What Might the Future of Handheld Look Like?

Updated on June 29, 2023
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Mobile gaming has been one of the most impressive areas of growth for the games industry over the past few years. It may have stumbled slightly during 2022, after a long period of year-on-year growth, but it is now back on track.

The sector was worth $118.34 billion last year, but its value has already grown to $138.63 billion, and 2023 is only halfway through. That represents a 17.1% rate of compound growth at a time when economies around the world are struggling.

This mobile boom has seen customers flock to certain game genres, including casino ones like poker games and puzzle games. It has also led to the development of gaming tournaments and other events specifically for mobile players.

So what could the future hold for this burgeoning part of the industry? Let’s take a look.

Probable Future Mobile Gaming Trends

It is impossible to say for certain what will happen in the future, but there are clear signs on the horizon of how mobile gaming might develop.

Greater Gaming Power

One of the reasons why many console gamers still dismiss mobile gaming is down to the fact that the devices themselves do not offer quite as much processing power. That is changing fast though, as mobile companies prioritize gaming to an ever-greater degree.

Indeed, the latest Android and iOS models have become the first to surpass consoles such as the PS4 in processing power, so it is already happening. More mobiles that are designed primarily for gaming use and that have ultra-powerful processors are on the way.

Full 5G Implementation

One thing that will help with that is the full implementation of 5G technology. This was predicted to revolutionize gaming a few years ago, but that has not happened yet.

It is almost certainly just a delay though, because 5G is on the way. The rollout of it is taking more time than many first expected and there are challenges like limited coverage and range, plus the fact that mobile tech is still a little behind it.

That means many people cannot get the benefits of 5G and those that can often find that it drains the battery on their mobiles during gaming. That is something that smartphone developers are working on resolving though.

It will not take long for them to do so, and then the 5G revolution will take place. That will guarantee almost no latency when gaming, which will mean that exciting new developments like Virtual and Augmented Reality can be fully integrated into mobile games.

VR and AR

Free Pokemon Go Application on Smartphone Screen Stock Photo

That brings us nicely to those two technologies. Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) games are on the market now, but mainly for consoles. The success of an AR game like ‘Pokémon: Go’ shows the potential that they offer for creating exciting new gaming experiences.

At the moment they are still seen as areas for hardcore gamers though and that is down to the fact that there are few real VR or AR mobile games. The tech behind them requires low levels of latency so its introduction to the mobile world is dependent on getting 5G fully up and running.

More Demographic Diversity

Not all mobile gaming trends are about technology. Another development that is already emerging is greater demographic diversity.

Figures show that close to half of all US gamers are women and they prefer mobile to console gaming. That is likely to affect areas like game design, as developers target that growing female customer base.

Women are reported to play partly to try to win the games but also as a way of socializing, so future mobile game designs and interfaces may reflect that. We could even begin to see more women starting to create mobile games and the benefits to users will be seen in more inclusive and varied games.

Cloud Mobile Gaming

This has already started, as most of the top developers are now making use of cloud gaming storage. However, it is something that will become more widespread over the next few years.

What has held developers back from a wholehearted embrace of the cloud is concern about latency levels for players with slower internet connections. Again, that is a problem that 5G is designed to solve.

When 5G allows for full cloud mobile gaming, it will bring major benefits for dedicated gamers. Whereas at the moment, they mostly have to download and keep their favorite games on the devices, in the future those can be stored in the cloud.

That will free up smartphone storage space for other things and cut back on apps.

These are five ways in which mobile gaming will change in the future. The prospects are so bright that it could seriously rival console gaming.

Article by:
Kenny Trinh
While he’s not editing articles on the latest tech trends, he likes to discuss business and entrepreneur. His writing has been featured in national publications such as Forbes, RD, Yahoo Finance, HackerNoon among others.

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