The concept has been bandied about among tech bloggers and journalists for some time now, but it seems as though mobile gaming is no longer just on the rise - it's risen. While dedicated mobile game devices like the Nintendo 3DS and the PlayStation Vita, which still borders closer to a tablet device, aren't extinct yet, the now-crowded mobile gaming market may make this a reality very soon.
According to estimates from consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (News - Alert), spending on wireless games in the U.S. is expected to grow from $990 million in 2011 to $1.4 billion by 2016. And it makes a lot of sense as more devices come into the market touting gaming as a primary feature.
Amazon has talked about bringing new cloud-game-ready Kindle Fire HD devices to market, for example, while the expected iPad Mini and upcoming Windows 8 phones with tight Xbox integration all demonstrate just how big mobile gaming has gotten.
"Tablets are evolving and players are evolving in how many screens they play on," Joe Gorman of GameStop, said in a statement. Last year, GameStop started selling tablets alongside gaming consoles.
Games are top apps across every mobile platform and can even help drive sales of devices, according to Michael Allenson of Maritz Research. "Consumers going on a trip with their children think of buying a video player or personal game system and say, 'Why buy that when a tablet allows me to do games, movies and other things?'"
More specialized or game-specific devices and services are on the horizon because of mobile gaming's popularity. For example, the Wikipad, due to hit shelves October 31, is a 10.1-inch tablet devices that features an attachable controller with a joystick and buttons. On the software side, the Wikipad will be able to play Android (News - Alert) games as well as PlayStation Mobile Games from Sony, a service that has spawned from the company's acquisition of cloud-gaming company Gaikai.
While a game-oriented device like the Wikipad may seem counter to the current trend, Wikipad CEO James Bower has stated that it is still a "really good tablet as well."
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Edited by Braden Becker