Mobile gaming is the future

Game developers have seen much potential in mobile gaming and have introduced popular franchises to meet the demand

By AZALEA AZUAR

GAMERS have different preferences when it comes to their platforms of choice. Some would prefer PCs including desktops and laptops, while others would rather use consoles and of course, the smartphones.

Serious gamers would invest in gaming PCs, which vary in prices depending on the models and specifications.

Laptops may be cheaper, but the gaming variety often has underpowered components since it is tough to keep it running cool when both its central processing unit (CPU) and graphics processing unit (GPU) are working very hard.

Even with an external GPU, its speed cannot compete with that of a desktop computer.

At the same time, investing in an external GPU would also require another cost issue which comes with bandwidth limitations.

Consoles, on the other hand, come in different types. Among them are the home video game consoles (PlayStation 4 and XBox 360), handheld video game consoles (Nintendo 3DS and Playstation Portable) and the Nintendo Switch, which is a hybrid console unit.

Consoles can be more convenient and cheaper compared to PCs. In fact, here are some games that are exclusive only to consoles.

With the emergence of smartphones and tablets, mobile gaming has also become popular.

Game developers have seen much potential in mobile gaming and have introduced popular franchises to meet the demand.

One such example is “Call of Duty: Mobile”, which was introduced during Electronic Entertainment Expo 2019.

Bethesda Softworks LLC’s “The Elder Scrolls: Blades” and Square Enix Holdings Co Ltd’s “Mobius Final Fantasy” have also gone mobile.

With the advent of 5G network, which increases the speed of mobile Internet and reduces congestion through delivering lower latency, mobile games are well-positioned to flourish even further.

The increased popularity of cloud gaming will also allow gamers to play on-the-go. It only requires them to have a quality Internet connection.

According to a report, the mobile gaming industry is expected to top US$100 billion (RM406 billion) by this year.

Although mobile gaming is a young industry, its ability to start playing for free and enabling in-app purchases, as well as allowing gamers to subscribe on Google Play and Apple Store have contributed to its success.

Still, while mobile games are deemed the future of gaming, it can-not truly replace PC and consoles.

Some gamers might not like playing on smaller screens and constant gaming might damage the device’s battery.

Most people carry mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets these days, but these gadgets do not have good storage space, support for controller-only games and gaming performance.

However, there are some products such as the Razer Kishi that could improve a gamer’s experience on mobile gaming.

Mobile Games Take SE Asia by Storm

Chia says the video game industry will be going towards mobile games

Mobile multiplayer online battle arena Mobile Legends: Bang Bang has proven to be a hit in South-East Asia.

Developed by Moonton Technology Co Ltd, the mobile game has more than one billion downloads and 100 million monthly active users.

It is also the multiplayer online battle arena outside of China and has reached the 10 grossing rank in more than 80 countries.

Mobile Legends eSports marketing director Dylan Chia Yao Feng said the rise of mobile penetration has contributed to a high penetration rate for South-East Asia.

“If you see the growth of video gaming in South-East Asia, a lot of the games that are doing very well are mobile gaming. This is one of the main reasons that we see a rise in mobile gaming in South-East Asia itself,” he said.

Chia said the video game industry would be going towards mobile games.

The Covid-19 pandemic has also “forced” many to turn to gaming. However, the pandemic is not the main reason for Mobile Legends to hit a billion downloads last year.

“These one billion downloads have always been part of the trends as we have been moving towards this road, even before the pandemic itself,” said Chia.

He added that this project is something that they’ve been looking for a very long time, and it is natural growth for them based on Moonton’s projection.

Online Entertainment Needs

“Back in 2020, our peak concurrent viewers during April 2020 were around 1.1 billion. We expect it to rise from 1.1 million to 2.8 million concurrent viewers. We saw a very busy month of content and we realised that based on our original ecosystem how many followers that we are holding on. There was a demand for a lot,” Chia said.

The success has also prompted Moonton to create more online tournaments as there is demand across the regions.

However, due to the pandemic, they would need to adapt to the situation.

“We couldn’t get the energy of the crowd. We cannot get the offline integration for sponsors.

“We have to change a lot of things, like how we do a direct engagement and two-way interaction during the livestream itself,” he added.

For example, Moonton engages with fans through the livestream section where the best comments would be selected by their supporting teams. The fans’ comments would be showcased during the livestream and the team would pick the best comment.

“Due to the organisation and the nature of eSports, almost everything is online, hence it forces us to be much more creative. We can look at gaming, our traditional sports betting on. We are the one that is required to create that new trend of how we manage and how we create online broadcast production,” Chia said.

SE Asia’s 1st Offline eSports Event

Recently, Moonton held the M2 Championship in Shangri-La Hotel Singapore from Jan 18 to 24. It was also considered South-East Asia’s first global offline eSports event in 2021.

Singapore’s Cybersports and Online Gaming Association also collaborated with the event.

A total of 12 teams from nine countries competed with each other to bring home a cash prize of US$140,000 with a prize pool of US$300,000.

The tournament was first held in December 2019 at Axiata Arena in Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur, an indoor stadium with a seating capacity around 11,000 seats.

It was held for three days and tickets were successfully sold out.

“We plan to do our world championship at the end of every year. However, due to the pandemic, we have been pushing it,” said Chia.

Thanks to the support from the Singaporean government, Moonton is also able to commence the live event offline.

Even though an online event is much more suited for the current situation (also given the nature of eSports), Chia said an offline event would be better in terms of content creation.

“Having our players on ground allows us to create much more engaging content. We’d be able to get behind the scenes offline, instead of just showing gameplay. We are also able to showcase where our teams come from, what their story is and the drama,” he said.

In terms of Covid-19 standard operating procedures, Singapore is stricter than a lot of countries at the moment. Initially, it was difficult for Chia and his team to make them understand the safety procedures.

The international players were required to undergo Covid-19 screening before entering the country.

Moonton recently collaborated with Phillippine boxing legend turned senator, Manny Pacquiao, to create a content and character based on the international boxer.

“It was very well-received, especially in the Philippines. So, we will be looking for more intellectual property (IP) collaborations beyond just gaming itself,” said Chia.

For now, he said the company is moving towards more current heroes from different countries.

“So, this is something that gamers can look forward to as we look for more meaningful IP provisions (and) for more investment,” he added.

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