Regardless of how interested you are in gaming as a whole – whether you’re someone new to it, or someone who has ample experience – you might recognize mobile gaming as being thought of differently from its peers. The audiences are different, the types of games available are often thought to be different, and even the experience afforded by the platform itself is different.
Are these differences good or bad? That’s ultimately a subjective question that you won’t know the answer to until you try the different options for yourself. However, it’s worth examining what these differences mean for the kind of experience that you ultimately get out of it compared to what’s available through other platforms.
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The available games might be the most immediately noteworthy difference. A lot of mobile games are free to play, meaning that the download itself is free of charge while the money is made through microtransactions throughout the game itself. These microtransactions might be cosmetic, or they could take the form of time-based obstacles (pay five coins to avoid this ten-minute wait, for example).
However, there are a range of different experiences than that available on mobile platforms, and closing yourself off to them with this preconception might prevent you from understanding what they are. While there are unique mobile experiences, like what you might find through an online casino, or mobile exclusive games, like Reigns: Her Majesty, there are also games you find on other platforms. Fortnite, Apex Legends, FTL, the Binding of Isaac, Divinity: Original Sin 2 – the mobile platform doesn’t mean that you must put the most talked about gaming experiences on the back burner.
Due to the prominence of microtransactions that the kinds of gaming experiences that this leads to, the mobile market is very different to what you might see on consoles. That doesn’t make it any less successful, though, and this model has proven to be very lucrative. The blockbuster games that you see plastered all over billboards and buses are arguably only allowed by the more powerful hardware, but it might still not be why a lot of people are drawn to mobile games.
While mobile hardware has certainly come a long way in recent years – with whole phones being developed that are geared specifically towards gaming – the appeal of mobile gaming for a lot of people might be more straightforward. Having time to kill, and finding yourself with an opportunity to engage in a game that has a tight feedback loop, releasing the right neurotransmitters in your brain with only a few screen presses at a time – all this fits with the convenience of having a device that slips in and out of your pocket at a moment’s notice.
Portable devices are nothing new to the gaming industry. Gameboys, PlayStation Portables, and even now with the Nintendo Switch, there have always been examples of consoles that allow you to play your favorite games on the move. The smartphone is different, however, in that it is not strictly a games console. It is a device that holds a great amount of utility in your life, for communication, navigation, and information – adding gaming to that pile only serves to increase what it’s capable of.
That might turn some people away from it. It’s easy to spend so much time on your phone throughout your day as it is, that adding another function to it might just be a bridge too far, despite how convenient it appears to be. However, for those who are interested in what it has to offer as an alternative to the more immediately recognizable gaming platforms, it might still be worth investigating, as the opportunity it presents as a gateway into gaming might be too alluring to ignore.
For a lot of people, having a way to access this aspect of the entertainment industry, without needing to put the kind of money down that’s required for a console or suitably powerful PC is all they need to understand the appeal of mobile gaming. Furthermore, while several games are available across all consoles, including mobile, as mentioned earlier, there are also ports of much older games which are conveniently available here as well.
If you spend much time in gaming circles, it’s easy to hear about ‘classics’, like Final Fantasy VII, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, or Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, but having such an easy way to play them for yourself can be a great way to get into the medium. It’s easy to think of all mobile games falling under the same category, especially when you think about simplistic mechanics or microtransactions, but this might be an outdated perspective – one that could be altered by looking into what’s available for yourself.