Could Android become the forefront for mobile gaming in 2013?

Anna Scantlin
Contributing Editor from Kansas City, MO
Published: May 2, 2013

According to tech websites Ars Technica and TechCrunch, Google is taking a leap forward when it comes to mobile gaming by employing Noah Falstein as “Chief Game Designer of Android Play Studio”, which was his official position as stated on his LinkedIn profile. Since the reports, the “Android Play Studio” aspect has been removed but both TechCrunch and The Verge confirmed seeing the title.

What makes this so big is that Mr. Falstein has been in the gaming business since the 1980’s and was one of the first employees to be hired at LucasArts. More recently he’s been doing freelance work with Disney, LucasArts, and Microsoft. By hiring somebody with so much gaming experience I can only hope that this is the beginning of a beautiful relationship between Android and mobile gaming.

Something that I don’t keep quiet about my life is that along with loving all things tech I’m also an avid gamer when I have the time. I’ve particularly been interested in the direction that mobile gaming is heading in since the release of multiplayer games has begun rolling out in multiple platforms, and also longer and more graphic intense games that rely on the ever-increasing power of our smartphones. I've stated before that I find it insane that a lot of the time games look and operate better on my smartphone than some do on my computer, but in the same breath there's a lot smaller window of standards that phones (particularly iOS) have to fit in order to play a game well.

It’s no secret that Google has been planning on expanding gaming within Android. We first saw Google test the waters last year by releasing its real-time MMO-type game, Ingress. If Ingress and this recent hire wasn’t enough, the newest schedule that was released for Google I/O should serve as another solid clue: Much of the first day revolves around gaming in Android. Rumor has it that Android plans on making a central gaming area, perhaps similar to what you see in Apple's Game Center (but of course very different, unless somebody wants to see a patent war at the doorstep in the morning). Adding this “gaming hub” will encourage the competitive gamer to play more games more often as the points on the scoreboard keep racking up in their favor against friends and other Android gamers across the world. It’s a convenient way to keep score of games within the phone itself.

While casual gaming will certainly benefit from a gaming hub on Android, I’m also hoping to see more thorough and fluid games release on mobile platforms. Perhaps with our new Chief Game Designer we will see Android be the first to focus on ports or versions of popular games into the mobile gaming market along with new and unique titles. If Google is able to pull that off, they would truly be one step ahead of creating the perfect all-in-one device with Android: phone, messenger, computer, media player and advanced mobile gaming system.

I have been expecting mobile gaming to ramp up once CES 2013 rolled around and we saw firsthand the impressive results that came from Nvidia Tegra 4 GPU, backed by ARM’s Cortex-A15 CPU. Combined, both of these components will make for a fantastic phone, but an even more fantastic phone for gaming. Of course, with the idea of using this processor for intense gaming you’re going to need equally as intense battery life. Fear not, because Nvidia at least solved part of the equation in knowing this. According to Zdnet, “… the Tegra 4 includes a second-generation battery saver core for low power usage, and PRISM 2 Display technology that reduces backlight power.

It seems that all of these components are coming together at the same time, which to me means that mobile gaming in general is about to see a ramp-up within the next few years. It’s one of the final components of smartphones that needs to be focused on to perfect. Angry Birds had its hey day, but I can only throw irritated fowls at swines with green skin (who, might I add, are quite mediocre at building houses) for so long before the game becomes a yawnfest. I’m ready for something more exciting to come my way. How about ‘Furious Zombies’?

Readers, what's your take on mobile gaming? Are you interested in the expansion of it or are you content with the (primarily) casual selection that smartphones currently offer? Share your thoughts with me in the comments!

Image via Geeky-Gadgets