Mobile Gaming & Familiarity

Mobile technology has changed the dynamic of so many things in society. Some say that technology has changed things for the better and some say it has made things worse. Mobile technology has definitely had an impact on the gaming industry. As it has been known for over a decade now, the gaming industry is one of the biggest industries and is forever evolving. There are so many different concepts and new updates to games that keep the people interested. These concepts and evolutions in mobile gaming enable manufacturers to meet the needs/requests of the consumers in many different markets.
In the article, The place of urban mobile gaming, Larissa Hjorth explains how the invention and evolution of mobile media has caused mobile gaming to expand into other areas of exploration outside of mainstream markets. “In particular, location-aware and hybrid reality mobile gaming has grown – creating new possibilities for play between online and offline spaces. With the ability to negotiate simultaneously various online and offline spaces, along with senses such as the haptic, mobile urban gaming is transforming how we think about gaming, play and mobility” (Hjorth. 2011).  This is more than just a step in a new direction. This shows that mobile gaming has the ability to create something innovative and new. Mobile gaming represents something special due to the fact that one can travel and still indulge in gaming. Years ago, a person would have to stay home while gaming, which would impede on their progress in the game or accomplishing their goal/mission of beating the game. The objective of most games is ultimately to reach some level of success and that is what makes games so relatable to everyone. No one wants to lose. Everybody wants to be a winner. Hjorth also touches on the idea of location-aware mobile gaming, which incorporates the use of GPS in order for them to function properly. Pay attention to the many applications that exists today (Facebook, twitter, photo applications, etc.). They all are becoming applications that tell people that the application will run smoothly if they decide to approve the location service option. This is the newest craze in society so it was only a matter of time before mobile gaming would adopt the same idea. “As an area often dubbed ‘urban games’, ‘pervasive games’, or ‘location-aware’ gaming, mobile games such as LBMG/LAMG involve the use of GPS that allows games to be played simultaneously online and offline. For Ma¨yra¨ (2003), gaming has always involved place and mobility, and yet it is precisely this key feature that is missing in most current videogames, especially single player genres” (Hjorth 2011).   Having the option to play games online and offline is a huge attraction to people because that allows one to play the game whenever they would like to. There is really no restriction.

Christian McCrea also discusses portable gaming systems in his article, The nature and context of portable gaming systems.   He goes on to discuss how familiarity with portable devices can cause games to become more expressive. “As familiarity with a technology develops, games become potentially expressive – though not in a clear sense of expression of the device or its user. Games and their play grow to express that familiarity – which can be understood in terms of affordances, histories and loyalties” (McCrea. 2011). This correlates to Hjorth due to the fact that the use of having mobile gaming opportunities online and offline creates a means of familiarity with portable technology. People become familiar with what they spend the most time with so mobile gaming in many forms will do nothing less than create familiarity within its consumers. With this being said, will the familiarity of mobile gaming create a decline in home game systems in the future? That’s the concern that some people have.

With this being said, it is predicted that mobile gaming will eventually overtake console gaming in the near future. It is believed that the expansion on mobile gaming into unfamiliar markets will do nothing more than create this change at a much faster pace than thought, but everything is becoming mobile these days. Can it really be prevented?   According to Fortune, “Smartphones and tablets have given gamers two new screens to play games on in addition to their TV and PC screen. Because U.S. consumers use all four screens, mobile gaming does not replace console or PC gaming. Moreover, it gives gamers the possibility to play games anywhere at any time, pushing overall time spent on games in the U.S. up 40% in only two years.”   It’s all about game availability at this point in time. Marketers and manufacturers are making sure that gaming is available in every market so that extreme gamers will have their wants met at all times. Extreme gamers love the idea of having their favorite game at their fingertips.   Hjorth and McCrea write about portable readiness and market outreach to show us this.



McCrea, C. (2011). We play in public: The nature and context of portable gaming systems.Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, 389-403. Retrieved February 22, 2015.

2 thoughts on “Mobile Gaming & Familiarity

  1. I wrote about this too, and you made some really good points. Being able to take your smartphone or tablet with you on the go and still being able to game is something the standalone consoles cannot compete with. I can’t say for sure, but I do think that mobile will overtake console gaming in the future. The graphics are getting better as the devices get better, and there are so many different things that you can do with them.

  2. This was an interesting read, as was yours tue79075. I do agree that the mobility aspect of the devices used for mobile gaming gives gaming a new spin. Console gaming is a culture though that I think will continue to grow whether we are talking gaming via computer, xbox, playstation etc. I think console gaming has found its place with society and mobile gaming is in a transitional period. When it all settles its my guess that mobile gaming will create its own culture in which some gamers participate in both cultures while others stick to either mobile or console.

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