The gaming industry used to be very linear and straight forward. As technology has progressed though, the industry has evolved with it. We now have multiple mediums through which to play games, and the experience all-round seems to be continually improving. So here’s a closer look at how apps, specifically, have changed the industry and brought benefits to a range of gaming brands and genres.
At first, we had the presence of simple board games. Then came arcade machines that brought us classics like Pac-Man and Donkey Kong, along with the introduction of consoles – giving players a chance to enjoy their favourite games from the comfort of their own homes. Next came handheld consoles, like the now-old-school Gameboy that opened up remote play (but crucially not inter-connectivity) to players around the world.
Finally, the Smartphone Revolution ensured that the industry and player experience were once again taken to the next level, with an entire catalogue of games available to be played with people throughout the world. All sorts of genres for all sorts of players; and all united through app stores filled with literally hundreds of thousands of games.
A mere decade or so ago, phones such as the Motorola ‘flipper’ (now reserved exclusively for vintage technology museums showcasing ancient relics of the past – such is the fast nature of the phone industry) and the full-keyboard Blackberry were considered revolutionary. To be fair, at the time, they were. But since then, they’ve been completely swallowed up and banished to outdated-obscurity as superior technology has made those models redundant.
With an initial USP of being able to connect to the internet remotely, and integrate that connectivity with other functionalities within the device, smartphones have come a long, long way since their humble (but at the time lavish) beginnings. They have now been embedded into many different aspects of our lives, including the gaming side.
Where gaming on smartphones was originally very limited and centered around the novelty of the touch, sound and tilt functions of the device, they’ve now progressed massively to tailor more towards things like extensive gameplay and graphics.
What types of gaming apps exist?
These more basic types of gaming apps do, of course, still exist, and are still great time-killers for those lengthy commutes. Whereas games like Doodle Jump were once hugely popular, their limited gameplay has since taken its toll and they have been quickly replaced by more detailed apps. At present, there are currently some great games available to download on smartphones.
Nowadays, most successful console franchises have an app presence of some sorts. This is almost a requirement if they want to keep up with trends and not lose out on a potentially huge audience.
It’s not just video games that have embraced apps, either. The casino industry is one area that has especially benefited from the increase in their popularity. Where players would previously have to venture out to enjoy all their favourite casino games, they now have access to a whole plethora of games remotely thanks to apps such as Pokerstars Casino. Such apps give players the ability to select from a range of games, play a range of stakes and even interact with other players in ‘live’ card rooms.
How else do apps benefit games?
So clearly, accessibility is a huge positive of apps. In what was once a pastime exclusively restricted for the home or the arcade, gaming can be enjoyed far more easily. Even for those non-virtual games, such as ones involving cards, dice or even board games, apps can provide a more streamlined experience.
Scrabble for instance, can now be played on a smartphone, meaning the potential opponents for a player goes from the 1-3 people who must be in the vicinity to play on the physical board, to the millions around the world who have the app version. Also in the virtual world, setup time is eradicated ensuring players have more time to play and don’t have to spend time preparing board games to be played. Access to these games is instant.
There are few downsides to gaming apps. Not only do they provide excellent entertainment, they also enhance players’ experience and expose them to a worldwide database of potential opponents and other players. The contrasting functionalities of phones and tablets in comparison to consoles ensure that apps can hit an alternate demographic, so games really can get themselves out there to many, many more people. It’s hard to not see a place for apps in the gaming industry for years to come.