoles, handhelds, and PCs and Macs combined by 20%. App Annie director of market insights Amir Ghodrati attributes this meteoric rise to the improvement in technology and the ubiquity of mobile devices.
App Annie’s findings affirmed our predictions for 2018 on G Style Magazine. Among other things, we predicted even more spectacular growth for the industry, and it has happened. That’s in part due to companies like Apple and Google investing heavily in more powerful processors and operating systems for smartphones, as well as the rise of independent and freelance developers filling sought after niche roles in gaming companies. In-turn, this has given rise to companies embracing more intensive applications like augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). They are right in doing so because AR and VR are shaping the future of immersive gaming.
AR: Out in front
In terms of immersion, VR is king. But Newzoo points out that AR might be ahead of the curve in terms of adoption, mainly because of VR’s comparatively expensive hardware requirements and sometime cumbersome setup. Investments by Apple and Google — via ARCore and ARKit, respectively — are also helping by expanding the AR landscape, notably through AR-enabled smartphones. Consequently, games with AR features, like Pokémon Go are downloadable in either Google Play or App Store, making them much more accessible to gamers. It’s no wonder then that gaming is the number 1 AR app category on both Google Play and the App Store.
VR: Gaining Traction
Despite VR hardware costs and requirements, however, Tech Radar opens up its list of best VR games by noting that “the buzz around VR continues to grow.” A big reason for this is advances in VR technology, which have made it possible for the release of increasingly affordable hardware, primarily headsets. Oculus Go is now much more affordable than the big three: Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and PlayStation VR. This development is gradually making VR for mobile more accessible, and that bodes well for gamers who want the best immersive experiences.
The Future: Brighter, bolder
Both AR and VR are now part of mobile gaming, and they will continue to grow with gamers’ overall desire for advanced immersion and interaction. That means demand for AR and VR developers is bound to increase as a direct result. VR World reports that VR and AR job postings on popular freelance job site Indeed have increased by 93% since 2015. This pattern is set to continue with Yoss illustrating how companies are looking to hire experienced freelancers from the top 1% of the global talent pool. That’s because the strides being made in both VR and AR necessitate this continuous need for talented developers. Curiously, even gaming companies like Blizzard, which hasn’t dabbled in either VR or AR yet, are also looking for talent in both fields. Along with this fresh talent will come fresh, innovative ideas that could push VR and AR to even greater frontiers, especially in regards to mobile gaming.
Crucially, AR- and VR-enabled mobile gaming is likely to be assisted by the 5G roll out. Consistently fast wireless internet means gamers can access AR and VR content streamed from the cloud — a setup that is much cheaper as opposed to buying a game outright. This development will broaden the landscape for AR and VR and ensure that the mobile gaming revolution continues.[Written by Lucas Barrett]