There can be no doubt that the future of social gaming is mobile, writes Simon Westbury, director of international development at Digitain
Even though it’s still challenging to have a game that works on all platforms, due to the different specifics and/or different payment options, we expect to see an even greater convergence of social and mobile.
Other exciting developments on the horizon include 3D games and even games where people create their own experiences. So, let’s dig into the future predictions and trends we expect to see.
After Pokémon GO’s success with augmented reality, we naturally anticipate more AR gaming innovation. However, we expect to see multiplayer AR games and AR games that focus on the social features with audio-based gameplay too. The technology is very powerful and has much potential.
In 2018, many mobile game developers tried to replicate Pokémon GO, in one way or another. In fact, we saw some interesting games: The Walking Dead: Our World, Jurassic World Alive and Ghostbusters World.
While none of those games managed to reach the revenue levels of Pokémon GO, it does confirm that AR is about to become even more apparent on the (mobile) gaming scene.
As high-end device specs keep improving, game developers are embracing the challenge and creating console-quality games that push their handsets to the limit. Two huge games that already target premium smartphone users are Epic Games’ Fortnite and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds Mobile.
“POWERFUL MOBILE HARDWARE ALLOWS DEVELOPERS TO CREATE EXPERIENCES THAT CAN RIVAL CONSOLE GAMES“
Another example is Blizzard’s Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft. The mobile version of the popular card game allows those who want to keep using new strategies, or creating new decks, to do so even when they are away from their computers, without compromising quality.
Powerful mobile hardware allows developers to create experiences that are not only similar, but can even rival console games. As part of the mobile move, streaming software providers are working on taking their services to mobile, which will allow anyone, anywhere to play console-quality games on any device, even if the device doesn’t have the specs to run the game natively.
Mobile spin-offs of major franchises
PC and console games have hundreds of thousands of players, if not millions. And if we take into consideration the previous point, it’s not surprising to see gaming giants, like Blizzard Entertainment, create spin-offs of some of their biggest games.
They’ve already confirmed the release of Diablo Immortal, but also intend to add mobile versions of games like World of Warcraft and Overwatch.
From the development side, spin-offs are relatively easy to make, but present a huge money-making opportunity from mobile gamers who may not have PC or consoles. The low-cost or free mobile games allow gaming studios to get their titles and characters in front of millions of potential customers that might turn into loyal cross-platform customers in the long run.
Cryptocurrencies and blockchain are making a huge impact on gaming. In 2018, there was already a small but growing trend of creating blockchain-based mobile games.
At the moment, we have CryptoKitties, a blockchain-based collectible game, and another one called Let’s Hunt Monsters, itself inspired by CrypoKitties and Pokémon GO. The latter is AR-related and uses blockchain to store and verify information about players’ achievements.
These games had very little effect on the overall gaming industry, but created big waves in the technology and blockchain industries. And it wouldn’t be a surprise if we see more blockchain-based games in 2019, especially games that include financial transactions or other exchange of sensitive data.
Is the future of social gaming cross-platform?
Since many games are available on mobile and PC or console, there has been a rising interest in creating cross-platform gaming too. Most gamers want to continue enjoying their game with the same group of friends, regardless of the device they use to play, so it’s only natural that games progress to cross-play.
If mobile spin-offs and console-quality games are the trend, then cross-platform gaming might be the future of social gaming.
Whether it is casino games, esports, or massively multiplayer online games, players have made it clear that they want an omni-channel, uninterrupted experience. And operators and gaming providers should provide just that.