Mobile gaming has had a rather difficult time properly adapting to the market.
There’s quite a few reasons for it. One of the most significant has to do with hardware fragmentation. Traditional gaming consoles don’t have much variation between versions. One can target an industry leading company’s product and rest assured that the results will work on their console. But that’s not really the case with mobile development.
Mobile platforms are a sometimes odd combination of console and computer based methodologies. Like a console, the hardware and software are heavily tied together. An Android phone will run Android. A phone from Apple will run iOS. But beyond that it fits in much more closely with a computer based methodology.
One can know those two initial facts about hardware and operating system.
But it’s much more uncertain as to what the specific specs of a mobile device will be. Computers tend to get around this simply because they pack so much power. One can aim for a fairly modest point and still get great performance.
Mobile platforms are something quite different though.
They’re usually constructed to just barely surpass basic functionality. And gaming is usually targeted to lower powered gaming rather than what gamers actually want. Worse, one can’t even really count on input devices. Some android devices actually have built in gamepads. Others integrate perfectly with clip-on gamepads. Others have outdated bluetooth stacks that make gamepads and mice difficult to properly integrate.
One of the big game changers has come from gaming companies learning to work with rather than against the target devices. For example, with the above limitations in mind it’s clear that cutting edge 3D platformers would be a poor fit. But what types of games would run well? The answer is that strategy building games are a perfect fit.
It’s easy to see why that’s the case when you really examine why grand strategy games run so well on mobile platforms. They’re easy to work around when it comes to input devices. A finger or a mouse are very different on some genres. But strategy games can usually scale up or down to them fairly easily. And one can find similar capabilities with processors. Processing for strategy games tends to deal with the amount of units on a map.
Lower end processors can compensate with less units of greater power.
Or much of the work can simply get offloaded to cloud servers. Building aspects, for example, are commonly stored and processed on remote servers. But in the end one thing is clear. This newfound clarity is helping get mobile gaming into the hands of real gamers. And it’s leading the world into a whole new era of gaming.