Mobile games have become hugely popular with the increasing adoption of smart phones. Advanced pocket computers and other consoles have enhanced the customer experience in the last few years thereby supporting and drastically changing the gaming industry landscape.
According to the reports from Global Market Insights, the mobile gaming industry is estimated to grow double from 2017 to 2024. The competition in mobile game development are as fierce as ever and developers are frequently on the lookout for new technologies that can give their mobile game a competitive edge.
In this blog, we can take a look at what technology trends we can expect in mobile gaming apps this year.
1) The future of Mobile Gaming: Virtual Reality
Virtual Reality(VR) Gaming is a three-dimensional environment in which we can interact using an electronic equipment. In VR gaming, the gamer dons a specialized equipment that allows them to enter a three-dimensional world. The equipment can include devices such as a VR headset, helmet, mask, gloves where they interact with the fantasy gaming world.
VR gaming was considered as a thing of the distant future until the release of virtual reality headsets. VR headsets provide gamers with an impressive and realistic gaming experience. Star Citizen, Eagle Flight, Arizona Sunshine, Elite Dangerous etc. are some of the most popular VR mobile games.
Here are three key reasons why mobile VR will be the future of gaming:
• Simplicity – It’s a simple, easy to operate technology
• Portability – Once VR goes mobile, you wouldn’t have to carry around bulky VR equipment. There would be only a headset and your mobile
• Affordability – As most people already own smart phones, they just need to buy a VR headset to go with it.
2016 has been a breakthrough year for VR gaming. With a spectacular range of software and hardware all set to be available, virtual reality fanatics are going to become even more impressed.
Beyond gaming, VR technology can be used in other forms of Entertainment, Healthcare, Space technology, Museums, Online Shopping, Automotive manufacturing and Education.
2) Augmented Reality(AR)
Augmented Reality gaming uses an existing environment and creates a playing field within it. AR games are mostly played on devices like smart phones, tablets, and other portable gaming systems.
More advanced AR gaming apps may actually build an environment from the user surroundings. Environment creation is an important task in gaming as the user would require a new environment after completing each level. It helps to expand the playing field, create a diverse range of real-world environment to keep the games interesting.
Video game companies are quickly adopting this technology to create games that are life like and offer the most amazing experiences. Devices like PlayStation and Wii offer augmented reality games, where players use physical actions to control the movements and actions.
Pokemon GO is considered to be the breakthrough for AR gaming which uses a camera, gyroscope, clock and GPS enable a location-based augmented reality environment.
The best Augmented Reality Games available in Android/iOS are Temple Treasure Hunt Game, Real Strike, ARBasketball, Paintball Arena, SpecTrek, Toyota 86AR, AR Invaders, Droid shooting etc.
3) Ionic Framework App Development
Undoubtedly, the vast growth in technology has landed us into an era that is rapidly changing, adopting and inventing new, better ways to do things. Ionic framework created in the year 2013, Drifty Co. makes it easier to develop native mobile apps with HTML5, CSS, Sass is also known as the Hybrid apps.
Ionic which is a completely open source SDK for HTML5 app development frameworks is targeted at building hybrid mobile apps which are basically small websites running in a browser shell in an app that has access to the native platform.
In 2017, a majority of the developers may use this in games. Its optimum specifications allow it to work on the latest devices in the market. The framework which works on both iOS and Android platforms allows the developers to create complex gaming apps much easier.
Benefits of Ionic Framework in Mobile App Development
Platform independent Framework: It has the ability to recognize the platform specific optimized CSS equivalent to the native look and feel on various mobile Operating Systems.
Default User interface: This has many default CSS and JS components that cover most of the essential/basic things which you use to create a mobile application.
Feasible Cross Mobile App Development: Developing an application only once is advantageous as it would be compatible with all the mobile devices.
Built on Angular JS: The Ionic framework is built on top of the Angular JS framework. Ionic expands Angular at a basic level with a lot of stuff to make creative applications.
An Ionic framework is the dominant HTML5 mobile advancement system at present and it is growing very fast. While developing a mobile application, this is highly recommended since it might be a good choice based on your business and technical needs.
4) Location-Based Services
LBS delivers information about the geographic location of the mobile devices. This includes mobile phones, mobile interactive browsers etc. LBS deliver end-user applications based on location services.
This new technology is having a great impact on how business is being done. Knowing the physical position of the user at any time can be a huge potential for mobile game development service providers.
LBS can be involved in the following aspects like:
• People Tracking and Finder
• Driving Directions
• Information Directory Services
• Location Based Billing
• In games where location is a part of the game play (For example Your movement on daytime makes your avatar move in the game or your position can unlock contents)
Today nearly all mobile devices have GPS thus making it easy for the game developers to incorporate location-based services into the games they develop.
5) Hybrid App Development
This helps in increasing the productivity while incurring minimal costs. Hybrid Application development consists of two parts:
• Hybrid Mixed Application Development
• Hybrid Web Application Developments
The need for gaming has elevated to such an extent that game developers are trying out so much to put out their best. Opting for a hybrid application is a lucrative business model, while it meets the expectations of all the customers. Hybrid App Development includes benefits such as:
1) Time-Saving: A hybrid app negates the need to create a new operating system for every app each time. At this point, they wouldn’t need to spend extra time to develop platform-specific versions for each of their apps. It can help developers to design apps that can rank high in usability and efficiency.
