Your hero enters the dungeon, sword drawn. Down the corridor, you spot a dragon with smoke billowing out its nostrils pacing back and forth, preparing to strike. You inch closer, ready to duel — and the game shuts down. You’re back at the corner bus stop staring at your phone screen. You’ve lost cellular coverage and with it all your progress. All the time, effort and possibly even money that you’ve invested into slaying that dragon has been for naught.
These sudden shutdowns happen with surprising frequency, considering how large the mobile gaming industry has become. According to 2016 research from Newzoo, mobile gamers worldwide will fork out cash to the tune of $36.9 billion this year, an increase of $6.2 billion from 2015. By 2019, revenue is estimated to hit a whopping $52.5 billion.
Why is mobile gaming increasing in popularity? Much of the explanation can be found in how connectivity options are changing.
Until just a few years ago, 3G was the reigning champion of connectivity. While an improvement over 2G, the service still lacked the coverage, speed and bandwidth to keep up with the needs of serious mobile gamers. Those looking to slay dragons could only do so in their own homes or in the islands of coverage created by WiFi hotspots.
Indeed, this may have led to the stereotype of gamers spending all their time in their basements.
With the development and deployment of 4G LTE coverage, gamers have been empowered to optimize their gaming experience. Games have become more complex, moving from the realm of cheesy graphics and single-player scenarios to high-definition graphics and global networks. Developers, it seems, were just waiting for a robust connectivity solution to make it all possible.
Thanks to the transmission speed of 4G LTE, and its much lower latency than 3G, gamers have been able to put the lag time associated with previous years behind them so that play remains fluid, providing a significant real-time gaming advantage. The coverage, range and failover attributes of LTE also enable gamers to step out of their basements and take their games with them wherever they go.
Because LTE relies upon cloud-based services, gamers can also enjoy the added assurance that their games will save and be restored every time they log on. Updates and security features will also automatically be applied.
This is by no means the pinnacle of mobile gaming. The increasingly sophisticated and powerful level of connectivity is pushing the boundaries even further. Currently, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technology is being tested by games developers to create an even more lifelike and engaging gaming experience. These new gadgets are coming to fruition thanks to the increased availability of the networks required to make them function.