Back in the stone age of gaming (read: the 1970s), the first electronic handheld gaming devices were heralded as marvels of portable gaming. Think Mattel Football, with its lines of LED lights and blarp-bloop sound effects, or Simon, that candy-colored hunk of spreading plastic. The next decade brought the wonders of handheld gaming that used cartridges to allow users to play different games. The technology continued to improve in the 1990s and 2000s, with improved graphics and faster gameplay. It was also then that early cell phones started producing their own games, and a few people even played them, despite the small screens, clunky controls, and lackluster graphics.
Then came a watershed moment for mobile gaming. In the mid-2000s, smartphones burst onto the scene and eventually allowed people to take higher-fidelity games with them wherever they went. The systems also allowed users to download new games with the click of a button for just a dollar or two, whereas previous handheld game consoles used cartridges that cost more than $40 apiece. The result? The birds got angry. The candy was crushed. And a subset of games that were once dismissed as jokes by serious gamers have become wildly successful.
How wonderful? Newzoo 2021 the global gaming market report estimates that the mobile phone category will reach accounted for 52% of all game revenue, more than PC and console games combined. But while what has happened to mobile gaming in the last 15 years may seem surprising, several seismic changes promise to reconfigure mobile gaming even more profoundly than the smartphone revolution.
The main driver behind this change? Increased performance due to the high speed and low latency that 5G networks can offer, and mobile computing (MEC), which moves data processing to the edge of the network and closer to users to reduce response times and can provide access to much more processing power than is available on the user’s device. This combination has the potential to change the way gamers think about mobile and console gaming, fundamentally changing the experience anyone thought possible on mobile.
With that in mind, here are five achievements that mobile gamers can expect.