|Who could have predicted that the 80’s game of Pong would spawn a multi-billion dollar gaming industry complete with PCs, PDAs, and wireless phones that are specifically designed to handle the speed and graphics that today’s games demand?
If you think that current gaming technology is hot then, as they say, “you ain’t seen nothing yet.”
Wireless or mobile gaming is the future and the future is now. 2004 saw an explosion in mobile gaming technology which redefined the mobile phone as a gaming device. Handsets capable of displaying graphics equal in quality to the GameStations and GameCubes of the 1990’s were available everywhere, and game developers like Synergetix and It's Alive! were on everyone’s radar screen.
Now, just a year later, Real-time multiplayer games, some offering high-quality, 3D graphics, can be played over most telecom networks at prices that won’t put you in the poorhouse.
Never one to be too far behind the bleeding edge, even the Adult Entertainment industry is turning out PDA and cell phone-based games including gambling programs and a variety of role-based and action games where lots of sexy women end up losing their clothes. The graphics are, shall we say, stunning.
A peek under the technology hood
While the average gamer may be ignorant of the technology that is driving the wireless gaming industry, the geeks among us are very familiar with terms like J2ME, Symbian, and Brew; the development and distribution platforms upon which the wireless gaming industry has built its success.
J2ME (Java 2 Platform, Micro Edition) is a derivative of Sun Microcomputer’s JAVA development platform. J2ME is specifically designed to build applications that run on portable and wireless devices including cell phones and PDAs. It’s also finding wide acceptance among companies that develop applications for TV boxes and many of the new embedded devices which are flooding both the consumer and industrial markets.
BREW, another development language from QUALCOMM, provides a development platform that’s also suited for the wireless industry. BREW’s claim to fame is that fact that the developer can write device-independent applications which do not need to be recompiled for different phone manufacturers.
SYMBIAN is probably the most commonly used OS in the game-enabled wireless telephone market. Embraced by all major phone manufacturers, SYMBIAN supports J2ME, BREW, C++, and JAVA.
So, what does the future hold for this high-tech blockbuster that’s still in its infancy?
According to industry analysts Frost & Sullivan, the “global mobile game industry, which generated US$436.4 million in 2002, will balloon to US$9.34 billion by 2008.“ Asia is at the epicenter of the wireless gaming explosion where an estimated 500 million people are wireless Internet subscribers and two out of five are wireless gamers.
Some gaming fortune tellers predict that the convergence of GPS and wireless gaming technology will result in live-action and role playing games that will adapt themselves to the player’s physical location and include geographic-specific scenarios that change as the player moves to new locations.
Judging by the progress that’s been made in the last two years alone, the future of wireless gaming may be the most revenue and employment-generating technology of the 21st century.
About the author:
Chris Palau is CEO of a j2me programmers and developers software company http://www.techcoders.comwhich offers offshore software development services.
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