Gaming on the go: Hot trend allows favorite games to break free of the console

More Americans play video games than don’t. In fact, 67 percent of U.S. households play video games, according to the Entertainment Software Rating Board. Many gamers, however, have either been leashed to a console in order to play their favorite games or have had to find new favorites available for mobile devices. The hottest new trend in video games, however, is changing all that.

Mobile gaming has moved beyond games designed specifically for mobile devices. Console makers are now creating app versions of top games, like the Skylander franchise, to ensure gamers can play their favorite games from anywhere.

Of course, mobile gaming is not a new concept. In fact, the concept emerged in the ‘70s, roughly around the same time game consoles for in-home use reached the market. Handheld modules were basic, generally allowing users to play a single game designed specifically for that device. There was no crossover between console games and mobile games. In the late 1980s and 1990s, handhelds that could run more than one game emerged, and some of the most popular console games issued mobile versions.

Meanwhile, cellphone manufacturers began including basic games (like Nokia’s Snake) in phone operating systems. The development of smartphones and the App Store revolutionized mobile gaming. Virtually anyone with a smartphone and an App Store account could download and play a host of games designed to be played on smartphones. While mobile games have traditionally cost less than console games, playing a favorite game on a console offers a depth of play that apps have had a hard time matching. Mobile gamers still couldn’t play favorite console games, like Skylanders, or app versions of their favorite games were poor imitations of the console versions.

The next revolutionary step in mobile gaming has been the emergence of apps that allow users to play console-based games on a mobile device, like a smartphone or tablet. Popular game franchises like Skylanders now provide a full gaming experience via mobile. In 2014, Skylanders Trap Team launched the gameplay into a mobile environment, and in 2015, Skylanders SuperChargers will follow the trend. A starter pack for iPad users will allow players to move seamlessly from console to tablet. Both versions offer the new vehicles-to-life feature that will enable kids to play with toy vehicles in the real world and then see them come to life in the game via the game’s Portal of Power. While introducing a new class of heroes, moves, attacks, vehicles and weapons, Skylanders SuperChargers will support all 300-plus Skylanders toys from previous games.

Until recently, mobile and console gaming occupied two separate worlds. Now, with more console game makers recognizing that their most dedicated fans want to be able to play their favorite games anywhere, anytime, the two worlds are merging.


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