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Considering the recently aroused “mummy gamers”, the Goldsmiths university research revealed that playing video games and using smartphones are helping parents and children to bond.

The survey engaged more than 3,000 parents and grandparents, 22% of which dads said that playing smartphone games has helped their children develop a better understanding of technology. Four in five parents described playing video games with their children as “quality time”, while 32 per cent of parents play video games with their kids every day.

Moreover, the research results show that the growth casual games has meant that children as young as two are becoming proficient in the use of smartphones and other tablet devices – 27% of parents said that their children borrowed their smartphone or tablet device every day to play casual games. However, many grandparents revealed that they play video games with their tech-savvy grandchildren, in a bid to get closer to them.

These findings actually highlight the social benefits of playing video games, especially in the era of social networking, where games appear to play a vital role in enhancing social relationships. Considering the fact that both parents and grandparents are using games to connect with their children and grandchildren, mobile games can improve social skills and make a key contribution to both effective parenting and child development, and be quite a lucrative business perspective as well!

Gamers are no longer consisting only from young men in dark rooms – forget about this stereotype! The age of "mummy gamers" has taken start, who play games on her mobile while waiting to pick the kids up from school or standing in the supermarket queue.

One of the largest Australian mobile gaming companies, behind the global hit smartphone games downloaded more than 500 million times; claims that about half of its players are female and that figure is growing each month.

An equal split between the sexes when it comes to gaming supports the Australian Interactive Games and Entertainment Association 2012 report that found 47 per cent of gamers were women. Moreover, it also reflects research released in March by US analyst group Frank N. Magid Associates that showed that 45 per cent of women said smartphones were their favorite platform for playing games.

The “mummy gamers” are noticed by the recently released Flurry Analytics study of 25,000 people, which found gaming is the most popular app category among mothers, something people fitted in with their lifestyle.
Chief marketing officer of Halfbrick, Phil Larsen comments:

"Not everyone has a lot of time for games. Mums don't have a lot of time. Now that these devices and these platforms are able to accommodate that, that's exploded and everyone has seen that games are such a huge industry now. It's not a case that games are offline and a segregated activity, now they're integrated with what's going on and that's really exciting I think. That's how people can find the time and justify it to themselves.”

Social analyst Mark McCrindle said the following concerning the new gamer’s category: 

"They're getting a referral that so-and-so is playing, through the social connections that they have, technologically they're hearing about these games. It is that idle moment thing. Mums do a lot of waiting for the kids, whether it be the tutoring or the soccer training of the school pick up, that's when they grab their devices and check in to see where they're going, what level they're up to and tap away. They're great multitaskers. They're able to fill their moments and technology has been a real enabler in that sense."

So forget about the characteristics of “an average gamer”, usually regarded as a young man in his mid-30s and stop discriminating – mums are quite often the game winners too! 

The exploded popularity of smartphones, technology improvements, size and weight reductions and fast wireless network data speeds have hit the portable gaming devices quite hard. Despite the fact that there is no doubt the gaming consoles will likely always be ahead of smartphones due to difference in physical size, battery life, and memory limitations, it’s quite different when it comes to portable gaming devices such as the Nintendo DS and PlayStation Vita which share many of the same constraints as smartphones.

During the infancy of mobile phones, it was considered impossible to play Air Hockey on your mobile device, but with today’s smartphones equipped with dual and quad-core processors, games have become deeper, more diverse and thus more complex. On the other hand, the portable gaming consoles have several strong points, with the big titles to be their strongest competitive advantage. Relying more on traditional model of game purchasing and distribution, consoles are steadily starting to decrease in popularity with the mobile games being on the cheap and easy-to-access side.

The researches have claimed that the smartphones are equal to gaming consoles in terms of consumption and moreover, the predictions suggest the handled gaming to be faded by 2014. So it can’t be denied that smartphones have evolved into devices that are overtaking the field that was once the exclusive territory of handheld game machines. Despite the fact that full-blown game consoles provide top performance, excellent graphics, and a deep entertainment experience for gamers who demand the best, the smart mobile devices are much more cost effective, with rich and cheap content. With handheld gaming being great, some game manufacturers still haven’t adopted the successful game business model that mobile gaming companies use, so they’re not accustomed to offer games that are inexpensive and entertaining at the same time.

As a conclusion, it still can be argued that handheld game machines are superior in graphics and performance when compared to mobile phone games, but once we look at the issue more globally, considering the overall fun factor, value, and huge game selection of titles, mobile games and smartphones are a duet that is impossible to beat!

Image credit: Popsci
The cell phone that functions as your tablet, laptop, gaming system and television no longer seems to be stunningly innovative.  Smartphones have turned mobile gaming industry on its head and made it rather difficult for companies to sell their gaming consoles. In just a very short span, gaming from smartphones and tablets has rapidly improved and radically changed. What will be the next step?

With game console producers doing their best to offer innovative systems, the next-next generation of console is already gaining momentum – this is a smartphone, which is expected to be powerful enough to replace conventional game systems completely, in less than a decade, researchers claim.

In 1979 Milton Bradley Company introduced the Microvision cartridge-based system, and that’s when the mobile gaming took start. Followed by many portable systems by Nintendo, Sega and Sony, there was no substantial following among the general public, regardless the great success among gamers.

Since the App Store launch in 2008, a simple and accessible distribution platform for games has been no surprise, with 64% of smartphone owners having downloaded games, and 37 % of them playing on a daily basis. According to the current data, Windows Phone, Android and iOS already claim more than 58 % of the portable-gaming market, and console game sales are on the decline. However, as smartphones gain dominance, the need to better ways of accessing console-level games increases. Smartphone games are still a quite far from the richly textured and fast-moving console experiences that hard-core gamers love.

