Videogame Trends: Cross-platform Mania
For some time now we have been living in the digital age. It’s not 1972 anymore, and you haven’t just excitedly plugged in your new Magnavox Odyssey (if you were lucky enough, or old enough, to get one). Kids today aren’t phased by technology – they’re the swipe generation. They’re brought up playing on their phones, tablets, laptops and games consoles. And the gaming industry is catching up with them and producing more cross-platform games than ever before.
The notion of cross-platform gaming is that as we spend more time looking at a variety of screens, game producers want to be on them all. Our phones are more powerful and faster than ever, and our TVs are getting smarter, so there’s no reason that we can’t play our favourite games across all of them.
In America alone there are 155 million people regularly playing video games. 42% of them play for at least three hours per week and four out of five households contain a device used to play video games, all according to ESA’s 2015 report. And if you look at how that gameplay is broken down you can see why the game producers are so eager to jump on cross-platform play: The top device most frequented by gamers is the PC at 62%, followed by a dedicated game console at 56%, closely followed by a smart phone at 35%, then wireless devices at 31% and lastly a dedicated handheld system at 21%. All this proves that gameplay is only going to increase across all devices in the coming years.
So it’s clear that cross-platform games are the way forward, but who’s leading the pack?
Microsoft’s newest operating system, Windows 10, allows the user to stream the same game across multiple devices in one network. Play a game at home on your pc or Xbox, play the same game while you’re out and about on your mobile or tablet, continuing where you left off. This clearly is next-level gaming and will make using a separate operating system for each platform seem very out of date in the near future.
On top of your immediate game playing on whatever device you choose, there’s the added benefit that your cooperative or a turn-based games are going to have more players at the table.
The world of online casinos is a large and growing market, and PokerStars are the largest online offering in the world. They alone have over 16,0000 players regularly hitting the slots and tables of their online casino. The company realized the potential of their market early on and released the PokerStars mobile app to complement their PC offering. These last few months, they’ve taken their cross-platform strategy one step further with apps for apple TV and Amazon Fire TV.
The potential of this move benefits both the brand and its customers: they hit their customers on multiple platforms and their customers get to enjoy their chosen casino game wherever they are.
Nintendo, one of the forefathers of gaming, was a little slow getting to the cross-platform table. A bit like giving your Nan an iPad for the first time – it takes some getting used to. However, finally, even Nintendo are realising the potential of cross-platform games with their recent announcement that Pokémon is going mobile.
The new game will be called Pokémon Go and is being developed for Android and iOS smartphones. What’s exciting about the new Pokémon Go game is that the makers have developed the game for mobile play, rather than forcing a game onto mobile that doesn’t quite belong there.
Players will have to track down and capture Pokémon in real-world locations, in true augmented reality fashion. Pokémon will appear on streets, in parks and other locations, all around the world. The new game will work with a Bluetooth-powered device called Pokémon Go Plus. Players can wear it on their clothing or wrist – it looks like a cross between a Pokéball and a Google maps marker pin. The Pokémon Go Plus will vibrate in real life whenever something important happens in the game or when there’s a Pokémon to catch nearby. We actually predicted a move like this for Pokémon back in 2014, and we’re glad it’s finally here.
One of the largest video categories on YouTube is gaming, and YouTube is certainly cleverly capitalizing on this. Last year, YouTube tried to buy Twitch, the world’s leading video platform and community for gamers. Twitch currently has more than 45 million users who gather every month to broadcast, watch and chat about gaming. Unfortunately for the internet giant, Twitch owners weren’t selling – not to YouTube anyway, and decided to partner up with Amazon instead. Not ones to be held down by a setback, YouTube have just announced the launch of their own dedicated gaming website to secure their names in the video streaming business.
As well as a web service, YouTube gaming will also go cross-platform with Android and iOS apps – watch out Twitch. But this is just another example of the growing popularity of games and the advantage of playing to the active, and certainly powerful, gaming market.
This is an exciting time for gamers. It’s one where we’ll have more choice to play the games where we want, how we want and with who we want. We won’t be restricted to sit around Dave’s PlayStation sharing the one remote, passing it whenever we lose your life. In years to come, the idea of a game being restricted to one platform will be a thing of the past.
Move over single-platform games, the cross-platform experience is here and it’s certainly going to take you down.