Gone are the days that we see a phone as simply a device to sit in your pocket or bag uselessly until we need to organize a lift home from the pub. Nowadays, the phone has become as essential to leaving the house as a wallet or purse, car or house keys, even clothes. Without a doubt, one of the mobile’s greatest assets is the capacity for on-the-go gaming. There are literally hundreds of thousands of mobile games available for all platforms run on a smart phone these days, so it’s no wonder we are now a generation of casual gamers. Whether on the way to and from work, while sitting and waiting for your mates in the coffee shop, or just lounging around at home, the mobile has become the go-to source for entertainment.
But a phone wouldn’t be a phone without some social or communicative element. If we wanted a gaming device we’d all be carrying around a Nintendo 3DS or PS Vita, but we’re looking for an experience we can have privately, then to share publically. Running alongside the rise in mobile gaming is the curious phenomenon of the social gaming platform. Most games nowadays will contain some sharing function, whether being able to tweet about your latest in-game achievement, right on through to being able to play against your friends through Facebook. However, there are also a great number of social gaming programs that run seamlessly alongside your gaming sessions while you play, and today I’ll be focusing on just one – Gree.
Gree in the largest social gaming platform in the world, which allows you to search through titles, find out what your friends are playing and, if the game supports the feature, join in on their missions. Gree also introduces a healthy dose of competition into mobile gaming, which can often seem like a solitary affair. The program is available across Android and iOS, and so it even unites gamers playing on different operating systems!
Until this year, if you’d have been asked to name one social gaming platform, the answer would have been almost unanimous – Openfeint. However, what with the release of Apple Game Centre and the eventual acquisition of the platform by Gree, Openfeint has lost its once undeniable ubiquity. In fact, the platform is soon to be disappearing from our screens, as Gree have decided to consolidate the platform’s users under one brand.
Gree has, recently, begun to turn its attention over to the indie market. Whereas Openfeint made huge business about being integrated with the prestige titles, Gree is adamant about creating strong links with the indie development community, realizing the potential that smaller groups have to offer. In the last two years, some of gaming’s greatest successes have come from the indie sector, Braid and Super Meat Boy to name a few. Though these titles are not, as yet, available on mobile devices, with the industry being one of the fastest growing at the moment it’s not a bold claim to say we could soon see the titles on our Smartphones. As part of the initiative, Gree are offering a huge amount of support and advice to indie developers, partially to encourage development in the industry, but also (perhaps more shrewdly) to enable them to reap the benefits of their disciples in years to come.
Gree’s growth is not, on further inspection, quite the revolution they intended it to be as yet. Though they, as mentioned above, are beginning to pioneer a new Indie-centric initiative, there are still many developers out there who are reluctant to begin to rely on the platform as they once did with Openfeint. Whether this reluctance is simply natural skepticism to new innovations, or whether it relays a deeper problem with the platform, it’s safe to say that we’ll all be hearing much more about Gree in the coming months. Hell, even I’m writing about it!
So there you have it, a few interesting facts about the fastest growing social gaming platform on mobile – have you seen the name in any of your games?