The mobile gaming industry is continuing to take the world by storm, which is unsurprising seeing as the global revenue from smartphones is $4.21.8 billion and 62% of owners install games within a week of buying their new smartphone. Software companies have recognised this flourishing sector, and 44% of game developers created an offering for the mobile platform in 2016. When compared to the 5% that made games for the Wii U, that is a significant difference. Could the versatile Nintendo Switch storm in and upset this new status quo?
Nintendo were one of the leading game companies in the early 90s, and produced such timeless classics as Super Mario Bros and The Legend of Zelda. New installments of these legendary franchises will be released with the Switch, to instantly attract older customers on a nostalgia basis. With statistics from Big Fish showing that people aged 35-44 are the biggest mobile gaming spenders, enticing these users by allowing them to reminisce about their childhood games will grasp an important sector of the market.
Another aspect that Nintendo has addressed is the growing amount of gamers that like to play on the move. Long gone are the days of long waiting times while games load. Nowadays, there is very much a "play now" culture among gamers, regardless of their genre of choice, from casino gaming to action and tower defense-type titles.
Although the pickup-and-play style of mobile games from arcade slots like Gonzo's Quest at online casinos to quick-fire puzzle game apps like Gardenscapes is certainly one aspect of this trend, there are other implications too: quick and efficient payments, for instance, are imperative to the contemporary gamer, with brands providing different variations to satisfy players' needs. Some opt for variety and different options, while others focus on usability - for instance, BitCasino offers its gaming services exclusively in Bitcoins, in an effort to provide secure transactions that are not dependent on fiat currency fluctuations.
The portability aspect of the Switch, where it can be unplugged and used as a tablet is an innovation that could change the whole console gaming market. But will it feature any free-to-play titles with in-game purchases, in the style of mobile gaming successes of the last few years?
This ability to "switch" the console from its traditional place under the TV to take on journeys is possibly the main reason why Nintendo's latest offering may have a chance of overtaking smartphones and curbing the rising mobile trend. But there is a lot riding on what software will be available for the product. When it was officially unveiled in October 2016, the company didn't provide a list of games and instead said they "want people to touch the device in January and experience the games for themselves."
One of the primary reasons for the booming success of the smartphone gaming market is its conjunction with the enormous online casino sector. Without this partnership, it is fair to say that mobile gaming wouldn't have such a strong foothold on the market. At the January press event, Nintendo confirmed that there were at least 50 third party developers creating software for the console, which suggests they may be willing to enter agreements with app developers and online casino operators. If they don't look to secure this sector, it is doubtful that the Switch will be able to topple smartphones.
The Switch is set to be released worldwide in early March, and there is no doubt that the gaming world is eagerly awaiting this revolutionary piece of kit. Whether it can challenge the current leading gaming platforms remains to be seen.
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