Are phones the new gaming console?

Smartphones have transformed from PDA devices used by business executives to a multimedia device primarily used for entertainment. Smartphones such as Blackberry and Windows Mobile provided E-mail service with sync capabilities to enterprise servers. It allowed executives to stay connected to their work network. Today, smartphones have almost nothing to do with E-mail, enterprise or even compatibility with enterprise systems. A smartphone is criticized if Angry Birds does not run on its platform or it does not have enough “apps”. Not many people review the different types of VPN protocols supported by the platform. The main consumers of smartphones have drifted from business to teenagers. The heart of the platforms has become social media. Facebook and Twitter have become core OS features which are built into the platforms. This has even drifted to Apple’s Mac OS X Mountain Lion and Microsoft’s Windows 8 systems, which have Facebook integration built-in across the system.

Gaming was primarily done on PCs, as in computers or desktops. It then moved towards consoles. Still, a big chunk of the gaming market is driven by consoles. But mobile is catching up. The advantage that mobile gaming has, is that its mobile. When you are at a doctor’s clinic waiting to be called, or waiting for someone to arrive at the coffee shop, or traveling. This advantage along with powerful and affordable hardware is driving mobile gaming. When app marketplaces were launched as a central place to find software, they included games. Eventually, the gaming category boomed and now the marketplaces have separate sections for “Apps” and “Games”. The games section then further breaks down into different types of games.

I believe that mobile gaming was surging as it was mobile. This included casual games like crosswords, sudoku and other puzzles that are usually played in spare time. Rovio’s Angry Birds created a fusion between casual gaming and arcade style games. One of the reasons for it being popular is that anyone can play it. While racing games and shooting games are primarily for gamers, Angry Birds adds the casual audience. This gave it a massive target audience to begin with. Angry Birds highlights the gaming aspect of mobile phones. Now, we have other categories of games beginning to become popular. This includes racing, shooting, puzzle, online casino games and a plethora of other categories.

This leaves us with one question. Are smartphones going to be phones, or will they become an online social media and gaming device?