The State of Mobile Gaming in 2021
While mobile gaming tech has come a long way over the decades, there is no question that the last few years have been the most exciting. Looking forward to 2021, we want to examine how the current market could change in both hardware and software. From growing trends to new developments, here’s what’s coming next.
Growth Versus Evolution
Before looking into 2021, it’s important to first give context. At this point in mobile gaming technology, we’ve effectively reached a point of diminishing returns. The first smartphones were revelations, and a few new technologies have opened dozens of mobile doors since then, but we undeniably live in a more settled time now. This doesn’t mean we have nothing to look forward to, however. It’s more that an already high ceiling of potential is still being raised and normalized, meaning whatever comes next could far outstrip anything that came before.
The only issue with evolution is that it raises concerns about game performance and playability across all devices. For example, consider the popular related form of interactive entertainment in online casino games, where this issue doesn’t exist. Websites like Casino Lab get by offering an enormous range of slots and table games to mobile players. Essentially developed for users across the mobile spectrum, none of these games have performance concerns on all but the oldest systems. More modern mobile video games are ignoring this idea, with device disparity bringing mobiles into a market analogous to the PC gaming space. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the most significant changes.
One of the biggest downsides of gaming mobiles is that when running at 100%, batteries tend not to last. New 100-watt 4000mAh batteries as shown at Android Authority aim to address this. Capable of achieving a full charge in a mere 17 minutes, this tech could be a literal game-changer.
Greater 5G Adoption
When you ask why most competitive mobile gamers play at home, the answer is usually tied to their internet speed. With 5G, players finally have the opportunities to reliably game at a high level outside of their home network. 2020 might have been the start of 5G’s major roll-out, but 2021 will bring this to an entirely new level.
Folding Screen Popularity
Despite early fears, folding phones turned out to be robust and reliable. While they might suffer in some tasks, as Pocket Gamer shows, gaming is an area where they excel. Expect this to be just as true as we enter the second-gen of folding devices which are only getting better and more powerful, making them an increasingly viable gaming choice.
Game Streaming Success
Game streaming tech isn’t new, though it has long suffered problems with mobile integration. With updates from Google’s Stadia and Microsoft’s Project xCloud, combined with growing 5G adoption, 2021 could be the year it really takes over. The tech might not be right for every game, but for some, it could open up an entirely new world of high-def, low-cost gaming.
More Marketplace Systems?
The final aspect we think is worth considering is the possible arrival of more app stores. Inspired by the practical duopoly that Google and Apple have over the mobile gaming marketplace, and recent issues with publisher Epic as explained at CNBC, we might soon see movement. Whether or not it’s legally possible remains to be seen, but there is little doubt that major game developers will want a more fiscally open marketplace option in 2021.
Of course, the ultimate test of predictions is time. While there is precedent for the above concepts, there is always the possibility of some unknown wrench being thrown into the works. The only safe bet so far is that 2021 will bring mobile gaming to new heights, we just don’t know in which direction these heights will lean.