Microsoft xCloud to add to the smartphone gaming transition

You’ll no doubt already know how mobile gaming is turning the traditional world of consoles on its head. We’ve seen phones become more and more powerful, able to run graphically-intensive games locally and produce a gameplay experience that isn’t too far removed from the likes of PS4 and Xbox.

In recent months we’ve also seen Google Stadia – a streaming platform delivering high-quality games to your phone – appear. This system is slightly different in that the graphic-heavy processing happens elsewhere – you play the game locally but all the “grunt work” is done on a server somewhere else. The end result is a more light-weight game, using less resources, less storage, less battery but delivering the same experience.

Now it’s looking like Microsoft xCloud is to join the scene, with a patent filed for gaming controller attachments for your smartphone. These create a Nintendo Switch-esque experience, and a potentially massive Xbox collection of games available to smartphone users.

The smartphone world has gone through a tremendous change of late, with the online casino industry spearheading graphically-rich experiences by taking advantage of what is on offer. Comparison sites have sprung up so that you can see which site is best, with Netent’s site displaying the differences whilst also providing offers. There’s new Netent casinos, which have now evolved to become optimised for mobile. It’s a mobile-first world now and this category of game has really pushed and highlighted the capabilities of smartphones.

It’s no longer about a self-contained app. In the era of the APK one-hit download, as we’ve seen with the likes of Fortnite, you now simply grab the application and the game takes care of downloading a myriad of game files without the need for further input from you.

In addition to streaming, some developers have started using HTML5. Better programming techniques and systems like HTML5 mean that games can be converted and then used flawlessly on any device. Thanks to this, the coding is only needed once for the application or game to be available on several devices. We all remember the early days, when websites didn’t scale properly to mobile devices, and this is something that newer websites and games have evolved to avoid.

Developers of casino and mobile or web-enabled games have always kept lockstep with the limits of mobile technology, meaning connectivity was never as much of an issue, but the advent of HTML5 means that they can distribute and display their product on far more screens.

Smartphone Evolution” (CC BY 2.0) by Phil Roeder

Understanding just how far mobile processing power has come along is important too. As mentioned earlier, phones are far more powerful than previously. It means that older games, designed for single-core processors and small amounts of memory, will absolutely fly along on such devices. It also means that more graphics can be displayed with the advent of powerful GPUs. Likewise connectivity has got better, so online gaming is easier thanks to the likes of 4G. With 5G on the horizon, the lid is being lifted on even more possibilities.

Better games that are easier to find, better websites that are easier to navigate, and better systems to find these websites makes the growing dominance of the mobile casino market that much easier to understand. It wasn’t a matter of if, rather a matter of when.