Mobile Technologies Shaped Gaming. Or is it the opposite?

Gaming is one of the earliest forms of social interaction and dates all the way back to the first signs of ancient life. To this day playing games is popular amongst people of all ages. Even though there are many ways to play games, the most common form seen today is through technology. Video gaming – in particular – dates back to the 1950s when a game of tic-tac toe was monitored on a giant screen. Also, the first video game called “tennis for two” was released in 1958 (Bellis). Since the start of these technologies with video gaming there has been a huge advancement in gaming overall. Today, games are now available through mobile technologies, which has helped shape gaming overall and vice versa where gaming has helped mobile technologies.

Gaming has helped shape mobile technologies since the start of video games. In 1997, Nokia introduced the game “Snake” on their mobile devices and shortly after – due to popularity – more games were provided on cell phones. The reason behind this success was due to the fact that “snake” was a popular game before it was released on cell phones. Katz argues, “mobile games seem to have initially followed the model of PC and Internet games” (Katz 406). This still happens today where games start out available on the computer and then they turn into a mobile application game. For example, The Sims was a popular computer game and is now available on different platforms such as video game consoles and mobile technologies. Even though Katz feels that Nokia was the start of mobile gaming, Consalvo feels differently.

Mobile technologies have been providing games since the late 1990s. Even though games were popular on mobile devices such as cell phones, Consalvo argues that iPhones are the reasons that mobile gaming became popular. She agrees that before 2002 only simple games such as Tetris were available on cell phones; however, shortly after the iPhone was released mobile gaming skyrocketed to the point where “one-third of applications downloaded by a user were from gaming” (188). Even though originally only Apple product apps were available to be downloaded, that is still a very large portion to what people are using their phones for. This shows how much of an impact gaming has had on other devices outside of consoles. People are no longer just using cellphones to communicate with one another; they are buying smartphones to also play games.

Mobile technology has also impacted gaming because it has created a whole new category to playing games: “mobile gaming”. In the past decade, mobile gaming has changed the norms of playing virtual games. One reason is that “women are more likely to play mobile games’ (Katz 404). In the past , a typical video gamer was a young male and now mobile gaming has helped to increase the numbers of female gamers. Another way that mobile technology has shaped gaming is because “mobile games are for mobile lifestyles”. Users no longer have to buy an entire console just to play a game. They can now find similar – if not the same – games for a much lower price. This is beneficial to gamers who are not as serious about gaming but would still like to enjoy the act of playing a video game.

Mobile gaming has also shaped gaming overall because it is now a threat to other forms of video games. Mobile games are no longer just popular games that were around previously on other platforms. They are now new gaming applications that were never seen before. Consalvo argues that Angry Birds is one of the greatest successes of mobile gaming. (Consalvo 193). She feels that even though people did not know what Angry birds was it was a huge success because people of all ages were playing it. Angry Birds was intended to reach users who were not as serious about gaming as those who regularly play. Not only was this game being downloaded but there were also many toys and product made because of how successful this game became. This game available on mobile devices – along with many others – shows that mobile gaming can compete at the same level as other video games and consoles.

Gaming is still very popular to this day and available on many different platforms. Gaming has shaped mobile technologies because overtime the games originally available on cell phones were designed from games previously on computers. The iPhone has also been a huge success in the popularity of mobile gaming because now a large portion of storage from phones is being used towards mobile games. On the other hand, mobile technologies have shaped gaming because women are now playing more video games than before. Also, mobile gaming is now seen at the same eye level as other forms of video games because of games like Angry Birds, which has had great success. Overall, gaming and mobile technologies will continue to advance and contribute to one another’s success.

Citations

Bellis, M. (2014, March 5). The History of Computer and Video Games. Retrieved April 3, 2015, from http://inventors.about.com/library/inventors/blcomputer_videogames.htm

Consalvo, M. (2012). Slingshot to Victory. In Moving data: The iphone and the future of media (pp. 187 – 189, 190-193). New York, New York: Columbia University Press.

Katz, J. (2008). Mobile Games and Entertainment. In Handbook of mobile communication studies (pp. 404 – 408). Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.

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2 thoughts on “Mobile Technologies Shaped Gaming. Or is it the opposite?

  1. This is a great overview of the history and current state of affairs of mobile gaming. There are a few particularly interesting points you brought up that could be strengthened with more evidence or depth:
    -People use mobile phones not only to communicate, but also to play video games. Here, you could bring up that this is part of big-picture phenomenon of technological convergence in mobile phones.
    -The connection between people using mobile phones for games and not having to purchase a console and expensive discs to play video games. What about more affordable mobile game devices such as Gameboy? I suppose that argument could go either way.
    -Young males were the main demographic for video games prior to mobile games. It would be great to cite proof of this assertion. Here you could also explain (or come up with) theories of why women are now the main demographic for mobile games.

    Overall, this was easy to read and made a lot of sense. For the relatively short length requirement of this assignment, you cover all of the important aspects and arguments that needed to be addressed.

  2. Let me begin with saying I enjoyed this read and agree with the points that you’ve argued in this essay. I believe that mobile technology will definitely push the gaming industry in a different direction then in previous years. I do have to wonder though will this new direction separate gamers into two separate category themselves? As someone that’s plays console gaming one in a blue moon and have major console gaming friends, I can say first hand that there are few key differences in the two playing styles that I guess requires more effort? I just feel that now mobile media has now allowed more women to play that leaves some to say that mobile gaming “isn’t really gaming”. All in all I believe you’ve made a strong argument.

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