The capabilities of our mobile devices are getting more impressive by the year. While it may seem as if we’ve reached a point where new devices simply have slightly better cameras or marginally improved displays, the truth is that stronger processing power and specific adaptations to new technologies are consistently making our phones and tablets more able than they’ve ever been. Often, it’s up to outside developers to create apps and programs that take full advantage of the technology—but the point is that mobile capabilities, particularly with regard to entertainment, are always getting more interesting.
With that in mind, let’s take a quick look at three areas of mobile entertainment that appear to have tremendous growth potential for the coming years.
1. Augmented Reality Gaming
This year, we saw Pokémon GO become the most popular mobile game of all time. And in a year that was supposed to be all about virtual reality headsets, this particular game was based on augmented reality, a similar but slightly different concept that doesn’t necessarily require a headset. In AR gaming elements of a game appear in the real world, which can be viewed through your phone or tablet and its camera. Pokémon GO was enough of a phenomenon to make AR gaming a significant part of mobile entertainment all on its own, but the exciting thing is wondering what imitations might look like.
We’ve already learned that Niantic is helping to design a Harry Potter mobile game in the style of Pokémon GO, and it’s easy to imagine that similar experiences might follow in the near future. We could also see tap-based shooters or detective-style exploration games take advantage of AR concepts. This is almost certainly an area of growth to watch in the next year or two.
2. Casino Gaming
Many of us still think of casino-themed gaming as something that’s based on internet sites, and there are several major platforms that are recognized all over the world for just this. However, many of the biggest providers are offering dedicated smartphone apps these days, bringing the thrills of casino gaming to phones and tablets wherever it’s legal to do so. That means people can now enjoy anything from slot machines to interactive poker and blackjack at the palms of their hands, and with real money on the line.
This is a big deal for two reasons. First, the online casino industry is already hugely popular, and second, gambling regulation will likely only spread further in the coming years. For instance, in the U.S. there are consistent efforts underway to legalize online gambling in more states, which could drastically expand the market for mobile casino gaming. This would draw more attention from developers, meaning we could see an increased emphasis on this genre of entertainment in the near future.
3. Hologram Entertainment
This is more of a stretch, but don’t for a moment think that there aren’t people working on the idea. One leader in experimentation with hologram tech has acknowledged that technically, the concept of a hologram is physically impossible, because it involves “stopping” light in space. However, there are companies working on different ways to enable smartphones and tablets to create something that resembles our idea of a hologram by projecting 3D imagery above a screen.
We may be a few years away from something like this materializing, but if and when it does there will be a lot of potential for new experiences in entertainment. There will almost certainly be new types of games dreamed up, and we may also be watching video content in a sort of 3D projection.
These things are difficult to predict, but given the way things are going these seem to be three areas where we can expect to see surging activity for the remainder of the current decade.