It used to be that you would have to go to an arcade or some kind of gaming tournament if you were looking to have a video game-related experience outside of your home. Because if you didn’t decide to take on either of those options, you were basically stuck with playing against your friends and family or, if you had the capabilities, virtual opponents on your computer. The tides changed for multiplayer gaming when consoles were able to connect to the web. Like the Sega Dreamcast, for example, which despite Sega ending production in 2001 apparently refuses to ever die. A big reason for that is the online community that was established with games such as the wildly popular Phantasy Star Online.
Fast-forward more than a decade later and you’d be hard-pressed to find a console gamer who doesn’t spend half their time battling opponents online. That’s even more evident given the new games in the Call of Duty, Battlefield, Madden, NBA2K, and Grand Theft Auto franchises. That’s especially true with the fastest-selling game of all time aka Grand Theft Auto V, partially because Rockstar just only recently launched the online option that will surely be expanded in the coming months. That doesn’t even take into account console MMORPGS such as the PlayStation and PC-only DC Universe Online and multi-platform, massively hyped Destiny.
While all of these options are certainly welcome and changing the gaming culture as we know it, there have been other technological advances that are just as important to multiplayer gaming. It’s a world that’s become even more competitive and social thanks to mobile apps that allow you to interact with other players just like you would if you were in front of your television. Apps such as My Xbox Live, Xbox SmartGlass, and the PlayStation App all allow you to use your phone just like it was the home screen of your Xbox One or PlayStation 3. Let’s say, for example, that you bought one of the newly released iPhone5s and wanted to keep in touch with the players that you routinely game with away from your console. Well, these apps allow you to do exactly that in addition to other features like changing your avatar and using the phone as a remote control device for your console. They’re not perfect, of course, as looking at the reviews shows that there are often connectivity issues and other problems. But they are also in their infancy, so just give it time if you’re experiencing any trouble with your personal app.
It will be incredibly interesting to see how these apps and the online components of consoles will continue to change and progress in the coming years. For example, will gamers have the ability to make changes to their actual online characters by using an app tied to the game on their phone? That kind of integration could make the experience that much more intuitive and immersive, basically allowing you to remain “in” the game’s world no matter where you are. Or will the mobile world simply stick to those aforementioned apps while trying to corner the market on gaming? We’ll just have to wait and see.
Author Bio: Kevin Gannon is a recent college graduate with an English degree and a strong passion for journalism. You can usually find him writing about music, technology, and video games, along with how those topics can often intersect.