However, mobile processor power increases sharply with every year and one day soon, smartphones will be able to rival the specs of the current best laptop. Considering the sharp increase in mobile power, further attrition in the gaming ranks is expected to be provoked. However users will need better ways to access console-level games for smartphones to gain absolute dominance. With this said, there are two options – either flash memory will improve to the point that a phone can store many console games, or cloud-based delivery services will license a broader range of titles. 

In less than a decade, phone will become a dual-purpose game hub - app-based games will remain to be the main source the gamers will rely on. However, home gamers will still have a great advantage - a dramatically different experience in terms of the display size. However, home gaming can still be performed via wirelessly connecting the smartphone with the TV and controllers, rather than firing up an Xbox or PlayStation. So all these soon or later will lead to free shelf space as discs will become obsolete, while the gamers will finally accomplish their dream to carry a self-contained game system with them wherever they go!

Image credit: ConnectQuest
Industry-leading app analytics believe that handheld video games market is being killed off by the smartphone sector. With the iOS and Android games software market accounting for 19% of the entire $2.7bn handheld and mobile games market in the US in 2009, it has claimed a 58% market share by now, with the value of more than $3.3bn!

This seems to be the biggest content revolution that the technology world has ever seen, demonstrating that indies are do capable to change an extremely well- established market too. With struggling handheld gaming devices and consoles, smartphones are gradually taking the lead due to the following three reasons:

In difference with handled consoles, a smartphone user nearly always has their phone to hand. Being small and convenient, smartphone is always in their pocket or unobtrusively sitting in their handbag. This means that there is a much higher probability of a smartphone user to play, than there is for no-smartphone owner. So while the larger dedicated gaming device is always a choice, smartphone gaming is a default.

Being arguably the most user friendly devices on the market, smartphones are so intuitive to use that if you give one to a child, they can use it as if by instinct. So with such a strong advantage over other gaming devices, smartphone remains to be number one gaming device according to its accessibility.

And most importantly, despite being fast while reading your e-mails or browsing the App Store, the content present in smartphones is either free or comparatively very cheap, in difference with video games. Moreover, the diversity of alternatives gives everyone a choice to get the game for each and every taste. If we consider the wide price range for smartphones itself, it gets clearer why the clever mobile devices are to blame in gaming content revolution!

With the rise in smartphone adoption drive, the social play and mobile gaming increase significantly. The leader companies in measuring the digital world have released an overview of mobile gaming behavior across the five leading European markets including France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom and revealed that that 42 percent of smartphone users in EU5 reported playing a game on their device. This is a 55% increase over the past year and as mobile games evolve from simple pre-loaded games to highly challenging and visually appealing games, their entertainment value increases substantially.

Europe product manager for Mobile at comScore, internet technology company, Hesham Al-Jehani comments:

“The rise in mobile gaming is being propelled by the rapid adoption of smartphones and the vast ecosystems of game apps they provide. But another important – and perhaps less often reported – driver of mobile gaming is that many can be played without accessing the internet on people’s phones. This means that gaming is an easy way to fill idle time on the underground or in other locations where internet access is spotty.”

The research has also revealed that nearly half of top EU 5 country smartphone users are gamers, with the UK to be the largest market for mobile gaming with 14.2 million smartphone users (52 percent of the smartphone audience) playing games on their devices during the month. Moreover, British users proved to be first in terms of gaming penetration across daily and weekly gaming usage as well.

With this said, the majority of EU5 smartphone gamers logged into a social game on their devices (up 42 percent in the past six months), representing 13.2 percent of smartphone gamers overall. Among the 1 million EU5 smartphone gamers, Italian smartphone gaming audience ranked first in terms of the penetration at 15%, followed by UK and France. 

On top of that, a new report from Juniper Research finds that soaring usage of social gaming - driven largely by the sharp rise in smartphone adoption - will push the global market for virtual goods bought from mobile social media services from $3 billion this year to $4.6 billion by 2016.  According to the survey, sales of virtual goods via mobile social media services are flourishing not only in Europe, but in Japan and China as well; as social gaming familiarizes consumers with virtual goods, this trend will quickly become global!

Since the smartphone creation, the game developers have emerged offering thousands of games for users to download for free and play. While majority of the games offered are free of charge, there are of course apps that people have to pay for. However, even those apps that are considered to be expensive cost only a few dollars.

Nevertheless, the recent analysis suggests that these games on average make at least few thousand dollars. As long as the smartphone industry matures, the developers found a way to make money off "free" games via advertising, while players find it always better to play a game with light ads, rather than to pay for an ad-free version. Moreover, the recent study found out that 110 million Americans prefer free-to-play than pay-to-play, based on the response of 77 % of gamers who are spending more time with free-to-play.

Another reason for smartphone gaming popularity is its convenience and accessibility – on one’s way to office, school or college, in a boring session or while waiting for your turn in a long line. These two reasons in combination cause the rapid mobile adoption, so more and more gamers in the US view the smartphone as their preferred platform of choice. So smartphones are almost equal to consoles as preferred gaming platform. These trends are strengthened by the increase of affordable smartphone availability, with top manufacturers releasing low-budget phones for savvy customers.

The estimated uprise in smartphones suggests that one in two Americans will have one by the end of 2014, so mobile gaming on a smartphone will jump over gaming on a console or computer quite soon! So the smartphones are considered to be the full substitutes of other gaming devices in less than two years, with consoles joining the list of the devices we used to know, including the cassette tapes, pagers and many more.

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