Digitalisation is not only having a major impact on everyday life in the world of work. More and more people are also focussing on mobility in their leisure time. The smartphone is always with us, serving as a communication centre, a way to keep busy, a camera and a centre of orientation.
The interest in mobility is particularly strong in the gaming industry. Smartphones have already become the most important end device, ahead of games consoles and desktop computers.
Flexibility is in demand – the desire for independence
Console gamers are not only dependent on an (expensive) end device, but also on a playback station (TV). Although there are compact handheld models, they are heavy, inflexible and have to be transported. The smartphone has the advantage that it is always with you anyway and therefore automatically takes on a pioneering role.
The trend was not only triggered by the increasing availability of games, but also by the iGaming industry. The regulation of the market has ensured that the demand for online casinos in Austria is constantly growing. At the same time, the number of people who download software onto their PC and only play on a stationary computer is decreasing.
Whether gaming or gambling – the increasing turnover gives a clear picture that mobility and flexibility are in demand. People no longer want to be tied to one place. In the age of remote work and free organisation of everyday life, the focus is also on change in the area of leisure. The high performance of today’s smartphones supports this endeavour; even demanding games can be played.
Technical progress is driving the smartphone industry forward
The development of mobile gaming goes back decades. Back then, it was the cult game “Snake” that was exclusively available on Nokia-branded devices. It brought gamers of all ages onto the scene and ensured that the mobile phone became more than just a phone.
Today’s smartphones are no longer comparable to those of the past, and the technological progress made in recent years is impressive. Professional gamers have the option of buying a device specially designed for gaming. These have a particularly high battery capacity, large displays and powerful CPUs.
For the casual gamer, however, such a purchase is superfluous, as even a mid-range mobile phone has enough capacity to play games of chance or play classic leisure games via an app.
Thanks to the constant availability of mobile networks, it is possible to link gaming activities with friends and even play together at a distance. The smartphone therefore fulfils all the requirements of today’s modern gamers.
Strong network expansion – freely available Wi-Fi and 5G
In many cases, mobile gaming requires a stable internet connection. For example, anyone playing in real time in a gaming centre must be connected to the internet. Austria scores points with the high availability of advanced 5G technology and therefore a high-performance network connection. Thanks to flat-rate tariffs, gambling remains cost-effective even when there is no public Wi-Fi network available.
From home, however, connecting via Wi-Fi is the better choice as it offers even more performance and speed. The expansion of public Wi-Fi networks is also progressing, and consumers can access the Internet free of charge in many cafés, on trams, buses and trains.
Caution is advised here when gambling, as freely available WLAN is an open door for hackers and cyber criminals. To maintain protection, it makes sense to use a VPN to ensure strong defences.
Publishers are thinking about gamers – more mobile games are being developed
The growing interest in mobile games has not gone unnoticed by publishers. Today, it is no longer just casual games that are available in the app store.
Even blockbuster titles such as Minecraft, PUBG, Stardew Valley or Call of Duty can be installed on smartphones. The capacity of the smartphone must be right for such games, otherwise the flow of the game is impaired. The high energy requirement is the biggest challenge; a fully charged power bank is the most reliable companion for Austria’s mobile gamers.
Compared to the selection of computer games, the number of available app games is impressively high. Indie developers today often no longer focus on PC and console gamers as a target group, but develop their ideas directly for the mobile generation.
One major advantage of this is that many games are available completely free of charge and are financed by adverts. Only those who wish (depending on the game) have the option of purchasing additional content and increasing the range of functions. Paid games are available at more favourable prices compared to offers for Playstation and the like, which makes it easier to enter the world of games.
Cost savings because the end device is already available
It is not only the free or low-cost games that reduce the budget required for mobile gaming. Console and computer gamers must first equip themselves with hardware before they can immerse themselves in the world of games.
For most people, a smartphone is an everyday item and does not need to be purchased separately. The only exception is a special gaming smartphone, which also has all the typical mobile phone functions under the bonnet. This significantly lowers the barriers to entry into gaming.
From the publisher’s point of view, this trend makes sense, as the target group is expanding significantly. It makes a difference to newcomers whether they have to spend hundreds of euros on a console before playing their first game or whether they can simply download the game they want.
Spending less means that gaming has become more interesting even for older generations. In Austria, the “stereotypical gamer” no longer exists. Mobile games are played by young people as well as senior citizens.
Conclusion: A turnaround in gaming – the mobile phone is becoming the most important centre for gamers
How the growth in mobile gaming will affect the world of consoles in the long term is still unclear. Passionate gamers will probably continue to appreciate the advantages of 4K transmission on the TV and the high performance level. However, it is also clear that flexibility and mobility are becoming increasingly important for people in Austria. As a gaming device, the mobile phone is not only aimed at experienced gamers, but also at casual gamers who want to make their first attempts at gaming.
A strong parallel use of PC, console and mobile device is conceivable. However, it also seems clear that the technology of handheld devices is outdated. Due to their size, weight and performance, portable consoles no longer seem up-to-date when smartphones fully cover the needs of gamers.