Interactive entertainment has grown to dominate the digital landscape over the last two decades. From humble beginnings on slow 56K modems to ubiquitous involvement with modern smartphones, there’s no stopping an industry now worth more than music and film combined. While the place of gaming is established, there are still questions regarding the direction in which the ecosystem will go. Overwhelmingly, the area showing the most signs of promise is mobile gaming.
First illustrated as a success by Nintendo’s Game Boy in the 1980s and 90s, mobile gaming today has come a long way. Now available to everyone, mobile gaming is the most profitable arm of the most profitable form of entertainment, so it marks a natural point of exploration. The increased power of modern handheld systems also facilitates play with vanishing compromises, where some titles can even run as well on mobiles as on any other system. So, how did we get here, and where is interactive entertainment heading?
A Target to Aim For
In the modern age, perhaps the most illustrative example of mobile gaming without compromise comes from online casinos. For an illustration of this idea, consider the free online casino games in NZ for players to engage with. These titles like baccarat, roulette, and poker look as good and play just as well on both mobile and desktop systems. The same applies to their host websites like Rizk Casino and Wazamba, and all the functionalities like free spins and deposit matches. This rare example demonstrates a place where nothing is missed going between platforms, and it’s not an easy feat to accomplish.
Switching Up a Classic
The console that best shows the importance the gaming industry has placed on mobile comes from the company which did the most to prove the effectiveness of early handheld play. This is, of course, the Nintendo Switch. Nintendo’s Switch took a different route to Sony’s PlayStation and Microsoft’s Xbox Series by decreasing system performance. Instead, the Switch focuses on offering both docked and portable play.
With processing power still strong enough to deliver great-looking games like Breath of the Wild and Mario Odyssey, the Switch’s offerings made it stand out as currently the third best-selling console of all time. It’s this success that encouraged competitors in the PC space, like Valve with the Steam Deck, to try to emulate similar success with gaming’s PC library. Again, PC-based handhelds aren’t as powerful as the static competition, but with technology coming so far, they’re still capable systems.
Possibilities in a Streaming Future
One of the most promising technologies in mobile gaming is game streaming. This is where games are hosted offsite and then streamed to the player in what is essentially a more interactive Netflix. By offering games in this manner, mobile platforms can overcome any limitations in processing power, so they can play at maximum settings on even limited systems.
The one big caveat to this type of play is that it requires very low latency to feel good in fast-paced titles. Because sending data over the internet always implies some level of delay, low latency can be difficult to accomplish unless servers are near, and high-speed wireless internet is present. Updates along these lines are achievable and inevitable, which is why many in the gaming industry are betting on streaming’s eventual success.
At this point, major streaming efforts like Google’s Stadia have often overpromised and underdelivered, with Stadia eventually falling to the Google graveyard. Others, like Sony, are still holding out hope, even going so far as to offer game streaming in an upcoming smart car partnership with Honda.
Done right, gaming on the go gives players the best of both worlds. It provides a way to do what we love anywhere, and this combination is only growing more pronounced. Whether offering a new take on classics with the Switch and Steam Deck or taking the game streaming route for a more futuristic approach, the market has proved interested in experimentation.
As for traditional forms of interactive entertainment, these will similarly continue to grow. Even usurped from a position as the status quo, older methods of gaming in a fixed location will still play a part in the future, just as a relatively smaller part of the bigger picture. In other words, the future of interactive entertainment is looking bigger and better for everyone, no matter how you choose to engage.