2) Web plus native access to features: In hybrid apps, users have access to more features like web content and access to native capabilities within the app.
3) Easy Updates: Hybrid apps save the user from tedious clicks and efforts. For updates, users no longer have to revisit the AppStore and make several clicks.
4) Offline Access: They can be used even when the devices are offline and helps users cut their expenses, indulge more in the purchase of such apps and in turn, benefit the business.
However, game developers will have to ensure that the hybrid app utilizes the different capabilities of each platform to an optimal level so as to save costs as well as to satisfy the customer needs.
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6) Android Instant Apps
Android Instant apps allow usage of apps without downloading them from a link from the Play Store. This new concept saves the users from the annoyance of first downloading the app and then determining its usability. Here, users have the flexibility to install only those apps that fulfil their expectations and needs.
By the introduction of this method by Google, it has paved the way for mobile game development and mobile game app developers. Users will be able to run games on their smart phones without downloading them. This feature makes it easy to play games on the go.
Mobile users do not need to install the full app if the preview of an instant app fulfills their purpose. Fast loading and easy accessibility are the main attractions of instant apps.
Another main feature of Instant Android Apps is that they support NFC for ease of usability.
7) Cloud Based Technology
Cloud computing is a network, where a large number of systems are connected with private or public sources, to provide dynamically scalable infrastructure for data and file storage. With the advent of this feature, the cost of application hosting, computing, content storage and delivery has been reduced significantly.
Cloud Computing offers new opportunities in the gaming industry. With the support of cloud technology, other industries such as music, television, etc. offer extensive content to users in PCs and smart phones.
Features offered by Cloud Technology
Security: Can prevent interruptions such as hacking. The information is stored within a storage space and makes the platform safer than the other traditional applications.
Compatible with Any Type of Devices: High-end games can even be played on lower end machines. Cloud technology can diminish the limitations caused by memory requirements, graphic capacity, and processing power.
Reduced Costs: The cloud systems follow a ‘pay as you go’ strategy in which gaming companies need to pay only for the resources that they have used.
Easy Access to Games: Easy to implement and can access games from any device from any location without downloading the game.
Safe from Piracy: The gamers play games on cloud servers with an access on their personal computers, so cloud diminishes the chances of unauthorized manipulation, interruptions and maintains the novelty of the game.
More devices are available: Cloud computing supports the usage of multiple devices such as smart phones, laptops etc. Players can enjoy the game from anywhere in the world without carrying the console.
8) Cloud Demand Services are on the Rise
Refers to games which are not stored on your computer or device but kept on a server. Using the client-side software you can connect to the server and retrieve the game when needed. Benefits for this are that you don’t need to update the software every time when a new update comes.
Some of the top Cloud Services for the Gamers are:
• Play-station Now
GamingAnywhere is another open source cloud gaming platform which currently supports Windows and Linux and can be ported to OS X and Android. Gamers may customize GamingAnywhere to meet their needs. And this advantage is not possible in other game clouding platforms.
According to Cisco research, globally cloud apps will drive 90% of total mobile data traffic by 2019 and Mobile cloud traffic will be 11-fold with Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 60%.
9) More Focus on Security of the Gaming Apps
Protecting your gaming brand, assets, stories and characters have tended to be more important these days. Mobile games and other apps are seeing an increasing number of hacking attacks, where they clone popular games and then collect the revenue from the cracked copies of the original.
Securing a mobile game can be a complex task since the threats vary depending on different factors- Platforms, the architecture of the game, type of the game and much more. Using third party app stores can end up hosting pirated versions of the original app. This can deny the revenue to the actual game developer and most of such pirated game versions contain malware.
Things to be done to keep acquiring security in apps:
a) Use intrusion detection and obfuscation techniques
b) Prevent piracy by adding a line of defense in server layer, network layer, a memory layer, and disc layer of the game.
c) Get an external audit done by a specialist.
In 2014, Flappy Bird was a Top Free Game in iOS App Store. The developers made an income of around $50,000 a day from in-app advertisements and sales. Within a month, there were 60 different clones of the game being added, every single day to the store.
In a rush to get apps in the market, developers fail to keep security as a key part and finally can get a loss about 50% or more of their potential revenue because of hacking or other security failures.
The two other development to keep an eye on in 2017 is MagicLeap, the US “mixed reality” start-up which has been funded to a high level and is considered to be a game-changer. The second development involves Microsoft is trying to make VR headsets standard for Windows 10 running PCs. It will enable firms to manufacture VR headsets with confidence.
Mobile Gaming development is actually at an interesting point. It can reach more customers than any other gaming apps platforms. Nintendo, Pokemon Go, and Super Mario Run proved to have something new and interesting to offer to the gaming apps space in 2016. Two Major hardware launches-Nintendo’s Switch and Microsoft’s Scorpio might also happen this year.
At the end of the day, though, providing a premium and smoother experience is the key to the success of all mobile game development in the coming years. Design skills and understanding the customers should be the priority concern for mobile app developers.