Android game makers get creative with streaming, social capabilities

by Kristen Nicole

One of the great things mobile has done for the gaming industry is broaden its device range and capabilities, with perks in the social realm as well. Android’s open source nature makes it an ideal platform for game exploration, as developers and publishers integrate more devices into the mix. The recently launched Kainy app, for example, streams games from your PC to your Android smartphone or tablet, like a personal OnLive network that leverages your own hardware to play existing games.

On the social side, PlayPhone is enabling instant multiplayer gaming access across Android and iOS devices for titles in its mobile network. The technology has been made available for developers to implement multiplayer capabilities into their own games, with cross-platform support suffering little delays.

“We consider this a major engineering feat,” said chief executive of PlayPhone, Ron Czerny. “This is just one part of a multiple layered gaming network. It’s not easy to copy. It is like what Yahoo! did for web games in 2000 and what Microsoft did for console games with Xbox LIVE. This new infrastructure is a major event for mobile game developers.”

Even individuals are getting creative with their mobile game integration, as Dutchman Jarno Smeets took flight with a pair of flexible kite wings, a Wii controller and his Android-powered HTC smartphone. The result is an interactive game that uses human-powered mechanics to control a virtual experience.

Optimizing game play with what the device already has

But CrowdStar CEO, Peter Relan, sees a more realistic future for mobile gaming’s gadget add-ons. “There’s a major consumer behavior change that’s specific to mobile gaming,” he says, and “demographics come into play as well. Add-ons that encourage or facilitate communications and sharing in interesting ways...like add-ons that are already built into the mobile phone, like the camera, can be a very powerful vehicle for gaming.”

Indeed, more gadgets are being incorporated into our gameplay, and companies like Gameloft look to leverage the most promising features of a particular device. The game publisher has teamed up with LG to deliver optimized versions of their games for the Optimus 3D Max, taking advantage of the hardware and features on the phone. That means 3-D gameplay without the glasses for titles like Assassin’s Creed 3D, Dungeon Hunter 2 3D, and James Cameron’s Avatar 3D.