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With the mass popularity of smartphone devices, nowadays, there is an ever increasing amount of the population with near-constant access to a very powerful, highly refined piece of technology. It’s not as if the basic idea behind the communication aspect of cell-phones is evolving much. People are simply finding more and more that having a powerful device with them at all times can be quite convenient.
Especially, it turns out, for the sake of mobile gaming, a relatively recent statistic published at Flurry.com (a mobile application marketing and analytics company) has revealed.
Revealed in the same blog entry is the fact that there are an estimated 250 million iOS and Android devices around the world, compared “to the 180 million Wiis, Xbox 360s and PlayStation 3s currently on the market.” Given this sort of information, what does this say about who “gamer” is now personified by? To have access to a seemingly endless number of games, one no longer needs to purchase a dedicated gaming machine (e.g. Xbox 360, Wii, Playstation 3, etc.).
Gaming is now a secondary function to a device that many individuals in the Western world clarify as a necessity. Yet, as Flurry.com’s study has shown, people are using their smartphones more and more frequently to game, with as many as 37% of the apps launched by smartphone users being games.
John Carmack, a long-time veteran of game development, recently stated that he believes smartphone devices will soon be “more powerful than the current-gen consoles.” At that point, when games like the ones we now play on consoles can be played on a phone, how will one distinguish “gamer” as a hobby? You may have heard some disambiguation with terms like “hardcore gamer” and “casual gamer” being thrown around, with the latter having a greater inclination toward mobile gaming. But these are also misleading.
What isn’t “casual” about only spending three or four hours a week playing games on an Xbox 360, and what isn’t “hardcore” about those who check up on their iPhones every ten minutes to play a few minutes of a game they’re currently invested in?
Perhaps the next few years will manage to distinguish these two very different types of enthusiasts, as differences in hardware become reduced on the respective gaming platforms, and the decision of gaming software becomes the clarifying criteria.