The Rise of Mobile Gaming at E3 2014

With the dust settled after this year’s E3 event, we can see past the initial surprises and announcements and see one of the most interesting stories of the year is the prominence of mobile gaming. Despite a small presence at the event, some important developments came to light.

There were several mobile games announced at E3, including two titles based on previous console titles, Just Dance Now and FF7 G Bike. Just Dance Now literally makes your smartphone the controller in the game. Download the app, press the button and you can join a game with people all over the world. As far as we’ve seen, there doesn’t seem to be any limits on how large a ‘room’ can be. It does seem to be the natural evolution of the Wiimote controller, and frees up players to join in wherever they are, without being shackled to the TV by their Wii.

FF7 G Bike was the other big game announced. This FF7 title brings the titular biking mini game to your phone, with new features designed for touch screen gaming. As early demos show, it works almost like other free running games for mobile, with added FF elements such as magic and limit breaks. New levels and tracks have also been announced. While some sites have been cautiously optimistic about the announcement, others have openly derided Square Enix for toying with the affections of fans who so badly want an FF7 remake.

Meanwhile, One2Touch announced the world’s first NFC mobile gaming controller. Designed to fit around any NFC (Near Field Technology) enabled device, it promises to enhance the gaming experience for anyone who’s serious about gaming on the move. Because it’s NFC enabled, One2Touch’s press release promises that it will use up almost no battery power, and will instantly ‘pair’ with your phone, creating a seamless gaming experience. Whether this actually happens remains to be seen, but if successful could pave the way for new games designed for the controller rather than the touchscreen.

There have been other games announced that have been taking notes from mobile gaming, specifically the ‘free to play’ model. PC title Battlecry is one prominent example. The Triple A title from Bethesda offers a free to play melee fighting game, and has promised to only offer customisation options for characters as payable extras. There has been concern whether the dreaded ‘pay to win’ effect has made it’s way into PC gaming, but we won’t see whether it has but not until 2015, when the game is released.

The most interesting thing about these announcements is that the vast majority of them involve Triple A games and developers getting involved in the world of mobile gaming. This E3 could mark a turn in the fortunes of mobile gaming as an industry. Developers are now starting to sit up and take notice of how popular the medium has become, and now of course want to become a part of it.

Posted in Blog & News.