Nexus 7 Gaming

Android Gaming: Looking Ahead in 2014

October 13, 2014 - Written By Chris Yackulic

Android gaming in 2014 took several leaps ahead thanks to the release of new high-end smartphones from the major brands and the promise of a significant update of the Android platform that is just round the corner.

The fantastic growth in Android gaming follows the trend registered globally in mobile gaming. Although the platform still doesn’t enjoy revenue supremacy – Apple is still king of the app market, and will certainly remain so till the end of this year – the rapid growth of the Android user-base suggest that it is only a matter of time before Google dethrones Apple.

In this article, we take a look at the biggest Android-related news in the coming months. New handsets, new games and tougher competition indicate that it is still business as usual in the mobile gaming industry. Whilst there was a dearth of groundbreaking revelations, the slow move towards 64-bit is set to open up the doors to more exciting and realistic game experiences.

Phones

The remaining months of 2014 should prove to be exciting times for Android gamers, who will be able to take their gaming experience to a whole new level thanks to Nexus 6. The latest version of the flagship phone by Google is scheduled to be released on November 1.

The Motorola-built handset, codenamed Shamu, will sport a 5.9-inch screen, placing it firmly in the phablet category and provide precious real estate space for mobile gaming enthusiasts to enjoy the next crop of top apps that will hit Google Play this autumn.

A lot of information currently circulating on the internet about the Nexus 6’s hardware is yet unconfirmed, but the presence of Android L on the new handset is a given. The latest iteration of the Android platform will support 64-bit environments, showing that Google is stepping up its efforts to compete directly against arch-rivals Apple.

Android L combines with the most advanced graphics technology, permitting new heights of realism in mobile gaming to be achieved and what tech experts have dubbed as PC-class gaming on the go.

Android L is also expected to be launched on the Nexus 9 tablet, which will be powered by NVIDIA’s new K1 processor and will deliver stunning graphics, as well as encourage the development of visually richer game titles for the Android platform.

Games

2014 still has some great Android games in store. One of hit games that has recently made its debut on the app market is Angry Birds Stella, a spin-off of the original game re-imagined for the female gamers.

Enjoying the trademark sling-shot action, Stella has over 120 levels which sees a group of feathered best friends demolishing the pigs and saving Golden Island from the evil clutches of the Bad Princesses, all while discovering their superpowers and putting on wacky outfits.

Spider-Man Unlimited is another app that is making waves this autumn. The comic book hero-inspired game blends hand-drawn graphics with an action-packed adventure that feels as if you’re controlling characters in a real comic book.

The game takes the comic book parallels even further thanks to the periodic release of new ‘issues’, which add new challenges and adventures to the game that have to be completed using the army of Spider-Man characters enlisted by the users.

Skull Legends is a brand-new twist on the combat strategy games that have proven so popular on the gaming app market. An army of crossbow-firing skeletons wage battle in the netherworld, while building settlements and training ever-stronger warriors to defend their towers.

Finally, certain categories of gaming apps will continue to consolidate their position as rising stars in the app market, namely social gambling and casino apps. These games enjoy tremendous popularity and will continue to feature prominently in the charts as times go by, prompting developers to look into innovative ways to make mobile gambling games more exciting and social than before; a trend which will persist well beyond 2014.

Competition

The last quarter of 2014 will also see the full ramifications of Apple’s recently-released iPhone 6 and iOS 8 platform unfold in the mobile gaming arena, and give an indication of whether the Cupertino-based company still sets the bar in this ultra-competitive sector.

Pundits have heaped lavish praise on Apple’s new handset’s A8 processor and 64-bit processing capability, which threatens to widen the gap between iOS and Android gaming in terms of gaming experience. Google Play is also still unable to host several premium iPhone games, calling into question its ability to keep up with the gaming advances registered on the App Store.

Despite this rather bleak outlook for Android gaming, the situation is expect to persist only in the short-term. Recent reports indicate that while the iPhone game market generated about 2.5 times the total revenues pulled in by Android games in 2013, Google Play showed a significantly faster growth rate in both user base and revenues.

Whilst critics maintain that the fundamental difference between the two platforms lies in the quality of their users: with iPhone users being more likely to make higher purchases for game apps, the sheer quantity of Android users and its explosive growth makes the possibility of this mobile gaming platform becoming the more dominant one extremely likely.

Conclusion

The scenario depicted above isn’t likely to come to pass by 2014, which will see the traditional differences between Apple and Android gaming remain intact. However, studies predicts that by the end of 2014, revenues from Android and Apple gaming will surpass those of  Nintendo. Android’s share of the mobile game market will be an important contributor to the predominance of mobile platforms over consoles.

All summed up, 2014 is likely to go down as a positive year for Android gaming, even though it lacked any sensational breakthroughs. The progress registered by the platform is of an incremental nature, which is expected to reach a climax at the beginning of November with the release of the new Google handset and the official unveiling of the Android L operating system.