Saturday 31 March 2007

Mobile Games

With the recent boom in mobile telephoney in India, it was only a matter of time before mobile game fever hit the generation next. The newest branch of the gaming industry, mobile gaming is estimated to be worth about $1.5 bn. As a concept, mobile gaming is slowly but surely taking over the world and India is certainly no exception.

According to infotech., over eight million mobile games are downloaded every year in India which range from Rs. 15 to Rs. 150 per game. As would be expected, games that are cricket based are the most popular, followed by Bollywood, Hollywood and racing games. Not only do mobile games offer the player a chance to pit his wits against the AI of the game it also allows him to play against other humans via Bluetooth, if supported by the game. Further, 3D gaming for mobiles is starting to gain momentum; quite a few of the blockbuster PC and console titles like Splinter Cell and Prince Of Persia are also available for mobiles.

The mobile manufacturers themselves have helped in popularizing the concept of mobile gaming. Nokia has been marketing its gaming phone the N-Gage QD quite aggressively, and has even held a tournament for the same! With such enthusiasm from all parties involved, one can safely say that the future for mobile gaming is very bright indeed!

Gazing Into the Crystal Ball...

So what does the future hold for gaming? Well, the possibilities are limitless. Games are a dime-a-dozen and there are always a couple of good games around the block. PC hardware too is always being improved upon, with faster, bigger, more powerful components being announced everyday. As the joke goes- The rate of advancements is so fast that your hardware might turn obsolete as you read this!

Consoles are where things get interesting. All the major players in the console business have recently revealed their next-gen consoles, sparking off the so-called ‘console wars’. Microsoft with their Xbox 360 and Sony with their Playstation 3 are going to be the major players in the industry, with Nintendo and it’s Revolution having to be satisfied with a bit-part role. Apart from the good looks, it’s the hardware specs for each system that has captured the imagination of gamers worldwide. And it’s not difficult to see why. The Xbox 360 has a CPU with three IBM PowerPC 3.2Ghz cores, ATI 500MHz graphics processor, 48 billion shader operations per second, 512Mb GDDR3 RAM of memory, Removable and upgradeable 20Gb hard drive, Three USB ports and support for DVD-video, DVD-ROM, DVD-R, DVD+R, CD-DA, CD-R, WMA CD, MP3 CD, Jpeg photo CD. Overall, Microsoft claims this will give a teraflop of performance.

That’s quite a package and literally the stuff gaming dreams are made of. What really has everyone drooling though is the Playstation 3. It gives you a CPU Cell Processor running at 3.2 GHz with 7 special purpose 3.2 GHz processors, capable of 218, count them, 218 gigaflops of performance, Backward compatible, GPU RSX at 550MHz 1.8 teraflop floating point performance, 256Mb XDR main RAM at 3.2 GHz, 256Mb of GDDR VRAM at 700Mhz, Memory Stick Duo, SD, compact flash memory slots, Detachable 2.5 inch hard drive, Support for seven Bluetooth controllers, Six USB slots for peripherals, Supports Blu-ray DVD format, System Floating Point Performance of 2 teraflops, Communication Ethernet, Wi-Fi IEEE 802.11, Bluetooth, Output in HDTV resolution up to 1080p as standard. According to Sony, the PS3 will be 35 times faster than the current Playstation, the PS2

Although it would appear that the PS3 has a clear edge on the 360, this may not necessarily be true. Microsoft argues that Specs are irrelevant if you don’t have the tools to support developers. The two consoles are very evenly matched in all other aspects. Both have a number of games being developed for them already and both will be released within months of each other- the 360 is out in Christmas and the PS3 in spring 2006. So basically what all this means is, very soon it’s going to be a great time to be a gamer!