Quick Guns – How smartphones are becoming the champions of new gaming – Alap Bharadwaj

If I was playing a video game fifteen years ago, I would have not expected the gaming industry to have overtaken the movie business. In fact as of today it has become the biggest generator of revenue across the entertainment sector. In April, the Guinness World Records announced that the game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II had broken the world record for the best launch day in terms of dollar revenues in the history of the entertainment industry. The US $ 50 billion gaming industry is growing, highly profitable and has been historically dominated by two major platforms – gaming consoles (that are solely video game focused pieces of hardware) and the more general all purpose personal computer. Just to give you some market information, today along with the PC the three console OEM’s – Microsoft (makers of the Xbox), Sony (makers of the PlayStation & Playstation Portable) and Nintendo (makers of the Wii and Nintendo DS) dominate the industry with a combined total of 95 percent (Console + Portable) of the market. While this stat might look like plain vanilla at the outset, the interesting point to note is that just a year ago gaming’s bellwethers held 99 percent of the market. Boasting a growth of 400 percent, but there’s a new kid in town and its name is – the “Smartphone”.

There are several reasons for the smartphone’s ascent up the ladder of choice as far as the gaming population is concerned. It is the ease of use and universal reach that makes Smartphones an obvious answer to the next generation’s gaming platform. I feel there are other reasons that are more significant pointers to the growth of this space. Smartphone gaming largely focuses on Social games. These games appeal to many non gamers as they are simple and intuitive and don’t alienate newbies like their much more complex console counterparts. Looking forward I feel this will result in a dramatic shift in the demographic of gamers in the years to come. Further the hardware strength of today’s iOS and Android Smartphones also plays a big role in the increased popularity of these devices as gaming platforms. Today’s top 2 smartphones in terms of processor power – the iPhone 4 and the Samsung Galaxy S boast the following specs:

iPhone4 Samsung Galaxy S

CPU

ARM Cortex A-8 (2.0 DMIPS/

MHz in speed from 600

MHz to greater than 1 GHz)

Samsung Hummingbird

S5PC110, 1 Ghz

GPU

PowerVR SGX 535

PowerVR SGX 540

Memory

512 MB eDRAM

512MB RAM

These are incredibly powerful pocket sized devices capable of running extremely graphic intensive applications. This was demonstrated recently by id software running its new game called ‘Rage’ on the iPhone at a steady 60 frames per second, faster than the Xbox or Playstation 2 (pre cursors to the current Xbox 360 and Playstation 3). Ultimately, the convergence taking place coupled with the unique opportunity to access over tens of thousands of games on various App stores will inevitably push Smartphones into the public eye as the most cost effective and accessible platform to play games on. I personally reckon Smartphones will eventually overtake Consoles in terms of market share, giving the current incumbents of gaming leadership more than a few things to worry about.

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About Deepak
Venture Capital and M&A advisor, Entrepreneur, Startup enthusiast..

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