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Why Are We Seeing a Trend of Reality TV-Inspired Mobile Games?

Gaming has always been ripe for exploration when it comes to other forms of media. From the amazing Riddick games from Starbreeze to the critically and commercially panned Superman 64 from now-defunct studio Titus Interactive, adaptions here have run the gambit of both time and quality.

In the modern age, however, we are noticing a definite trend of reality television shows increasingly being adapted into mobile games. So why is this happening, and is this a trend we expect to see continued in the future?

Remember when we used to play snake on m” (CC BY 2.0) by kamirao

To really understand why the mobile market has become such a target, we need to look at just how large this market has become. Far from the classic and primitive games like the early Snake, modern smartphones are effectively small computers, far more powerful than the desktops which many of us grew up with. While this has opened up a world of opportunities when it comes to tools and navigation, that which we are most interested in is the capacity which now available for the world of gaming.

Simply put – these mobiles are now powerful enough to bring a huge range of games directly into the devices which the majority of us use every single day. This means an enormous potential market and one which developers would be foolish to pass on.

American Idol Experience 9258” (CC BY 2.0) by I Should Be Folding Laundry

The other part of this equation relates to how well these mobile phones have integrated with both reality shows and their target audience as a whole. Shows like ABC’s American Idol have long utilized text voting as a core component of their competition, giving fans another way to engage their shows in a manner not traditionally possible.

Also important is that the target audiences for these shows tend to be people on the younger side of the spectrum. As mobile adoption rates follow a similar skewing towards the young, as listed here by Pew Internet, the combination of these factors makes for a prime opportunity for investigation.

So far this has been best illustrated by the like of the Kim Kardashian: Hollywood app, or the recently released and very popular Love Island game, but the reach goes much deeper than strictly traditional apps. Other forms of related mobile entertainment like Buzz Bingo have also gotten on board with projects such as their Celebrity Big Brother slot, which effectively combine smartphone gaming with transferrable efforts similarly available on PC and tablet devices.

Celebrity Big Brother Winter 2014” (Public Domain) by BigBrotherJunkie89

So what does this mean for the future of reality TV based mobile gaming? In our opinion, it will inevitably mean a much greater level of engagement, though the individual quality of these games will be difficult to predict. Just as traditional gaming has a big issue when it comes to shovelware, so too will mobile reality TV-based gaming once the word of potential earnings starts to spread.

While this does mean we’ll inevitably have some uninspired creations to deal with in the future, it also leaves the potential for greater show integration than ever before. Imagination is there key here, and with greater market competition comes the need to push the envelope in new and exciting ways. We still remember the thrill of our vote winning in early Idol seasons, so we can’t wait to see what other shapes this could take next.


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