Why Mobile Gaming Matters

Apple posted a list of the most downloaded apps ever to memorialize the 50 billionth app sold in the Apple App Store. Before I delve into the list and what it contains, I need to say something about mobile gaming and the way of the future of video games. Everything in technology is becoming smaller and more mobile. Phones are getting thinner as are laptops. We are becoming a more mobile society whether we think about it or not. Tablets are big right now—because they are more mobile than a laptop. We are a society on the run and we need technology that is mobile with us. This has already greatly affected the video game industry. Mobile games are released every day, some remakes, some knock-offs and others completely fresh. This is a growing market with a ton of opportunities for development. Anyone can create their own mobile game and make it successful. It’s not a far-off dream. With a look at mobile gaming over the years, it’s obvious to note that it’s increasing in popularity. Apple’s list is the evidence.

The list is split up into two categories, one being “Top Paid Apps” and “Top Free Apps.” Twenty-one of the 25 top paid apps are mobile games including The Sims 3, Plants vs. Zombies and Angry Birds Space. Most of the apps on each list are casual games. This is what people are spending their time and money on in the Apple App Store. You can see the whole list here.

I have a little problem with mobile gaming and I have a reason it will never replace console or PC gaming. I am so used to feeling the physical existence of buttons under my fingers, that it’s easy to control my character. On an iPhone, these physical buttons are absent. Instead, you have a touchscreen with a false D-pad or analog stick and A and B buttons (or anything of that sort). This creates a problem for me because, I have trouble playing like that. While I can go for miles in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 on my emulator on my laptop with my Xbox controller, I can’t get very far on my iPhone because sometimes I hit the wrong button. One wrong tap can send Sonic soaring down into the depths of water or into an endless pit.

Mobile gaming will never replace console gaming because they are two completely unique and separate experiences. There is so much thrill behind the releases of new consoles and games, so exciting that people feel the need to throw entire conferences over one announcement. This will never happen for mobile gaming. Console gaming will never become obsolete, just more advanced. What I am worried about is that console gaming will become more mobile than it already is, with things like the PS Vita and 3DS. In this case, mobile gaming and console gaming could blend together. We are heading in the direction where our phones could become consoles themselves. We are shoving so much into the technology of our phone that we might as well turn them into small consoles. If this is the direction our gaming technology is heading, at least give me the option of plugging controllers into my mobile console. Then maybe I might give it a chance.

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